Two Thai vessels join Combined Maritime Forces in counter-piracy mission

September 28th, 2010 - 8:01 pm ICT by BNO News  

MANAMA, BAHRAIN (BNO NEWS) — The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) on Tuesday announced that two vessels from the Royal Thai Navy will be deployed to the Gulf of Aden to join the counter-piracy mission.

Eight officers from the Royal Thai Navy have already arrived at CMF headquarters in Bahrain in preparation for the historic deployment of the two vessels; the offshore patrol vessel HTMS Pattani and the support ship HTMS Similan.

CMF is a unique naval coalition, dedicated to promoting security and prosperity across some 2.5 million square miles (2.5 million square kilometers) of international waters in the Middle East with its main focus on defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, reducing illegal activities, and promoting a safe maritime environment.

During their 98-day deployment, the vessels will conduct counter-piracy operations with Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), currently commanded by Rear Admiral Sinan Ertugrul of the Turkish Navy.

CTF-151’s mission is to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy, protecting maritime vessels of any nationality and securing freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin. In conjunction with NATO and European Union Naval Force Somalia (EUNAVFOR), CTF-151 conducts patrols in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor and supports Best Management Practice methods for piracy avoidance that are promoted by the shipping industry.

“We are delighted that Thailand has joined CMF. Our strength derives from the fact that, as a coalition of the willing, we can achieve more by working together than any single nation or navy could do alone,” Vice Admiral Mark Fox, Commander CMF, said.

A small team from Coalition Communications based at Naval Support Activity Bahrain flew to Sattahip Naval Base, Chonburi, Thailand, to provide technical assistance and training associated with installing and operating communication equipment and networking capability in order to prepare for the integration of Thai vessels into the coalition fleet.

Four team members are sailing with the two vessels - which are led by Rear Admiral Chaiyot Sundaranaga and includes 351 Thai personnel - to provide continuing support.

“Communications enable participation, and are therefore, the key to successful coalition operations. I had a strong team and we received excellent support and a warm welcome from the Royal Thai Navy and from the U.S. Security Assistance Organization (SAO) in Thailand. Working together, we removed the barriers to participation and successfully integrated these two ships into the CMF force flow,” Chief Warrant Officer John D. Radford, who led the team, said.

CTF-151 is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces, of which Thailand becomes the 25th member nation.

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