Captain Lance Cook
Royal New Zealand Navy Officer, Captain Lance Cook has taken up the role of Deputy Commander of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), a maritime counter-terrorism task force operating in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.
Captain Cook will support Commander CTF 150, Commodore Jonathan Mead from Australia, to lead the multi-national task force for four months. The command team will be based in Bahrain at the Combined Maritime Forces naval facility from where it will direct the operations of the task force’s ships and aircraft.
CTF 150’s mission is to deter, disrupt and defeat attempts by international terrorist organisations to use the sea as a venue for an attack or as a means to transport personnel, weapons and other illicit material. The area of operations encompasses over two million square miles and includes the main shipping routes from the Far East to Europe and the United States.
The deployment is a good opportunity for the NZ Defence Force to further develop its strong ties and inter-operability with our Australian counterparts, says Captain Cook.
“We work closely with the Royal Australian Navy on a regular basis and this is a key opportunity for the Royal New Zealand Navy to enhance our working relationship.
“The aim of CTF 150 is to ensure commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting this vast region which per year sees over 23,000 shipping movements and the passage of over one third of the world’s oil.
“The deployment demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to protecting vital international shipping routes, ensuring security and stability in the international maritime environment.
“Our team is very much looking forward to the challenge of this very important mission,” said Captain Cook.
CTF 150 is one of three task forces operated by the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 25-nation coalition.
A second Royal New Zealand Navy officer will be embedded in the CTF 150 command team in Bahrain.
New Zealand has also committed a three-person boat crew which will join the Australian frigate HMAS MELBOURNE early next year for a six-month deployment.
Earlier this year, Royal New Zealand Navy officer, Captain Jim Gilmour commanded the counter-piracy task force CTF 151.
For further information contact Kirsty Taylor-Doig, Defence Communications Group, 021 806 926.