Combined Task Force 150 and Operation OCEAN SHIELD

Recommended Citation

Richard Tanter, "Combined Task Force 150 and Operation OCEAN SHIELD", Australian Forces Abroad Australia in Iraq, April 15, 2015,


Australia has deployed Navy ships to US-led task groups in the Middle East since the Gulf War in 1990, principally in the western Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, and the Gulf of Aden. In addition, ADF personnel have been deployed to various multinational command and logistics facilities in the region.

As of 2015, these activities are organised as part of Operation MANITOU, and in march 2015 included the deployment of the oil replenishment ship HMAS Success to the 30 nation Combined Maritime Force (CMF), based at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. Within the CMF, RAN ships (HMAS Success 2014.11 – 2015.5) and command and logistics personnel  have been deployed to Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), with a goal “to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy, encourage regional cooperation, and promote a safe maritime environment.

CTF’s Area of Operation covers 2 million spare miles:

“This area is a vital artery of world trade that includes the main shipping routes from the Far East to Europe and the US with over 23,000 shipping movements per year. Over one third of the world’s oil passes through the Area of Operation (AOR) each year. In addition the AOR contains three narrow waterways, know as ‘choke points’, where vessels are required to pass closely between two shorelines. This means they have limited maneuverability and are more vulnerable than would otherwise be the case in open water.”

Within CTF-150, Success is assigned to the logistics group Task Force 53 (TF 53), but also operates with CTF-150 in counter-terrorism operations:

“Throughout her patrols, Success has been using her boarding team and helicopter to contribute intelligence and information to the recognised maritime picture.”

According to the RAN in January 2015, CTF-150’s aim is to

“deter and deny terrorist organisations from using the maritime domain to fund their activities through the smuggling of weapons, illicit cargo and narcotics while ensuring the safe passage of merchant ships in some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.”

HMAS Success

HMAS Success
Source: Australian Ship Joins NATO Counter-Piracy Mission,
Maritime Security Review, 24 March 2015

CTF-150 Area of Operation

CTF-150 Area of Operation
Source: Combined Task Force 150, Wikipedia

The RAN CTF-150 contingent, including HMAS Success,  collaborates with the Australian Federal Police in “defeating maritime terrorism”.

“We share common objectives in promoting legitimate use of the seas in the Middle East Region,” he [Captain Nicholas Stoker] said. “Working in partnership can benefit both of our organisations and ensure that waterways in the region stay safe and secure for international trade to thrive.”

In March 2015, HMAS Success also joined the NATO-auspiced Operation OCEAN SHIELD.

RAN rotations to Middle Eastern Region (2014 – )

HMAS Success

HMAS Success, the 59th ship to be deployed to the region since 1990, is an 18,000 tonne, 157 meter long Auxiliary Oil Replenishment (AOR) ship, with a range of 8,600 nautical miles.

“She is capable of day and night Replenishment at Sea (RAS) to ships alongside and concurrently by her embarked helicopter to other ships in company via Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP). Four main RAS stations are fitted, two of which have dual functions and can be used to transfer either fuel or solid cargo. RAS operations are controlled from the Cargo Control Room amidships. During solid cargo transfer a traveller riding on a tension highline between Success (II) and a fixed point in the receiving ship supports the load.”

Commanders, Australian Contingent, CTF-150


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