The Egyptian Navy has assumed leadership of the recently established multinational Combined Task Force 153 (CTF-153) in the Red Sea.
The US Navy officially handed over the command to Egypt during a ceremony held in Bahrain on 12 December.
U.S. Navy Capt. Robert Francis, who stood up Combined Task Force (CTF) 153 in April, handed command to Egyptian Navy Rear Adm. Mahmoud Abdelsattar.
This marks the first time the Egyptian Navy has assumed command of a Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) operational staff since joining the maritime security coalition in 2021 as its 34th member.
CTF-153 which is one of four task forces was officially stood up by the CMF in April 2022 to combat maritime security threats, such as smuggling and other illicit activities, and provide capacity building in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandab, and the Gulf of Aden.
Every 24 hours around 50 large merchant ships pass through the BAM – as it’s known by many seafarers: tankers, gas carriers, container ships, car carriers.
CTF 153 first patrol was carried out by command ship USS Mount Whitney was periodically joined by Egyptian frigate ENS Alexandria, autonomous US systems, a P8-A maritime patrol aircraft, Montrose, Lyme Bay, guided-missile destroyers USS Gonzalez and USS Fitzgerald, as well as fast transport ship USNS Choctaw County.
CMF’s other task forces include CTF 150, focused on maritime security in the Gulf of Oman, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden; CTF 151, which leads regional counter-piracy efforts; and CTF 152, dedicated to maritime security in the Arabian Gulf.
“It is my honor to serve as commander of Combined Task force 153,” said Mahmoud. “The focus of my efforts will be to work closely together with regional countries, partners, and participating nations to maintain maritime security and stability in the region.”