Pakistan hands over anti-piracy force’s command to Japan

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Japan has taken over from Pakistan the command of the Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), the anti-piracy force operating off the coast of Somalia and Horn of Africa under the ambit of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

Pakistan Navy Commodore Asif Hameed handed over command to CTF-151Commander, Rear Admiral Hiroshi, at a ceremony in the CMF headquarters in Bahrain, according to a statement issued by the naval headquarters. The ceremony was presided over by CMF Commander Admiral John W. Miller.

The change of command marked the conclusion of the Pakistan Navy’s sixth tenure of the task force’s command.

The CTF-151 is one of three task forces operated by the CMF and its command is rotated between participatory nations for the tenure of three to six months.

The CMF is a naval partnership of 30 nations tasked to promote security across about 2.5 million square miles of international waters, which encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

The Pakistan Navy has been part of the United Nations Security Council-mandated task force since 2009.

Speaking at the change of command ceremony, Commodore Hameed said that incidents of piracy in Horn of Africa had considerably declined but it still “presents an intricate threat and thus warrants counter-piracy forces to remain alert and focused on the job”.

Since 2004, the Pakistan Navy had been providing ships and aircraft to the CMF for maintaining peace and stability on high seas, he said.

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