Australians and Canadians: A Proven Naval Team

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Members of the Royal Canadian Navy contributed to counterterrorism and maritime security operations in the Middle East, when they partnered with the Royal Australian Navy.

The seven RCN members are part of Operation ARTEMIS, Canada’s contribution to Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) worked as battle watch assistants, maritime surface and sub-surface (MARS) officers in the role of battle watch captains, a logistics officer, and a MARS officer contributing to planning and training.

The Canadians’ journey to Bahrain started in Watson’s Bay in Sydney, Australia. There, they began preparations for integrating into the Australian command staff of CTF-150 marking the continuation of a successful Canadian-Australian partnership.

For three weeks, the Canadian contingent underwent rigorous training exercises consisting of scenarios they might encounter during their deployment. During this training, they were mentored by a specialized team of RAN sailors who had served in previous CTF-150 rotations.

CTF-150’s mission is to promote maritime security in order to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities, which terrorists use to fund or conceal their movements. The CTF-150 area of operations (AO) covers a vast swath of water including the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, most of the Indian Ocean, and the Gulf of Oman. CTF 150 is one of three task forces that comprise the Combined Maritime Force, a multi-national partnership created to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy, and encourage regional cooperation in the greater Arabian Gulf region.

The newly-formed command team wasted no time getting into the mission. Coordinating a group of hardworking ships at sea from their location in Bahrain, CTF-150 staff identified and tracked vessels of interest within their AO. More than 334 kg of heroin has been taken from the hands of narcotics smugglers at sea.

The seizure and destruction of these drugs in the first two months of operations, under the current command, has deprived international terrorist organizations of an estimated $43 million USD of funding and directly contributed to the safe passage of merchant ships through the region.

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