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Top Coalition Officer Says Seas will Remain Safe

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071127-02
Release Date: 11/27/2007 9:11:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Zeltakalns, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

PNS BABUR, At Sea (NNS) -- Pakistan Navy Commodore Khan Hasham Bin Saddique, commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, said coalition ships under his command are committed to keeping the sea lanes around the Horn of Africa open for commerce and safe from piracy.

Hasham made the comments Nov. 24 during a reception attended by local dignitaries and USS Stout's (DDG 55) Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Robert Katz, aboard Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) Babur in port in Salalah, Oman.

"Our coalition will continue to ensure the security of three of the world's most important choke points: the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal and Strait of Bab el-Mandeb," said Hasham. "Ships from all over the world transit this area. We must build a lawful maritime order that allows for free use of the seas for legitimate purposes."

Babur's Commanding Officer, Capt. Zahid Ilyas, said the presence of coalition ships acts as a deterent to pirates and promotes the lawful use of the seas.

"Our presence sends an important message: we assure mariners who are conducting legitimate business that we will keep the areas safe," Zahid said. "We are also ready to counter and deter those who would try to take advantage of these mariners."

Babur refueled with fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Lenthall (T-AO 189) on Nov. 25, and will resume Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the Arabian Sea. Babur carries two rigid hull inflatable boats and boarding teams composed of members from Pakistan Navy Special Security Services.

CTF 150 is responsible for MSO in the Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, North Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean.

MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment. Coalition forces conduct these operations under international maritime conventions so that commercial shipping and fishing can occur safely in the region.

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