As part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, the guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) is cooperating with approximately 14 nations also operating in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.
CTF 151, a counterpiracy task force, was established to create a lawful maritime order and develop security in the maritime environment.
“In our first two weeks on patrol, we have coordinated and deconflicted our efforts with a host of other navies,” said Cmdr. Steve Murphy, commanding officer of Mahan. “Though we sail under different flags and command arrangements, we share a common goal of promoting maritime security in the region.
“Under the guidance of CTF 151, we are sharing information and applying lessons learned, and in my estimation, we are making a difference.”
Naval ships and assets from more than 20 nations have been invited to join CTF 151. Working with coalition navies on matters threatening maritime security and stability is at the heart of the U.S. sea services’ maritime strategy, known as “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Sea Power.”
The maritime strategy outlines the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard’s six core capabilities, many of which Mahan is employing during this current counterpiracy mission. Those capabilities include: forward presence, deterrence, maritime security, sea power, power projection, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response. The maritime strategy states that threats to maritime security, such as piracy, require international cooperation.
“Piracy is a pernicious problem that has been going on in this region for quite some time,” said Murphy. “We understand that our efforts alone cannot guarantee safety in the region. It is a broad international effort and includes promising actions taken by the commercial shipping industry to protect themselves and ongoing efforts to establish stability ashore.”
In August, the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), headquartered in Bahrain, created the maritime security patrol area (MSPA) in the Gulf of Aden to support international efforts to combat piracy. This helps channel the shipping activity and maximizes the efforts of the combined naval activity, concentrating global navies’ counterpiracy activities within a specific maritime corridor.
“As part of CTF 151, Mahan’s mission is to safeguard the free flow of commerce by deterring and disrupting piracy,” said Murphy. “The officers and crew of Mahan are well trained, and they are dedicated to providing maritime safety and security as part of a broad international effort.” Mahan, a multimission platform, helps set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment by monitoring maritime traffic, performing routine queries of vessels and conducting visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations.