Operation ARTEMIS

Operation ARTEMIS is Canada’s contribution to Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a United States-led naval coalition of 44 member nations based in Manama, Bahrain. CMF is a multinational effort that provides maritime security in the Western Indian Ocean in support of the rules-based international order (RBIO).

Operation ARTEMIS supports security, stability, and prosperity in a vast region that spans over 3.2 million square nautical miles of international waters. This area hosts some of the world’s busiest and most vital shipping lanes, connecting trade in the Far East to Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. The CMF’s mission is to promote a safe maritime environment by encouraging regional cooperation to disrupt criminal and terrorist activities such as piracy and the illegal trade of narcotics, weapons, and embargoed goods.

CMF is comprised of five distinct Combined Task Forces:

  • CTF 150 (maritime security and counterterrorism in the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, and Western Indian Ocean)
  • CTF 151 (counter-piracy in the same AOR as CTF 150)
  • CTF 152 (maritime security in the Arabian Gulf)
  • CTF 153 (maritime security in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden)
  • CTF 154 (multinational maritime training at locations across the Middle East)

Update

On 17 January 2024, Captain (Navy) Colin Matthews of the Royal Canadian Navy assumed command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) during a change of command ceremony in Bahrain.

Canada is currently contributing approximately 25 CAF personnel and two civilians to CMF task forces, including holding the deputy commander position of CTF 154, which leads multinational training across partner nations. This also includes the contribution of staff officers to Op Prosperity Guardian, the new security initiative launched in December of 2023 under CTF 153, addressing the maritime security challenges in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

How many people are deployed?

Operation ARTEMIS involves periodic deployments, in which the number of participating CAF members varies depending on our role within CMF, and whether a CP-140 Aurora or Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) frigate is deployed.

What are they doing?

CAF members deployed on Operation ARTEMIS work with international partners to ensure the safety and security of CMF’s Areas of Responsibility (AOR) in the Western Indian Ocean. Specific activities vary from year to year, but may include:

  • Command positions within CMF, deploying senior leaders and support staff to its headquarters in Bahrain to direct combined task force missions;
  • Staff officer positions supporting CMF task force commanders in Bahrain;
  • Deployment of a RCN ship to help patrol waters in the CMF AOR and prevent illegal activities that support terrorism and criminal operations; and
  • Deployment of a CP-140 Aurora Maritime Patrol Aircraft to provide surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

History and context of the operation

Prior to the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, Task Force 150 was a United States Navy formation under U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (USNAVCENT) operating in the North Arabian and Red Seas. After the attacks, it was re-established as a multinational Combined Task Force to combat terrorist activity at sea as part of the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom. Command of the first CTF 150 was transferred from the U.S. to Germany in May 2002.

Since then, the coalition has expanded to include 44 member nations and its mandate evolved beyond counterterrorism to address wider maritime security threats from non-state actors.

Operation ARTEMIS provides support to multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) related to arms embargoes and charcoal bans on Somalia, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorism and crime, and the arms embargo on Yemen, all while enhancing regional security.

Canadian Armed Forces support for CMF and combined task forces  

The CAF’s support for CMF and the combined task forces demonstrates Canada’s leadership and dedication to the RBIO by working with allies and partners to promote peace and stability in the region.

Partnering with coalition members provides an opportunity for the CAF to participate in multinational operations that allow Canada to remain engaged in and aware of regional efforts and challenges.

Canada has a responsibility to its citizens and allies to help safeguard the high seas. This is why the CAF assists in the protection of continental and international waters, to ensure that the legitimate maritime trade that Canada and the world depend on for their respective economies can proceed without the threat of terrorist and criminal activities.

Past deployments on Operation ARTEMIS

Canada is a long-time contributor to CTF 150 and the CMF. It has regularly deployed His Majesty’s Canadian Ships and personnel to operate with CTF 150 and with CTF 150’s predecessor, Task Force 150, since Operation APOLLO in 2001.

Under Operation APOLLO, Canada deployed 14 Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ships to the region between 2001 and 2003. Under the succeeding Operation ALTAIR, Canada deployed seven RCN vessels to the region from 2004 to 2008.

Operation ARTEMIS (HMCS Ships and Task Force Arabian Sea):

  • HMCS Charlottetown deployed from 3 May to 24 August 2012;
  • HMCS Regina deployed  from 19 August 2012 to 28 January 2013;
  • HMCS Toronto deployed from 3 February 2013 to 3 Feb 2014;
  • HMCS Regina deployed from 6 January 2014 to 30 April 2014, until her reassignment on Operation REASSURANCE;
  • Canada led CTF 150 from 8 December 2016 to 13 April 2017;
  • Canada led CTF 150 from 6 December 2018 to 28 April 2019;
  • Canada led CTF 150 from 27 January 2021 to 15 July 2021, and HMCS Calgary deployed from April to June.

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