x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Navy to remain at helm of task force

The UAE Navy has extended its command of a multinational maritime task force, directing its efforts to police drug and terrorist activities in Gulf waters.

ABU DHABI // The UAE Navy has extended its command of a multinational maritime task force, directing its efforts to police drug and terrorist activities in Gulf waters. The UAE took over Combined Task Force 152 in November, and was due to relinquish control on Tuesday, but it is extending its command for three months. "The Combined Maritime Forces [CMF] are very pleased at the decision by the UAE to extend their command of CTF 152 for a further three months," said Lt Cmdr Francesca Woodman, a representative for the task force.

Since taking command, the UAE Navy had successfully co-ordinated security operations and was prepared to respond to any crisis in the Gulf, she said. The coalition force, which includes ships from Britain, the US and several GCC nations, is responsible for maritime security, including breaking down networks that fund terrorist groups by smuggling drugs, people and weapons. It is also used to help build the capacity of regional navies.

Navies from the CMF's 24 member states volunteer to take command of the task force for a period that usually ranges from three to six months. The UAE has bolstered its naval capacities recently and is due to take part in a three-week training exercise with Britain's Royal Marines later this month. "Their continued participation within Combined Maritime Forces is indicative of the success of their mission and CMF look forward to their participation until May 2010," Lt Cmdr Woodman said.

A Navy official confirmed the UAE had extended its command. lmorris@thenational.ae