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Coalition Counter-piracy Task Force Changes Command

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100121-14
Release Date: 1/21/2010 4:23:00 PM

From Commander, Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Coalition counter-piracy unit Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 held a change of command ceremony aboard USS Hopper (DDG 70) while pierside in Manama, Bahrain, Jan. 20.

Singaporean Navy Rear Adm. Bernard Miranda relieved U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Scott E. Sanders, who has commanded the counter-piracy task force since Aug. 13, 2009.

Miranda is scheduled to join his flagship, the USS Farragut (DDG 99), in Djibouti throughout the week of Jan. 25-29.

Having patrolled the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin for over 160 days, Sanders marked the conclusion of a highly successful deployment at the ceremony. During his tenure in command, CTF 151 helped coordinate the safety of over 15,000 vessels transiting an area of water that covers roughly 1.1 million square miles. In order to accomplish this task, Sanders and his staff held regular meetings and interactions with both coalition vessels and independent deploying nations, such as China and Russia, to ensure the most effective use of patrol assets.

Testament to the enhanced interaction amongst nations is the fact that CTF 151 and their international partners were able to ensure that less than .001 percent of these transiting ships became victims of the maritime crime of piracy.

Speaking to the importance of international teamwork, Sanders said, "Our collaboration at sea makes us infinitely stronger in the fight against piracy ... Global maritime partnerships are at work each and everyday in the Gulf of Aden."

Miranda assumed command Jan. 20 of the deployed staff, which is made up of coalition personnel from a wide variety of nations. During the ceremony, Miranda took the opportunity to thank Sanders for his leadership, mentorship and friendship over the preceding months.

"It is a great honor and privilege for me to be given command of CTF 151," said Miranda. "I will build on the fine work of my predecessors, Rear Admirals McKnight, Howard, Bener and Sanders. I will engage our partners, especially the European Union and NATO, in order to make the seas safer."

CTF 151 is a multinational task force established in January 2009 to conduct counter-piracy operations under a mission based mandate to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations. CTF 151 operates in the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia.

CTF 151 has had a significant effect disrupting pirates in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin. Although the number of piracy attempts has increased in the past year, the number of successful attacks has been reduced by 40 percent during the same time period.

"While the main focus of my command remains the mission to deter and disrupt piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin, I will also put emphasis on the readiness and optimization of all assets and the well being of all people involved in the day to day tasks in this mission," said Miranda. "My team and I look forward to being part of the Combined Maritime Forces Headquarters and the USS Farragut."

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.



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