The new French Commander of Combined Maritime Forces‚Äô (CMF) Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) headed straight out to sea on active operations less than 12 hours after assuming command.
Captain Jean-Michel Martinet of the Marine Nationale sailed from Bahrain in his flagship, FS Somme, the same day that he took over as the head of the CMF‚Äôs counter-terrorism task force. CTF 150‚Äôs principle mission is the disruption of terrorist activity in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, which includes cutting their lines of funding by preventing¬†the movement of personnel, weapons or income-generating narcotics¬†in the region.
Being deployed at sea allows the Task Force to take advantage of the Somme‚Äôs unique capabilities as a command platform and a replenishment tanker. As well as being CTF 150‚Äôs flagship, Somme is capable of refuelling other vessels in the task force and conducting surface searches with her embarked Alouette III helicopter.
Operating at sea will also give the French battlestaff a significant appreciation of the maritime environment in the region, as well as aiding engagement opportunities with partner nations in and around the Indian Ocean.
‚ÄúWe are sailors, and I feel that we belong at sea‚Äù said Captain Martinet. ‚ÄúWe have a tremendous asset in the Somme, and in order to maximise her capabilities it makes sense for us to command from afloat.
‚ÄúCTF 150 is committed to providing maritime security in our area of operations, and both my battlestaff and the crew of the Somme are 100 per cent devoted to that task.‚Äù