Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

June 03, 2008 15:09 ET

French Navy Hands Command of CTF 150 to Canada: From Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs

Note to Editors: Retransmitted on behalf of US NAVCENT. For the Canadian contribution to CTF 150, please refer to the attached backgrounder. Media wishing to interview Commodore Bod Davidson are requested to contact the Media Liaison Office at 1-866-377-0811. For a photo, visit the Combat Camera website at www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca .

FS MARNE--(Marketwire - June 3, 2008) - Canadian Navy Commodore Bob Davidson relieved French Navy Rear Adm. Jean-Louis Kerignard as Commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 during a change of command ceremony aboard FS Marne (A 630), June 3.

The ceremony concluded the French Navy's fifth successful command of CTF 150, a multi-national task force that conducts Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

"In the past 100 days, we have come to better understand our area of operations, one of the most important areas in the world, but one that unfortunately is one of the world's most unstable and unsecure regions," said Kerignard. "This deepened understanding is the result of hard work and is our Coalition's single most strength. I have fully enjoyed working with the men and women in my staff representing their nations within the coalition. Their performance can only be qualified as outstanding."

Kerignard assumed command of CTF 150 in February 2008 and under his leadership, significant progress was made to counter illicit activities in the maritime arena to create a lawful maritime order. France has been part of the Coalition since 2001 and has contributed two dedicated ships to CTF 150 along with a maritime patrol squadron based in Djibouti over the past seven years.

"It is important for us to be here, so we can show our support for the Coalition and participate in operations against terrorist organizations," said Cmdr. Jerome Origny, Marne's Commanding Officer. "It has been a privilege and an honor to provide maritime security in this region."

Guest speaker Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, Commander, Combined Maritime Forces, praised the effectiveness of CTF 150 as well as the accomplishments of Kerignard and his staff.

"The Coalition is more cognizant and better prepared for the future because of Kerignard's strong leadership," he said. "We are all in debt for his insight, direction and spirit while he led CTF 150."

Cosgriff also said he looks forward to working with Davidson in the Coalition.

"I am confident that under Davidson's leadership, Coalition operations will be dynamic, persistent and effective," he said.

This is the first time that Canada will lead CTF 150.

"Leading CTF 150 allows Canada to bring influence and a Canadian perspective into the global maritime environment." said Davidson. "The mission requires that we build relationships with Coalition members and regional nations - relationships that are based on mutual understanding, cooperation and trust."

He added that task force operations in the area complement the security efforts of regional nations.

The Canadian multi-purpose frigate HMCS Calgary (FFH 335), replenishment ship HMCS Protecteur (AOR 509) and HMCS Iroquois (DDH 280) arrived with Davidson and will operate as part of CTF 150. Marne, Kerignard's flagship, will return to its homeport of Toulon, France following the change of command. FS Surcouf (F 711) and FS Jacoubet (F 794) will continue to operate in CTF 150.

The flexibility and capability of Coalition forces make them well positioned to respond to any potential emergent situations. Through operations and training with regional partners, Combined Maritime Forces enhance existing cooperative relationships with an aim to support regional countries' struggles against violent extremists.

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BACKGROUNDER

The Canadian command of Combined Task Force 150

On 3 June 2008, in a ceremony held aboard the French Navy replenishment ship and flagship Marne, Rear Admiral Jean-Louis Kerignard of France handed over command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 to Commodore Bob Davidson of Canada. Commodore Davidson will exercise his command for the standard four-month tour of duty, handing over to his successor at the end of September 2008. His flagship is the Canadian area air-defence destroyer HMCS Iroquois.

CTF 150 is a multinational coalition fleet formed under Operation ENDURING FREEDOM to conduct maritime security operations in and around the Persian Gulf, the northern Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Gulf of Aden, and parts of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. The mission of CTF 150 is to increase security and prevent the maritime environment from being used by terrorists. The fleet comprises 10 to 15 warships from a variety of nations, including Bahrain, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Pakistan and the United States, as well as Canada. Canadian warships serving with CTF 150 deploy under Operation ALTAIR.

Rear Admiral Kerignard led CTF 150 from February to May 2008. During his tenure of command, the fleet made significant progress on the maritime front of the international campaign against terrorism. Of particular note were several major terrorism-related drug interdictions and the recovery of the French yacht Le Ponnant from pirates. A helicopter from HMCS Charlottetown, then deployed with the fleet, obtained photographs of Le Ponnant that were instrumental in the recovery operation.

As well as his flagship, HMCS Iroquois, out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Commodore Davidson brings the multi-purpose frigate HMCS Calgary and the replenishment ship HMCS Protecteur, from Esquimalt, British Columbia. The three Canadian ships will work with their coalition partners to detect and deter terrorist activities and promote safe operations by legitimate mariners in those vital waterways.

Leading CTF 150 allows Canada to bring influence and a Canadian perspective into the global maritime environment. The task force's operations in the Arabian Sea-Persian Gulf area complement the security efforts of regional nations. The mission requires that we build relationships among the coalition members and with regional nations - relationships that are based on mutual understanding, cooperation and trust."

The three ships of Commodore Davidson's Canadian task group and their embarked air detachments - their crews and helicopter detachments comprising some 850 naval and air personnel - are deployed with a command staff and ground support teams as Task Force Arabian Sea on Roto 4 of Operation ALTAIR, Canada's participation in the campaign against terrorism at sea.

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