Commander CTF 151 crossdecked to HMAS Toowoomba

Commander Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 Commodore Muhammad Hisham has crossed decked from USS Farragut to HMAS Toowoomba to personally welcome the crew to the counter-piracy task force.

The crossdecking was conducted to bolster the already-high level of cooperation between the nations involved in the Combined Maritime Forces responsible for maritime security operations in the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO).

The crossdecking also afforded the Commander CTF 151 the opportunity to personally meet the members of Toowoomba’s Command Team.

The group received by Toowoomba was a multinational contingent with Commodore Hisham and CTF 151 Chief of Staff Captain Naveed Ashraf representing the Pakistani Navy.

Denmark was also represented by Lieutenant-Colonel Niels Koefoed and the United States Navy (USN) ship USS Farragut provided several Junior Officers and Sailors.

After dining and exchanging gifts with Toowoomba’s Commanding Officer, Commander Brendon Zilko, Commodore Hisham was given a tour of the ship and viewed demonstrations.

Commander Zilko described the visit as a great opportunity for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to host CTF 151 staff while at sea and provide firsthand experience of Australia’s contribution to the mission.

“Today has afforded an excellent opportunity to meet and host the Commander of CTF 151 along with several of his team,” Commander Zilko said.

At the end of an eventful and exciting day, all crossdeckers returned to their respective ships.

“This has been an excellent experience with all of us learning how one of our closest allies conducts business,” USN Lieutenant (junior grade) Adal of USS Farragut said.

“We have been really well looked after and even received a few souvenirs.”

Toowoomba is deployed to the MEAO as part of the Combined Maritime Force which is responsible for: counter-terrorism operations in the North Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman; anti-piracy operations around the Horn of Africa; and maritime security operations in the Central and Southern Arabian Gulf.

As the thirtieth rotation of a RAN vessel to the MEAO, Toowoomba has been on patrol supporting the Combined Maritime Forces mission since January 2013.


Original Article