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Friday, February 23, 2018

Combined Maritime Forces News

Australian Navy Apprehends Suspected Pirates

HMAS Melbourne's boarding party intercepts a suspected pirate boat. (Photo: ABIS Jayson Tufrey)

Royal Australian Navy ship, HMAS Melbourne, has intercepted alleged pirates off the coast of Somalia as part of maritime security patrols in Middle Eastern waters for Operation SLIPPER. The suspected pirates were intercepted on October 15, 2013 after the Combined Maritime Forces received two reports of attempted acts of piracy against two separate merchant vessels during the previous four days. Under the direction of Combined Task Force 151 (CTF151), HMAS Melbourne was appointed as on-scene commander for a multi-national search operation…

Oz, NZ ships Seize $700 mi in Narcotics

Courtesy Australian Defence

Maritime security operations by Australian and New Zealand frigates operating in the Middle East region during the past six weeks have seized almost a tonne of narcotics worth an estimated street value of $711 million. Royal Australian Navy Guided Missile Frigate, HMAS Newcastle netted 724kg of narcotics worth an estimated $597 million. During the same operation, New Zealand ship HMNZS Te Kaha seized 257kg of narcotics worth an estimated $214 million. Patrolling as part of the Combined Maritime Forces…

Navies Bust $274 million of Heroin

A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion flies past HMAS Warramunga's boarding team during an operation in the Western Indian Ocean. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Australian and New Zealand joint forces have seized 915 kilograms of heroin, valued in excess of $274 million, in a counter-narcotics operation in the Western Indian Ocean. HMAS Warramunga’s crew has conducted one of the largest drug seizures in Operation MANITOU’s history as part of the Australian-led Combined Task Force 150. In a joint counter-narcotics operation, the Royal Australian Navy and the New Zealand Defence Force seized 915 kilograms of heroin valued in excess of AUD$274 million.

Australian Warship's Huge Drugs Haul

Petty Officer Boatswain Ewen Jenkins assists with the loading of the seized hashish: Photo ADF

HMAS Darwin has struck again against drug smugglers, intercepting another vessel in the Arabian Sea and seizing more than 6.2 tonnes of narcotics with an estimated street value of almost $250 million, informs the Australian Defence Force. Darwin’s boarding parties located 315 bags hidden onboard the dhow. Each bag contained between 20 to 21 kilograms of hashish (also known as cannabis resin). Darwin’s Commanding Officer, Commander Terry Morrison, said the removal of more than 6248kg of narcotics would have a significant impact on the funding of terrorist organisations.

CTF 150 Makes Record Number of Drug Busts

Photo: United States Navy

In a four-month span, Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 of the Bahrain-based Combined Maritime Forces has proven itself a formidable force against narcotics trafficking, with 10 drug seizures totaling over 3,300 kilograms of heroin, cocaine, cannabis resin and hashish since March. It started with the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Arunta (FFH 151) on March 2, when the crew seized 800 kilograms of hashish, a drug made from cannabis. Eleven days later on March 13, the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) seized 270 kilograms of heroin and then again on March 17…

HMAS Arunta Returns Home

HMAS Arunta's crew lines the deck in 'Procedure Alpha' as the ship returns to her home port of Fleet Base West, Rockingham after completing a nine-month deployment to Operation MANITOU. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

HMAS Arunta has sailed into her home port of Fleet Base West in Rockingham, Western Australia, after completing the longest Middle Eastern deployment of an Australian Navy vessel since the first Gulf War. Senator for Western Australia, Linda Reynolds; Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer; and family and friends of the ship’s company welcomed the Anzac class frigate home after her nine-month deployment to Operation MANITOU. During her deployment, Arunta intercepted…

Super Tanker Attacked in Arabian Sea

A Liberian-flagged very large crude tanker, Sirius Star, was attacked more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya, Nov. 15. The ship is owned by the Saudi Arabian-based Saudi Aramco and is operated by Vela International. The crew of 25 includes citizens of: Croatia, Great Britain, Republic of the Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia. This attack comes amid a decrease in the rate of successful pirate attacks on merchant vessels off the coast of Somalia. Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) data analysis has shown that the combination of both military and civilian involvement in the area has reduced the percentage of successful piracy attacks from 53 percent in August to 31 percent in October.

Combined Task Force 150 Thwarts Criminal Activities

Since the inception of the Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA), Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 has helped deter more than a dozen attacks in the . However, criminals have still successfully targeted several vessels in the region. The Maritime Security Patrol Area was established Aug. 22 in support of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) call for international assistance to discourage attacks on commercial vessels transiting the . The MSPA is a geographic area in the utilized by Combined Maritime Forces to focus their efforts against destabilizing activities. These activities include, but are not limited to: criminal activities, drug smuggling operations that support terrorist and violent extremist organizations and human smuggling.

