36 tonnes of narcotics destroyed during Australian-led mission

A military member looks at a map on a table outside.
A Royal Canadian Navy officer deployed on Operation ARTEMIS in Bahrain studies a map. Photo: RCN

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By a Canadian Armed Forces member deployed on Operation ARTEMIS

Over the course of six months, seven nations were involved in 37 boardings. They seized and destroyed more than 36 tonnes of narcotics; that equals more than $2.6 billion CDN that won’t be used to fund terrorism.

These numbers speak to the achievement of the Australian-led, Canadian-supported rotation of Combined Task Force (CTF 150) and their contributions to the mission of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

Operation ARTEMIS is the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) effort to help stop terrorism and to make Middle Eastern waters more secure. During this operation, eight Canadian sailors deployed alongside Australian partners to the Middle East Region in December of 2017. They will very shortly be heading back to the Canadian summer, having successfully dodged the winter.

Over the last six months, Canadian sailors have been integral components of the CTF 150 headquarters’ staff in the Middle East. They have worked hard each day to improve maritime security in this important region and to disrupt the flow of illicit goods used to fund international terrorism. The team has coordinated the operations of ships and aircraft from partner nations across an operating area that spans over seven million square kilometres. That’s roughly the size of the entire Canadian maritime environment.

The Canadian Deputy Commander of CTF 150 remarked that the nature of the combined Australian and Canadian team is a testament to the enduring relationship between the two countries.

“Our headquarters is a mix of Australian and Canadian sailors, each bringing individual skills and experiences that have contributed to the team’s accomplishments. Our diversity serves to make the team stronger and is a smaller example of the coalition of nations that make up CMF. This is a unique organization where 32 likeminded nations have come together to ensure the continued free flow of commerce through critical international shipping lanes,” said Captain (Navy) Christopher Ross.

The Deputy Operations Officer, originally from Newfoundland, was the driving factor in coordinating day to day operations throughout the assigned area.

“Working with partner navies and organizations is both challenging and rewarding,” he said. “To see how such a variety of nations, cultures, languages and interests can come together as a combined force is amazing. I reflect fondly on this experience as a period of personal and professional growth.”
This is the sixth time that Australia and Canada have worked together in a combined CTF 150 team. The Australian and Canadian CTF 150 team are about to turn over their duties to a combined UK, French and New Zealand team. They will leave behind established relationships with partners while turning over best practices to the next team. After that, in late 2018, CTF 150 will once more be commanded by Canadians.

The Canadians are coming home with rich experiences of spending time and exploring the small island Kingdom of Bahrain, and with lifelong friendships, forged over months of living, training and working together to accomplish a mission that benefits both countries, each from their own corner of the globe.

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  • A military member looks at a map on a table outside.
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