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UK Royal Navy Takes Over Middle East Maritime Security Task Force

Saudi Arabia has transferred command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150) to the UK. 

Under the maritime security group, the Royal Navy will work alongside international fleets to secure the Middle East against regional threats such as terrorism and drug smuggling.

“Taking Command of CTF150 for the eleventh time demonstrates our continued commitment to supporting maritime security in the region,” Royal Navy Joint Operations Chief Lt. Gen. Charlie Stickland said.

“During the UK’s Command, CTF150 will bring together our partners to collectively respond to malign smuggling activity and promote the international rules based order to deter the illicit use of the seas.”

Combined Task Force 150

The CTF150 is part of the Combined Maritime Forces, a coalition comprising more than 30 international forces conducting counter-piracy missions, merchant shipping defense, maritime security patrols, and anti-terrorism initiatives.

The task force covers the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean.

It operates in the three busiest maritime chokepoints: the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Suez Canal.

The task force rotates leadership between participating navies every four months.

‘Stronger Together’

During the Royal Saudi Naval Force’s command last year, CTF150 executed six illegal substances operations worth more than 150 million pounds ($186 million).

A drugs haul is laid out on Montrose's flight deck
A drugs haul is laid out on Montrose’s flight deck. Photo: UK Royal Navy

Among the busts, the Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose seized approximately 15.5 million pounds ($19 million) of narcotics.

“Commanding Combined Task Force 150 is a huge privilege and I am delighted to have been welcomed so warmly to Bahrain to work once again with our Combined Maritime Force partners,” Royal Navy Captain Jim Byron stated.

“The work these 38 nations do – ready and stronger together – is a clear demonstration of what can be achieved when like-minded nations come together for the common good.”

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