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Operation ARTEMIS is the Canadian Armed Forces’ participation in counterterrorism and maritime security operations across the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean.
Operation ARTEMIS clearly demonstrates Canada’s solidarity with partners and allies that are working together for peace and security in the maritime environment of the greater Middle East region.
Task Force Arabian Sea (TFAS) is deployed to Manama, Bahrain, to lead Combined Maritime Forces’ Combined Task Force 150 from December 2014 to April 2015. This is the second time that Canada is selected to assume a leadership role in Combined Maritime Forces.
TFAS is composed of 24 CAF military and Department of National Defence (DND) civilian personnel as well as seven members from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). They are all integrated in a single functional headquarter.
The Task Force Commander is Commodore Brian Santarpia of the Royal Canadian Navy. His Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff is Captain Nicholas Stoker of the RAN.
Canada is one of 30 nations that contribute naval assets to Combined Maritime Forces, the naval coalition that promotes security and stability in the international waters of the Middle East region. This area comprises some of the world’s busiest and most important shipping lanes.
Combined Maritime Forces was formed in February 2002 as the coalition headquarters responsible for coordinating and leading naval participation in the international campaign against terrorism. Over the years, its mandate expanded to include counter-piracy operations as part of international efforts to ensure security in the maritime environment of the greater Middle East.
Combined Maritime Forces has its headquarters in Bahrain. It is commanded by the U.S. Navy vice-admiral who is also the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central (NAVCENT) and the United States Fifth Fleet, both also headquartered in Bahrain. Its deputy commander is a British commodore from the Royal Navy. Canadian Forces staff and liaison officers serve at Combined Maritime Forces Headquarters under Operation FOUNDATION.
Combined Maritime Forces comprises three operational headquarters, called combined task forces:
Through maritime security operations, regional cooperation and capacity building, CTF-150 works to deter and deny terrorist organisations from using the high seas for smuggling weapons, illicit cargo and narcotics to fund their illegal activities, while ensuring the safe passage of merchant ships.
The activities of CTF-150 directly influence events ashore, denying terrorists the use of the seas as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other illicit material.
Canada is a long time contributor to CTF-150. It has regularly deployed ships and personnel to operate with CTF-150 since the beginning of Operation ALTAIR in 2004 and with CTF-150’s predecessor, Task Force 150, from 2001 to 2003 as part of Operation APOLLO.
From 2004 to 2008, seven Royal Canadian Navy ships served with CTF-150 while deployed on Operation ALTAIR:
HMCS Regina left her home port of Esquimalt, British Columbia on 6 January 2014 and assumed duties in the Arabian sea region on 15 February 2014. On 30 April 2014, HMCS Regina was committed to support NATO reassurance measures in Europe. In early-May 2014, the ship left the Arabian Sea to join NATO Standing Maritime Forces in the Mediterranean Sea.
After a month-long rest and maintenance period, the entire ship’s company was replaced in July 2013 with a second crew – a rare feat for the Royal Canadian Navy. In total, HMCS Toronto I and II steamed approximately 80,000 nautical miles and conducted over 60 boardings. Her CH-124 Sea King helicopter logged more than 700 flying hours, and the unmanned aerial vehicle detachment logged more than 1,200 operational hours. successfully intercepted and destroyed nine narcotics shipments, totalling approximately 8.5 metric tonnes. HMCS Toronto left the Op ARTEMIS Joint Operations Area (JOA) on 6 February 2014.
The Halifax-based patrol frigate HMCS Toronto was deployed on Operation ARTEMIS to serve with CTF-150. She departed her home port of Halifax, Nova Scotia on 14 January 2013. She assumed duties with CTF-150 in the Arabian Sea region on 3 February 2013. HMCS Toronto had a crew of about 250 personnel, which included a CH-124 Sea King helicopter air detachment and a shipboard unmanned aerial vehicle detachment. The crew of HMCS Toronto successfully completed their deployment on 28 July 2013. They were replaced by the crew of HMCS St.John’s in a crew swap in theatre.
Task Force Northwood was a team of three Royal Canadian Navy personnel deployed in the United Kingdom at the NATO Shipping Centre, part of the Maritime Component Command Headquarters in Northwood, England. Originally deployed between 2009 and 2012 on Operation SAIPH, Task Force Northwood joined as a component of Operation ARTEMIS on 31 May 2012. She was engaged in the multinational effort to ensure the safe passage of merchant shipping through the waters off the Horn of Africa, in the Gulf of Aden and in the Indian Ocean. Task Force Northwood ceased operations in September 2013.
The Halifax-class frigate HMCS Regina was deployed on Operation ARTEMIS to serve with CTF-150. She departed her home port of Esquimalt, British Columbia on 3 July 2012 to begin the long transit to the operational area by way of the Pacific Ocean, and joined CTF-150 in the Arabian Sea on 19 August 2012. HMCS Regina has a crew of about 250 personnel, including an embarked air detachment with a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and a shipboard unmanned aerial vehicle detachment. HMCS Regina departed the Op ARTEMIS JOA on 28 January 2013.
The Halifax-class frigate HMCS Charlottetown was the first ship deployed on Operation ARTEMIS. She departed her home port of Halifax, Nova Scotia on 8 January 2012 to begin a six-month deployment on Operation METRIC, and joined Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 in the Mediterranean Sea on 25 January 2012 to take part in Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR. HMCS Charlottetown transferred from Op METRIC to Op ARTEMIS on 1 May 2012. HMCS Charlottetown sailed from the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal and joined CTF-150 in the Arabian Sea. HMCS Charlottetown departed the JOA on 24 August 2012.