Phoenix Express 2008 Underway

Phoenix Express 2008 (PE 08) wrapped up the inport portion of the exercise on April 13 and began the underway portion of the two-week exercise on April 14 with 12 ships getting underway from Naval Support Activity, , . Two ships from the Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group (NAS ESG), the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) and the amphibious transport dock USS Nashville (LPD 13); along with the frigate USS John L. Hall (FFG 32) and the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Patuxent (T-AO 201) are representing the .

Coalition Efforts Build Lawful Maritime Order

Coalition forces recently completed a coordinated operation in the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa to deter and disrupt activities and incidents that affect maritime security and stability. "Coalition efforts build a lawful maritime order for regional security," said Commodore Keith Winstanley, Royal Navy, Deputy Combined Maritime Forces. Units from coalition forces included HMCS Charlottetown (FFH 339), a Canadian Halifax class frigate; RFA Argus (A 135), a Royal Navy Aviation training ship; and USS Carney (DDG 64), an American Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer, as well as air assets. The coalition forces also worked alongside Yemen Coast Guard forces and representatives from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees…

CTF 151, First Suspected Pirate Capture

Ships from Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 prevented a piracy attack in the Gulf of Aden, which resulted in the apprehension of more than a dozen suspected pirates aboard an alleged mothership May 13. At approximately 3:30 p.m., the Republic of Korea Destroyer, ROKS Munmu the Great (DDG 976) and guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64) responded to a distress call from the Egyptian-flagged Motor Vessel Amira, which reported being attacked approximately 75 nautical miles south of Al Mukalla, Yemen.

Drug Busting Darwin Returns from Middle East

HMAS_Darwin

The crew responsible for intercepting and destroying billions of dollars worth of narcotics, including the largest seizure of heroin in the history of the Combined Maritime Forces, has returned home. HMAS Darwin and her 232 person crew docked at Garden Island, Sydney today after seven months of successful maritime security operations in the Middle East Region. Hundreds of family and friends of the ship’s company were on the wharf to welcome the warship back to her home-port. Commander Australian Fleet…

Four U.S. Ships to Participate in Phoenix Express 08

Four U.S. Navy ships will participate in Phoenix Express 2008 (PE 08), a U.S.-hosted, multinational exercise designed to strengthen regional maritime partnerships and foster the ability to operate jointly, from April 8-22. Two ships from the Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group, the USS Nassau (LHA 4) and the USS Nashville (LPD 13); along with the USS John L. Hall (FFG 32) and USNS Patuxent (T-AO 201) will represent the United States in this two-week exercise. Twelve other nations were also invited to participate or send representatives, to include , , , , , , , , , , and . A comprehensive and robust training agenda will provide participants with numerous opportunities to operate together and develop productive relationships.

Drugs Seized at Sea: HMAS Melbourne Makes 4th Drug Bust

HMAS Melbourne Narcotics seizure: HMAS Melbourne is conducting Maritime security Operations under the authority of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean during her deployment in the Middle East Region on Operation MANITOU, Australians contribution to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). (Copyright: Australian Department of Defence; Photographer ABS Bonny Gassner)

HMAS Melbourne personnel have completed a fourth successful drug seizure for Operation MANITOU after seizing 118kg of heroin from a fishing vessel in the Indian Ocean. The ship’s boarding party completed a thorough search of the vessel on December 26 and discovered 118kg of drugs hidden inside which was subsequently transported onboard HMAS Melbourne for further analysis and disposal. Specialized equipment onboard the Australian Guided Missile Frigate identified the drugs as high grade heroin which is valued at approximately $108.8 million based on Australian Crime Commission figures.

Coalition Forces Render Aid to an Iranian Fishing Vessel

Official U.S. Navy file photo.

In coordination with the European Union Naval Force and the Turkish-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, which is a part of the Combined Maritime Forces, the U.S. Navy provided assistance to an Iranian fishing vessel after a reported piracy attack Oct. 24, south of Socotra, Yemen. The Iranian coast guard called U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) to report the incident and seek assistance for the fishing vessel. NAVCENT coordinated with the European Union Naval Force, who sent a patrol aircraft to investigate the incident. The U.S.

