CTF 150: Maritime Security

Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). CTF150 conducts Maritime Security Operations (MSO) outside the Arabian Gulf to ensure that legitimate commercial shipping can transit the region, free from non-state threats.

CTF 150’s mission is to disrupt criminal and terrorist organisations and their mandated related illicit activities by restricting their freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain. CTF150’s activities deny criminal and terrorist organisations a risk-free method of conducting operations or moving personnel, weapons or income-generating narcotics and charcoal.

The crew of the French Marine Nationale FS COURBET with 3534kg of hashish valued at $1.8m USD (regional wholesale value) seized on 13 Dec 2019.

CTF 150’s Area of Responsibility (AOR) includes some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and spans over two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman (but not inside the Arabian Gulf, which is the responsibility of CTF 152). This area is a vital artery of world trade from the Far East to Europe and the US, with thousands of shipping movements per year including the transportation of over 27 million barrels of oil[1]. In addition, the AOR contains the approaches to three narrow waterways, known as ‘choke points’, where vessels are required to pass closely between two shorelines. These are the Strait of Hormuz, Bab El Mandeb and the Suez Canal. This means ships have limited manoeuvrability and are more vulnerable than would otherwise be the case in open waters.

Royal Marines Commando Boarding Team from HMS DEFENDER boarding a Dhow in which 131kg of narcotics were seized on 19 Dec 2019

History

Task Force 150 was a US Navy formation under the control of the US Naval Forces Central Command (CENTCOM). After the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, it was re-established as a multinational coalition in order to undertake counter-terrorism operations at sea as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The coalition has grown and evolved beyond that operation’s scope to encompass and address wider maritime security threats from mandated illicit non-state actors to member states.

Composition

CTF 150 is a multinational task force. Participating nations have included: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Command of CTF 150 generally rotates between nations on a four monthly basis.

Maritime Security Operations (MSO)

Maritime Security Operations (MSO) are intelligence led and carefully planned to develop security in the maritime environment, thereby contributing to stability and prosperity on a regional and a global level.

FS JEAN BART stands watch as her sea boats close on a suspicious Dhow in Oct 19

MSO deter and deny the use of the maritime environment to criminal and terrorist organisations and the facilitation of their malign activities. MSO complement the security efforts of regional nations on land. MSO are conducted under international maritime law and international maritime conventions to help ensure security and safety in international waters. This ensures that all commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting the region.

CTF 150 vessels also assist mariners in distress and undertake humanitarian work as required.

CTF 150 Command History

Date Country Number of Times
05-Feb-02 Germany 1
02-Sep-02 Spain 1
31-Jan-03 Italy 1
01-Jun-03 Germany 2
29-Sep-03 France 1
29-Jan-04 UK 1
04-Apr-04 France 2
19-Sep-04 UK 2
06-Dec-04 Germany 3
05-Apr-05 UK 3
17-Aug-05 France 3
12-Dec-05 Netherlands 1
24-Apr-06 Pakistan 1
22-Aug-06 Germany 4
06-Dec-06 UK 4
04-Apr-07 France 4
01-Aug-07 Pakistan 2
04-Apr-08 France 5
03-Jun-08 Canada 1
15-Sep-08 Denmark 1
12-Jan-09 Germany 5
04-Apr-09 France 6
20-Jul-09 Pakistan 3
16-Dec-09 Australia 1
15-Apr-10 Pakistan 4
14-Oct-10 Australia 2
04-Apr-11 France 7
01-Aug-11 UK 5
16-Dec-11 Australia 3
17-Apr-12 Pakistan 5
30-Aug-12 UK 6
20-Dec-12 Australia 4
14-Apr-13 France 8
01-Aug-13 Pakistan 6
01-Dec-13 Australia 5
10-Apr-14 UK 7
14-Aug-14 Pakistan 7
04-Dec-14 Canada 2
06-Apr-15 France 9
30-Jul-15 Pakistan 8
03-Dec-15 Australia 6
07-Apr-16 UK 8
04-Aug-16 Pakistan 9
08-Dec-16 Canada 3
13-Apr-17 France 10
17-Aug-17 Pakistan 10
07-Dec-17 Australia 7
24-May-18 UK 9
09-Aug-18 KSA 1
06-Dec-18 Canada 4
28-Apr-19 Pakistan 11
08-Aug-19 UK 10
05-Dec-19 Australia 8
19-Mar-20 France 11
5-Aug-20 KSA 2

CTF150 Command History by Country