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U.S. assumes command of anti-piracy task force

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 13, 2009

The U.S. Navy will assume command Thursday of Combined Task Force 151, the international group conducting counter-piracy operations off the eastern coast of Somalia.

The U.S. replaces Turkey, which has led the task force for the past several months. CTF 151, formed in January, rotates its command between eligible nations roughly every three months.

"It’s a phased responsibility for the coalition partners," said Lt. Cmdr. Corey Barker, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet.

In the weeks ahead, Navy officials are warning of a possible rise in pirate attacks in the Somali Basin and Gulf of Aden as monsoon season draws to a close.

Monsoon season swells, reaching 10 to 15 feet during the summer months, mean fewer pirate attacks on merchant vessels moving through the area. The storm season, which makes waters difficult for the pirates to navigate, generally runs from May to mid-August.

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Scott Sanders will replace Turkish navy Rear Adm. Caner Bener as the task force’s commander during a ceremony aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio at Mina Salman Pier, Bahrain.


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