1 December 2014
Commodore (CDRE) Tony Millar has handed command of the Combined Maritime Force's Counter-Piracy Task Force 151 (CTF151) to the Royal Thai Navy, and returned home to New Zealand.
CTF151's mission is to disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea, protecting global maritime commerce and freedom of navigation. CDRE Millar took up command in Bahrain in August 2014.
CTF151 is a multi-national force and CDRE Millar, with his staff of 13 New Zealand Defence Force personnel, had 12 ships and three maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft from seven different Navies under his command.
The Kiwi tenure has been a success, he says.
"Due to the co-operation of Combined Maritime Force, NATO, the European Union and other nations operating independently, no successful pirate attacks occurred during our time, although there were dozens of reports concerning suspicious or aggressive behaviour. These could easily have turned into attacks if the counter-piracy forces were not 'on the beat' and immediately ready to respond.
"There is also a significant humanitarian aspect to our mission. There are still 30 hostages being held in illegal captivity by pirate gangs, a figure that has gradually reduced from over 700 just a few years ago. Also, late last month my New Zealand staff co-ordinated a search and rescue operation to find the crew of a sunken merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden.
"After more than 30 hours of searching we were relieved to hear that the stricken mariners had been found and brought to safety. It is great when we are able to use our training in such a positive way.”
Commodore Millar is now available for interview. To speak with him, please call the Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980