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THE frigate HMAS Parramatta and
Royal Saudi Naval Force Ship Al-Taif,
rendezvoused in the Southern Red Sea
to conduct a coordinated transit on
The two ships are both operating
with Combined Task Force 150, which
is part of the Combined Maritime
Forces that patrols the Red Sea, Gulf
of Aden, Indian Ocean and the Gulf of
Commanding Officer HMAS
Parramatta CMDR Guy Blackburn said
the meeting marked CTF 150's second
interaction with the Royal Saudi Naval
Force (RSNF) and was noteworthy due
to its proximity to the Bab Al Mandeb
Strait, a key strategic chokepoint for the
passage of merchant ships.
"HMAS Parramatta and RSNF
Al-Taif conducted a variety of coordi-
nated activities during the four-hour
interaction. The transit was easily coor-
dinated, and both ships reported that
they worked together with ease," he
The aim of recent coordinated tran-
sits among coalition forces is to promote
greater regional participation in mari-
time security in the Southern Red Sea,
Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Oman, as well
as the Arabian Sea.
"It was a pleasure to work alongside
RSNF Al-Taif," CMDR Blackburn said.
"There was a familiarity common
to mariners that enabled our easy inter-
action and excellent outcomes to be
achieved in ensuring the security of this
ancient water way.
"We look forward to the opportunity
to do the same again, and remain uplift-
ed that our Saudi Arabian partners are
helping us to all maintain the security in
HMAS Parramatta departed Sydney
on September 26, 2011, and is currently
undertaking her fourth deployment to
the Middle East.
Parramatta has previously conducted
maritime security operations in the Gulf
region and the Horn of Africa, counter-
piracy and anti-smuggling operations in
the Gulf of Aden, and has provided sup-
port to counter-terrorism activities.
ON THE JOB:
Browning of Combined
Maritime Force at a
US Naval Base in the
Middle East as part of
Photo: SGT Mick Davis
Unique naval partnership
COMBINED Maritime Forces (CMF)
is a unique naval partnership compris-
ing 25 nations with a vested interest
in promoting security and prosperity
across more than two million square
miles of international waters in the
This area encompasses some of the
world's most important shipping lanes
and ensuring that legitimate trade vessels
are kept safe from terrorists and pirates is
crucial to Australia's sea trade.
CMF oversees three main task forces.
Each task force has a specific mission and
area of operation. Combined Task Force-
150 predominantly deals with counter ter-
rorism in the maritime domain, Combined
Task Force 151 conducts counter piracy
operations and Combined Task Force
152 in the Arabian Gulf conducts counter
terrorism operations and supports the
Gulf-based nations to build their maritime
Director of Operations Combined
Maritime Forces in the Middle East,
CAPT Bruce Legge, describes the unique
nature of the CMF.
"I have around four or five
[Australian] staff, depending on rotations
that are working here. They range from
my deputy director of operations, a com-
munications expert, and a lieutenant that
is a battle watch officer.
Contributing nations include the US,
UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy,
Pakistan and the Republic of Korea.
"Many may not understand what the
Navy is bringing to that maritime flank in
terms of counter terrorism. It is much bet-
ter for us to be able to interdict the terror-
ist before they even get to Afghanistan; if
I can get them at sea then that's definitely
a better outcome for all.
"It is professionally rewarding to
apply my trade as a professional naval
officer in terms of bringing our maritime
forces together as a force of good, whilst
protecting that maritime flank," Captain
Parramatta meets Saudi ship
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