As the south western monsoon in the Indian Ocean recedes and the summer sea swell conditions abate, experience suggests that the seasonal potential for narcotics trafficking in the Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF’s) area of operations can typically be expected to increase. The responsibilities of warships and maritime patrol aircraft flying in support of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 surveillance operations are specifically targeted on preventing narcotics smuggling, a prime source of funding for terrorist groups in the region. CMF’s efforts continue to be concentrated towards disrupting all illicit cargoes (including narcotics, weapons and charcoal). This is achieved through sustained regional maritime security operations, in particular in the Northern Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and North Western Indian Ocean.
In support of this strategy, and under the command of Rear Admiral Naveed Ahmed Rizvi of the Pakistan Navy, CTF 150 is currently conducting Focused Operation “Sea Watch”. Multi-national naval units, aircraft and personnel ashore from Pakistan, New Zealand, UK, USA and Australia are undertaking a variety of operations to ensure freedom of navigation and maritime security. Specifically, through regular board and search activity conducted by CMF and partner warships across its area of operations, CTF 150 is focused on safeguarding maritime interests and protection of merchant ships in the newly established Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC). This critical, continuous and, often, unsung work ensures the free flow of international trade and the maintenance of global commerce that is vital for the preservation of world economic growth. Boarding moving vessels underway at sea is a job for experienced experts and a key capability which CMF forces therefore practice regularly to sharpen their skills.