The Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) officially took command of Combined Task Force 152 from the Royal Bahrain Naval Force and assumed control of the Coalition Task Force Sentinel from the British Royal Navy.
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), this took place in an official ceremony held on Sunday at the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet’s Naval Support Base in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The handover ceremony was attended by the Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Rear Admiral Fahad bin Abdullah Al-Ghufaily, the Commander of the US Naval Forces Central Command and US Fifth Fleet, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, the Commander of the Royal Bahraini Navy, Rear Admiral Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, as well as a number of ambassadors and diplomats in Manama.
Vice Admiral Cooper emphasized in his speech the importance of the role played by Mixed Task Force 152 in securing maritime navigation and promoting peace in the region.
Cooper praised the efficiency and professionalism of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces and their accomplishments in various joint international operations.
Captain Fahad bin Mar’i Al-Omari of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces officially assumed command of Mixed Task Force 152 from Captain Mohammed Al-Meer of the Royal Bahraini Navy. He subsequently affirmed the “full readiness of the naval forces to carry out their duties in leading the force.”
Similarly, Commodore Saleh bin Awad Al-Oufi of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces took command of the “Guardian” Force from Commodore Peter Louden of the British Royal Navy.
Al-Oufi stated that “the responsibility of leading the force by the Saudi Naval Forces stems from their pivotal role and close cooperation with the naval forces of the participating countries in monitoring maritime trade routes in the region, providing protection for commercial ships.”
Established in 2004, Mixed Task Force 152 is one of the five duty forces operating within the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain. The other forces are Duty Force 150, Duty Force 151, Duty Force 153, and Training Force 154.
Mixed Task Force 152 enhances “regional maritime cooperation, especially among the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, supports maritime security in the Arabian Gulf, protects infrastructure in international waters, and combats illegal activities and terrorist threats,” according to SPA.
The tasks of the “Guardian” Force include “monitoring commercial maritime trade routes in the region, providing protection for commercial ships flying the flags of participating countries, and deterring states that sponsor activities that may threaten maritime security.”