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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pakistan Navy hands over command of anti-piracy fleet to Singapore


KARACHI: Commodore Abdul Aleem of Pakistan Navy has handed over the command of Combined Task Force-151 to Rear Admiral Harris Weng Yip Chan of Singapore Navy after an eventful period of four months.

The change of command took place onboard HMS Cornwall alongside the USS Mason, the command ship for the incoming CTF-151, in Djibouti.

According to a Pakistan Navy press release, CTF-151 is a multinational task force operating as Counter Piracy (CP) segment of Combined Maritime Forces Headquarters in Bahrain. CTF-151 conducts counter-piracy operations under the UNSC resolutions to curb piracy in the Gulf of Eden, North Arabian Sea and Somalia Basin.

This vast area hosts a number of sea lanes connecting east and west which contain vital supply routes and can be described as lifeline for world`s leading economies. About 33,000 ships pass every year through the Gulf of Aden alone. The entire area is, however, threatened by the menace of piracy which is growing.

Despite limited resources, Pakistan Navy has been an active participant in counter-piracy operations since inception of the coalition of forces conducting the operations in the region around Somalia.

In order to foster regional maritime security, Pakistan Navy joined the CTF-151, a coalition of naval forces of about 25 countries conducting operations under the umbrella of HQ CMF at Navcent, Bahrain.

Pakistan Navy has been supporting the CP operations by contributing staff to HQ CMF at NSA Bahrain and Destroyer (DDG) on an alternate basis since 2009. It was the first-ever Command of CTF-151 from Pakistan Navy. Pakistan is the only regional country to have been entrusted with the command of CTF-151, besides CTF-150. Assignment of command of CTF-151 to Pakistan Navy is a reflection of its professional competence and resolve through which it has made its place among coalition nations.

Apart from fighting piracy, CTF-151 units helped innocent merchantmen in distress in the form of providing logistic, technical and medical support.

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