CAIRO: The Egyptian Navy on Dec. 12 took command of Combined Task Force 153 from the US Navy during a ceremony in Bahrain where multinational staff are headquartered.
US Navy Capt. Robert Francis, who led CTF 153 since April, handed command to Egyptian Navy Rear Adm. Mahmoud Abdelsattar.
The transition marks the first time Egypt assumes command of Combined Maritime Forces operational staff since joining the 34-member-country naval partnership in 2021.
CTF 153 is one of four CMF task forces. It was established on April 17 to enhance international maritime security and capacity-building efforts in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandeb and Gulf of Aden.
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. 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,” said Abdelsattar.
The rear admiral’s 27 years of military experience began following graduation from the Egyptian Naval Academy in 1995. He has extensive experience in submarine operations and most recently served as chief of staff of a naval base in Alexandria, Egypt.
Francis said: “I am incredibly proud of our efforts since launching this new task force only eight months ago. It is a true honor to hand over command to an incredibly strong regional maritime partner like Egypt. I know the task force will continue to execute as one dynamic team and I will always be celebrating their accomplishments from afar.”
The Egyptian Navy said that the handover came within the framework of efforts by the armed forces, in cooperation with the US and friendly countries, to confront threats and challenges targeting the security of the region.
Military pokesman Gharib Abdel-Hafiz said that Egypt “assumes command of the force based on its pivotal role and close cooperation with the naval forces of the participating countries, to assume our common responsibilities toward improving the security environment, providing safe passage for the movement of ships through international sea lanes, and confronting all forms of organized crime that negatively affect global trade and the interests of partner countries.”