Italy Assumes Command Of Red Sea Task Force
July 14, 2024
Defence & Security

Italy Assumes Command Of Red Sea Task Force

Poland Becomes CMF’s 42nd Member

The United States Navy has handed over command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 153 to the Italian Navy during a formal change of command ceremony at the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) headquarters in Manama, Bahrain.

Italian Navy Capt. Roberto Messina officially assumed command from US Navy Capt. David Coles on April 3, 2024, marking the third time Italy has taken the reins of a CMF task force since establishing the 42-nation maritime partnership in 2002. This historical milestone underscores Italy’s steadfast commitment to international maritime security.

Established on April 17, 2022, CTF 153 is one of the five task forces under CMF.

Its primary responsibility is to conduct maritime security operations in the Red Sea, Bab Al Mandeb, and the western Gulf of Aden to deter and disrupt illicit activities by non-state actors.

The task force plays a crucial role in enhancing maritime security, ensuring freedom of navigation, and fostering multinational cooperation in the region.

Freedom Of Navigation

During Capt. Coles’ tenure, CTF 153, spearheaded Operation Prosperity Guardian, a multinational operation involving 24 nations to safeguard freedom of navigation in strategic waterways.

Capt. Coles expressed pride in the task force’s accomplishments under his command, emphasising the importance of teamwork in achieving maritime security objectives.

In his address, Capt. Messina reaffirmed the importance of international partnerships in maintaining regional maritime stability.

Poland is the 42nd member of CMF. Credit: US Centcom

Leading a multinational staff from 10 countries, he expressed his unwavering commitment to ensuring maritime security and stability in the area of operations assigned to CTF 153. This commitment underscores the continuity of the task force’s mission under new leadership.

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is recognised as the world’s most significant naval partnership, comprising 42 countries collaborating to uphold maritime security.

Alongside CTF 153, CMF oversees four other task forces, each focusing on specific maritime security objectives in different regions.

In a related development, CMF sees Poland joining as its 42nd member. Vice Adm. George Wikoff, CMF commander, expressed enthusiasm for Poland’s participation in the coalition, emphasising the collective commitment to regional maritime security.

With its expansive reach covering 3.2 million square miles of water, including vital shipping lanes, CMF sets the global standard for maritime cooperation, ensuring security and stability in the maritime domain.

Featured image: The US Navy hands over command of CTF 153 to the Italian Navy at the CMF headquarters in Manama, Bahrain. Credit: US Centcom

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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