June 15, 2021 – Canadian and Australian staff from the multinational Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) deployed to the Republic of Seychelles from May 1-14, 2021 to provide training assistance to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Their goal was to help build the capacity of regional partners in maritime security operations.
The training involved participants from four nations – Comoros, Kenya, Tanzania, and Seychelles – who took part in both practical and theoretical courses related to Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) as well as Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). The courses included search techniques, legal briefings, equipment and weapons handling, operational planning, safety procedures, practical exercises, and a swimming assessment.
Through their enhanced knowledge and practical training, recipients will be better positioned to contribute to enhanced maritime security and safety of navigation in the East African regional waters.
This is the first time that the multinational task force contributes to a UNODC-led capacity-building initiative in the region.
Operating under Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a partnership of 34 nations based in Bahrain, CTF-150 works to disrupt terrorist and criminal organizations by countering the smuggling of narcotics and other illicit goods that fund their activities. This complex mission starts with the identification of potential smugglers and finishes with the boarding and seizure of illicit cargoes at sea. These multifaceted maritime operations require an advanced knowledge of boarding operations procedures and the applicable legal framework.
By increasing the capacity of regional partners to operate at sea, this type of training is critical to assist regional partner nations in addressing maritime security threats.
“Capacity building is a vital strand of CMF activity; we are working in concert with partner nations and organizations to enhance maritime security in our region,” said Deputy Commander of CMF, Commodore Ed Ahlgren of the Royal Navy.
CTF-150’s contribution to the UNODC-led initiative in the Seychelles will help inform CMF’s future efforts in this area as the coalition seeks to better enable the ability of regional partners to contribute to enhancing maritime security which, in an area covering about 3.2 million nautical miles, is truly a team effort.
The CTF-150 mentoring staff comprised Lieutenant-Commander (LCdr) Amy Beal of the Royal Australian Navy, LCdr Kevin Hastey of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Major Angela Orme of the Canadian Army. Australia and Canada contribute to CTF-150 through Operation Manitou and Operation Artemis, respectively, under the leadership of Commodore Daniel Charlebois of the RCN until July 2021.
Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is a multinational maritime partnership, which exists to uphold the International Rules-Based Order by countering illicit non-state actors on the high seas and promoting security, stability, and prosperity across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters, which encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
CTF-150 conducts maritime security operations outside the Arabian Gulf to disrupt criminal and terrorist organizations and to ensure legitimate commercial shipping can transit the region, free from non-state threats. CTF-150 is currently commanded by the Royal Canadian Navy, which is leading the task force for the fifth time.
Operation ARTEMIS is Canada’s contribution to maritime security in the Middle East, and its mission is to disrupt terrorism financing in the region. In 2021, Operation ARTEMIS comprises the following contributions from the Canadian Armed Forces: Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Calgary, a Halifax Class Royal Canadian Navy Frigate, the CP-140 is a long-range patrol aircraft used by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for multiple types of missions over land and water, and the command and control of CTF-150 under Combined Maritime Forces, based in the Kingdom of Bahrain.