Operation ARTEMIS

Operation ARTEMIS is the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) mission to help stop terrorism and to make Middle Eastern waters more secure.  These include the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean.

Canada is committed to peace and security in Middle Eastern waters. The CAF works with its allies and partners to help stop crime in this region. 

Mission context

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)

CMF is a naval partnership of 30 nations. It was formed in 2002. It works to make the international waters of the Middle East more secure and stable.  It runs and leads missions to stop terrorism at sea. Some of the world’s busiest and most important shipping lanes are in these waters. As a result, CMF also works to stop piracy.

CMF’s headquarters are in Bahrain. The U.S. Navy vice-admiral commands it. He/she is also the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central (NAVCENT) and the United States Fifth Fleet.  Its deputy commander is a British Royal Navy commodore.  CAF staff and liaison officers serve at the headquarters under Operation FOUNDATION.

NAVCENT and the United States Fifth Fleet also have headquarters in Bahrain.

Combined Task Force 150

Combined Maritime Forces is made up of three operational headquarters. They are called combined task forces (CTF):

  • CTF 150, in charge of security and working to stop terrorism;
  • CTF 151, in charge of working to stop piracy; and
  • CTF 152, in charge of making the Persian Gulf more secure and working with partners in that region.

CTF 150 works with partners in the region and elsewhere. It works to discourage and stop terrorist groups from using the high seas for smuggling weapons, unlawful cargo, and drugs to fund their illegal activities. It also ensures the safe passage of merchant ships.

Canadian involvement in CTF 150

Canada has been a part of CTF 150 for a long time. The CAF has sent ships and military members to work in the area since Operation ALTAIR began in 2004.

From 2004 to 2008, seven Royal Canadian Navy ships served with CTF 150 on Operation ALTAIR:

  • Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Toronto patrolled with the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group from January to July 2004;
  • HMCS Winnipeg was sent from April to October 2005; 
  • HMCS Ottawa worked with the USS Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group from September 2006 to March 2007;
  • HMCS Charlottetown worked with the USS Harry S Truman Carrier Strike Group from November 2007 to April 2008; 
  • HMCS Iroquois was the CTF 150 flag ship from June 3 to September 15, 2008. It was part of Task Force Arabian Sea alongside HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Calgary from April to October 2008; and 
  • HMCS Fredericton served with CTF 150 while on Operation SAIPH from October 25, 2009 to April 8, 2010.

Before that Operation ALTAIR, the CAF worked in the region as Task Force 150. This was part of Operation APOLLO, and took place from 2001 to 2003.

Past deployments on Operation ARTEMIS

Task Force Arabian Sea

Task Force Arabian Sea

Task Force Arabian Sea (TFAS) is the CAF support to CTF 150. It is based in Manama, Bahrain and conducts its work from land.

The first TFAS led CTF 150 from December 2014 to April 2015. This was the second time that Canada had a leadership role in Combined Maritime Forces. It was made up of 24 military members and civilians from DND and the CAF. There were also seven members from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).  

From December 2015 to April 2016, seven CAF members supported the Australian Defence Force, which commanded CTF 150.

From April to August 2016, five CAF members supported the British Royal Navy, which commanded CTF 150.

From December 2016 to April 2017, twenty-eight CAF members and two civilians from the Department of National Defence (DND) led CTF 150. The team was based in Bahrain. Commodore Haydn Edmundson of the Royal Canadian Navy was in command.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has also sent eight naval officers to lead CTF 150 with Canada. Captain Paul Scott of the RAN was the Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff.

In December 2016, the CAF began using the Unclassified Remote-sensing Situational Awareness (URSA) system for Operation ARTEMIS.  URSA is satellite based. It can be used to detect ships. It looks at the earth from space and provides a detailed picture to navy commanders. The CAF shared this information with Combined Maritime Forces and the United States Naval Command Central as part of CTF 150.

CAF members on Operation ARTEMIS were sent to eastern Africa and island nations in the Indian Ocean. They went as part of Exercise CUTLASS EXPRESS (CE) 17.  CE 17 took place in four areas. CTF 150 led this exercise for the Combined Maritime Forces. The goal was to help east African and nearby island nations develop long-term methods to stop terrorism.

In March 2017, Canadian-led, Australian-supported CTF 150 conducted three drug seizures in the Arabian Sea. Australian and American ships deployed on CTF 150 carried out the seizures. Australian ship HMAS Arunta seized more than 800 kg of hashish on March 2. United States Ship USS Laboon seized 270 kg of heroin on March 13.  It also seized 500 kg of hashish on March 17.

HMCS Regina

HMCS Regina

HMCS Regina began working under CTF 150 in the Arabian Sea region on February 15, 2014. In May 2014, the ship left the Arabian Sea to join NATO Standing Maritime Forces in the Mediterranean Sea. There it supported NATO reassurance measures in Europe.

HMCS Toronto

HMCS Toronto

HMCS Toronto joined CTF 150 in the Arabian Sea region on February 3, 2013. It had a crew of about 250 personnel. This included teams to support a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and a shipboard unmanned aerial vehicle.

In total, the ship successfully intercepted and destroyed nine drug shipments. These totaled about 8.5 metric tonnes. HMCS Toronto completed its work on Operation ARTEMIS on February 6, 2014.

Task Force Northwood

Task Force Northwood

Task Force Northwood was a team of three Royal Canadian Navy sailors sent to the United Kingdom. They served at the NATO Shipping Centre, part of the Maritime Component Command Headquarters in Northwood, England. The team started as a part of Operation SAIPH from 2009 to 2012. It began working under Operation ARTEMIS on May 31, 2012. It worked with other nations to ensure merchant ships could pass safely through the waters off the Horn of Africa, in the Gulf of Aden, and in the Indian Ocean. Task Force Northwood completed its work on Operation ARTEMIS in September 2013.

HMCS Regina

HMCS Regina

HMCS Regina joined CTF 150 in the Arabian Sea on August 19, 2012. It had a crew of about 250 personnel. This included teams to support a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and a shipboard unmanned aerial vehicle. It completed its work under Operation ARTEMIS on January 28, 2013.

HMCS Charlottetown

HMCS Charlottetown

HMCS Charlottetown was the first ship sent on Operation ARTEMIS. It joined CTF 150 in the Arabian Sea. It completed its work on Operation ARTEMIS on August 24, 2012.

External links

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