HMAS Arunta Departs the Middle East to Australia

HMAS Arunta's S70-B Helicopter (Skeletor) lands onboard during a patrol in the Middle East region. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Arunta is returning home to Australia after completing the longest Middle Eastern deployment by a Navy vessel since 1990. Arunta concluded its assignment to Joint Task Force 633 as part of Operation MANITOU and handed over responsibility to HMAS Newcastle after completing a nine-month deployment conducting counter terrorism and maritime security operations. The ship made three significant intercepts during the deployment netting more than 1310 kilograms of illegal narcotics.

Australia, New Zealand Navies Intercepts Drugs off Africa

Members of HMAS Toowoomba account for and weigh 5.6 tonnes of cannabis resin on the flight deck of HMAS Toowoomba during Operation Manitou. Photo: James Whittle

A combined Australian and New Zealand operation 260 km off the coast of Africa has seized more than 5.6 metric tons of cannabis resin worth an estimated $280 million (AUD). The five day operation involved Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion which was called to assist in bad weather. During an exhaustive search this week, the Australian boarding party discovered cannabis resin in hessian bags stowed in a hidden compartment on the dhow.

Combined Maritime Forces Alert to Mariners

Following a series of attacks off the eastern coast of Somalia, Combined Maritime Forces issued an updated special maritime advisory message. The message highlights several recent attacks that occurred hundreds of miles off the Somali coast and states that merchant mariners should be increasingly vigilant when operating in those waters. "We continue to highlight the importance of preparation by the merchant mariners and the maritime industry in this message," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, Combined Maritime Forces.

Safety Measures Protect Ship from Piracy

Jamaica-flagged M/V Miltiades came under attack and successfully deterred suspected pirates Jan. 17, while transiting approximately 130 nautical miles southwest of Al Mukalla, Yemen. The pirate skiff fired on the M/V with AK-47 rifles. The Miltiades embarked security team fired red flares and the ship took recommended evasive maneuvers to cause the skiff to break off the attack. No injuries or damages were reported aboard Miltiades. Early detection of suspected attacks is the first line of defense against piracy, but other practices include using flares, out running attackers or using heavy wheel movements, use of non-lethal devices, such as netting, water hoses, electric fencing, wire and long-range acoustic devices. These practices have proven effective at deterring piracy.

Piracy Warning to Mariners

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) are warning mariners of an anticipated increase in piracy incidents when the southwest monsoon ends in the coming weeks, and are reiterating that merchant mariners must continue to take proactive action to help prevent piracy attacks. High sea states over the past few weeks in the Somali Basin have resulted in fewer attacks on vessels transiting the area but mariners must continue to remain vigilant. “The prior preparation and vigilance of merchant mariners at all times of day and night is more important now than ever,” said Turkish Rear Adm. Caner Bener, Commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151. “CTF 151 and other multi-national maritime forces deployed to the region are successfully coordinating counter-piracy efforts.

British, Australian Warship, Deploy in Tandem East of Suez

'Diamond',foreground, & 'Melbourne': Photo credit UK MOD

The Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond has relieved her sister ship HMS Daring to become the latest Royal Navy warship serving with the 26-nation Combined Maritime Forces, sailing in tandem with Australia's HMAS Melbourne. The Bahrain-based force directs the work of three distinct task groups of around six warships each, operating from the head of the Gulf to the Red Sea in the west, the shores of India and Pakistan in the east, and the Seychelles in the south - an area of some 2.5 million square miles (6.5 million square kilometres).

Middle East Shipping Routes Secure: U.S.

Shipping corridors used by Gulf energy exporters are not at risk from violence and political volatility in Yemen and the seizure of swathes of territory in the region by Islamic State militants, a senior U.S. naval officer said on Monday. Vice Admiral John Miller, Commander of U.S. Naval Central Command, told a conference in Abu Dhabi that a "robust" U.S. and international maritime presence was helping to minimise threats to oil-producing countries in the region. "As dynamic as the region is today, what we have seen over the past years is the maritime atmosphere has been safe, the free flow of commerce has been stable and secure," said Miller, also Commander of U.S. 5th Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces.

USS James E. Williams Helps Crew of Pirated Vessel

Crew members from the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) provided care and assistance for approximately 12 hours to crew members and pirates aboard the North Korean cargo vessel Dai Hong Dan, after the crew regained control of the ship from the pirates. Subsequently, the crew requested no further assistance from James E. Williams. Dai Hong Dan's crew regained control of their vessel Oct. 30, after confronting the pirates who had taken over their ship Oct. 29. The crew was able to control the steering and engineering spaces of the ship, while the pirates had seized the bridge. The ship was approximately 60 nautical miles northeast of Mogadishu. Three U.S. Navy corpsmen and a security team from James E. Williams provided medical assistance and other support.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Feb 2018 - Cruise Ship Annual

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