From April, the UK will lead the Combined Task Force (CTF150), which covers two million square miles, including the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman – an area that is a vital artery of world trade.

The activities of CTF150 directly influence events ashore, denying terrorist groups, including Daesh, a risk-free method of conducting attacks or moving personnel, weapons or income generating narcotics.

UK to lead Gulf joint maritime force to deter piracy and terrorism

Ships assigned to Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) assemble in a formation in the Gulf of Oman, 6 May 2004

Speaking in Qatar, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: ”The UK has one of the strongest navies in the world and we are looking forward to leading this important joint force. This underlines our commitment to working with allies to fight Daesh and tackle terrorism across the region.”

Leading CTF150 will see the UK alongside international partners, including countries that make up the 31 nation Combined Maritime Forces. CTF150 vessels will also assist mariners in distress and undertake humanitarian work as required.

Last week, a new defense cooperation arrangement between Qatar and Britain was signed in London. The agreement will enable closer coordination on training and exercises, said the MOD.

Fallon added: “Last week’s attacks in Brussels are a reminder that all of us, the Gulf and Europe, must stand together to defeat Daesh (IS) and disrupt its attack planning. The new agreement will enhance the security of both countries.”

Source: safety4sea