Canada assumes command of Combined Task Force 150
By Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs
The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) assumed command of a multinational maritime task force during a change-of-command ceremony Jan. 17.
French Navy Captain Yannick Bossu turned over command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 to the RCN’s Captain (Navy) Colin Matthews. CTF 150 was established in February 2002, and is one of five operational task forces under Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). CTF 150 conducts maritime security operations outside the Arabian Gulf against threats from non-state actors. The core staff of CTF 150 consisted of French, British, New Zealanders, Australians and Bahrainis.
Since France took command of CTF 150 in July 2023, ships working in support of the task force carried out 14 successful boardings, in which more than 16 tons of illegal narcotics, with a street value of over $600 million, were seized. These seizures prevent criminal and terrorist organizations generating income from drug-smuggling.
While Commander of CTF 150, Captain Bossu also spread CMF’s message through key partner engagements with countries including Seychelles, Mozambique and India. These engagements help strengthen ties between CMF nations and provide an opportunity to discuss the work of CMF with countries not yet members.
“Today marks the end of the French Navy’s successful 12th command of CTF 150. I would like to express my thanks to all those who have continually supported us during our tenure, including Vice-Admiral Cooper, Commodore Anderson, Commodore Dennis and Rear-Admiral Al bin Ali,” Bossu said.
“Integral to CTF 150’s achievements over the past six months are, of course, the French, British, American, Indian, and Pakistani ships that have been working in support and my team made up of staff from a range of nations. We are pleased to welcome the Royal Canadian Navy to Combined Task Force 150; it has been a pleasure to meet your team. To everyone, keep on enjoying and serving in Combined Maritime Forces.”
Capt (N) Matthews joins CTF 150 following a tour as Director of Naval Information Warfare. Over the years, he has participated in numerous overseas deployments to the Arabian Gulf and Arabian Sea regions in support of counterterrorism operations.
“It is an honor to take command of Combined Task Force 150 and a privilege to lead this team of dedicated personnel from Canada, Bahrain, Australia, and New Zealand for the next six months,” Capt (N) Matthews said.
“We are eager to build on the achievements of Capt. Bossu and his team. The success of this operation lies with our ability to work with like-minded nations toward the same goals, ensuring that legitimate commercial shipping can transit the region free from non-state threats and we are ready to face this task.”
In a press release, Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command, also gave well wishes to Capt (N) Matthews and his new CTF 150 team.
“I am proud to see Canada take the lead of CTF 150 once again. This opportunity demonstrates Canada’s dedication to maritime security and the confidence our Royal Canadian Navy personnel inspire with our international allies and partners,” he said.
Combined Maritime Forces, headquartered in Bahrain with U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet, is the largest multinational naval partnership in the world, with 39 nations committed to upholding the international rules-based order at sea. It promotes security, stability and prosperity across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters, encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
CMF’s other task forces include CTF 151, which leads regional counter-piracy efforts; CTF 152, dedicated to maritime security in the Arabian Gulf; CTF 153, providing maritime security in the Red Sea; and CTF 154, which delivers maritime training.