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Kiwi command of coalition counter-piracy task force successfully completed

Kiwi command of coalition counter-piracy task force successfully completed

Photo Caption: L-R  it is Rear Admiral Kaleem Shaukat, Vice Admiral Mark Fox and Capt Jim Gilmour.

29 September 2011

Royal New Zealand Navy Officer Captain Jim Gilmour has successfully completed his command of the international counter-piracy task force, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151.

Captain Gilmour’s command spanned three months, and was the first time a New Zealand Naval Officer has held this high profile position.

The deployment has demonstrated NZ Defence Force’s commitment to protecting security and stability in the international maritime environment.

Piracy remains a very real threat to merchant traffic, says Captain Gilmour.  “Over 23,000 vessels transit the Gulf of Aden annually and the naval presence in this area is pivotal to countering the scourge of piracy through this water-way which has global significance commercially.

“My team can happily look back on a range of important operational activities that have destroyed active pirate group equipment, denied their freedom of maneuver and most importantly, dented their sense of impunity.”

Supported by two other NZ Defence Force Officers and a coalition staff of eight, Captain Gilmour’s flagship was the US Ticonderoga Class Cruiser, USS ANZIO. Over the period of Captain Gilmour’s command, the task force included ships and aircraft from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, and the Republic of Korea.

“I have been extremely well supported by my coalition battle staff and my flag ship ANZIO. For the first time, the CTF 151 battle staff has been a true coalition one – with staff from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Canada. 

“I am thankful for the support of my team, the collaborative and close association of my fellow task force commanders and the leadership from Combined Maritime Force Headquarters,” says Captain Gilmour.

Reflecting further on his command, Captain Gilmour added that he was fortunate to be commanding officer of HMNZS CANTERBURY which hosted the commander and staff of the USN Destroyer Squadron 23 during Exercise Pacific Partnership earlier this year.

“The hoisting of a USN command pennant in a Royal New Zealand Navy ship was very significant in terms of our relationship with the United States Navy, and the fact that I hoisted my command pennant in a United States ship during this deployment has been an immense honour.”

Command of CTF 151 was transferred to Pakistan Navy Rear Admiral Kaleem Shaukat during a ceremony at the US Naval Base in Bahrain yesterday. Captain Gilmour said: “I wish Rear Admiral Shaukat the very best of luck as his team now assumes leadership of this very important mission.”

CTF 151 conducts counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin region, an area encompassing 2.5 million square miles, and is one of three task forces operated by the Bahrain based, 25-nation coalition Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

Upon return to New Zealand, Captain Gilmour will resume his duties as the Captain, Fleet Operational Support, based at Devonport Naval Base.

ENDS

For further information contact Kirsty Taylor-Doig 021 806 926


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