A Change of Command and an enduring partnership: Operation ARTEMIS resumes in Manama, Bahrain, under Canadian leadership
By Lt(N) Melissa Kia,
CTF 150 Public Affairs Officer
On 27 January, 2021, Commodore (Cmdre) Dan Charlebois of the Royal Canadian Navy assumed command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) from Rear Admiral (RAdm) Sulieman Al Faqeeh of the Royal Saudi Navy. The change of command ceremony was held at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain.
CTF 150 is a naval task force conducting maritime security and counter-terrorism operations under Combined Maritime Forces, a multinational coalition of 33 nations. The CTF 150 area of operations includes the Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean off the East Coast of Africa, which spans over 2 million square miles and includes some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.” The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) contributes to CTF 150 through Operation ARTEMIS, and the change of command ceremony marked the first day of Canada’s command, which it will maintain until July 2021.
The modest ceremony, based on COVID-19 precautions, featured the attendance of a number of distinguished guests including the Commander of the Royal Saudi Navy, the Chief of Bahrain Naval Forces, several regional task force commanders, as well as Senior Naval Representatives from several Combined Maritime Forces partner nations. The remarks delivered by the outgoing and incoming Commanders of CTF 150, as well as by Vice Admiral (VAdm) Sam Paparo, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, who presided, all stressed the importance of the strong partnerships and the CTF 150 mission itself, which is to promote security, stability and prosperity in an area that encompasses some of the world’s most important shipping routes.
In his speech, RAdm Al-Faqeeh expressed that he was honoured to have commanded CTF 150 and gave special thanks to the partner nations who supported his mission over the past seven months. RAdm Al-Faqeeh commended his team for the success of their operations, which led to a number of important drug seizures that contributed to not only disrupting the financing of criminal and terrorist networks, but also helped to ensure the continued free flow of legitimate commerce in the region.
VAdm Paparo thanked RAdm Al-Faqeeh and praised the Royal Saudi Navy for the success of their mission under the challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also stressed that the mission of CTF 150 helps to save lives by reducing the flow of narcotics to multiple nations, including those in North America. VAdm Paparo also emphasized the spirit of partnership which characterizes this multinational coalition, calling 2021 “the year of CMF”.
VAdm Paparo then welcomed Cmdre Charlebois as the new Commander of CTF 150 and thanked Canada for sending a robust contingent of its nation’s very best to take CTF 150 to the next level. Cmdre Charlebois expressed his thanks and remarked that the CAF has a rich history with CMF and that Canada was happy to be back to command CTF 150 for the fifth time. His priorities during his command, he added, will focus on engaging with coalition and regional partners to build and enhance relationships, and help advance other CMF objectives.
Canada’s presence, along with its Allies and partners, plays an important role in demonstrating an enduring collaboration and maintaining regional stability.