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UK Assumes Command of Combined Task Force 158

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080311-15
Release Date: 3/11/2008 2:04:00 PM

From Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs

PERSIAN GULF (NNS) -- Combined Task Force (CTF) 158 recieved a new commander during a ceremony aboard Khawr Al Amaya oil terminal (KAAOT), March 10.

Royal Navy Commodore Duncan Potts relieved Royal Australian Navy Commodore Allan du Toit.

CTF 158's primary mission is conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) around KAAOT and the Al Basrah oil terminal (ABOT) in support of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1723. This resolution charges the multinational force with the responsibility and authority to maintain security and stability in the Iraqi territorial waters and also supports the Iraqi government's request for security support.

Command of CTF 158 typically rotates among coalition partners Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Additionally, under the leadership of CTF 158, Iraqi marines aboard ABOT and KAAOT train with coalition forces in order to eventually assume responsibility for security.

Potts said his staff is well-prepared to helm CTF 158.

"We have trained hard for this period of command," Potts said. "We have a very important mission to conduct, and I am content that I have the right people, ships and aircraft to robustly achieve the level of stability that is needed in this area. Whilst Iraqi territorial waters may be small, I see them as the umbilical that feeds much of the Iraqi economy. Consequently the security of the offshore oil infrastructure and shipping into and out of Iraq will be my constant focus."

KAAOT and ABOT generate 93 percent of Iraq's gross domestic product.

Commander, CTF, Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff said CTF 158 will continue to protect vital assets in the North Persian Gulf.

"CTF 158, by engaging in Maritime Security Operations, provides a tangible benefit to all entities that use the seas—and need to be able to use the seas—without risk of harassment or worse," Cosgriff said. "Our power is in the capability and intent to safeguard peaceful use of waterways and the resources of the sea."

MSO help set the conditions for security, which promotes stability and prosperity in the North Persian Gulf. These operations protect Iraq's sea-based infrastructure, which provides the Iraqi people the opportunity for self-determination. MSO complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit

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