Operation SAIPH

From 25 October 2009 to 31 May 2012, Operation SAIPH was Canadas periodic participation in the international campaign to enhance maritime security in the North Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the waters around the Horn of Africa.

Operation SAIPH had five areas of mission focus:

  • counter-piracy efforts under Operation OCEAN SHIELD, a continuing mission directed from the NATO Maritime Component Command Headquarters in Northwood, England;
  • counter-terrorism operations as part of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), a combatant flotilla of Combined Maritime Forces headquartered in Bahrain;
  • military-to-military engagements with the nations of the region;
  • building and improving strategic relationships in the region; and
  • helping the nations of the region develop their military capabilities.

Task forces deployed on Operation SAIPH

Task Force Saiph

Commanding Officer: Commander Steven Waddell

From 25 October 2009 to 8 April 2010, the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Fredericton was deployed as Task Force Saiph to carry out a two-part assignment: counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa with SNMG 1 from 21 November 2009 to 18 February 2010, and counter-terrorism operations in the North Arabian Sea with CTF-150 from 19 February 2010 to 8 April 2010.

Task Force Northwood

  • Rotation 0: 19 July 201020 January 2011
  • Rotation 1: 15 January 201122 August 2011
  • Rotation 2: 20 July 201130 January 2012
  • Rotation 3: 25 February 201231 May 2012

Task Force Northwood is a team of specialists in Naval Co-operation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) in Northwood, England, to work at the NATO Shipping Centre, part of the Allied Maritime Component Command Headquarters Northwood. Originally deployed on Operation SAIPH, it was reassigned to Operation ARTEMIS on 31 May 2012.

While deployed on Operation SAIPH, Task Force Northwood was engaged in the multinational effort to ensure the safe passage of merchant shipping through the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and waters off the Horn of Africa. These efforts included:

  • liaison between NATO, the European Union and multinational naval forces and the international shipping industry;
  • maintenance of a current plot of merchant shipping in the region;
  • provision of guidance and advice to the merchant shipping community;
  • responsiveness to piracy incidents as they occur; and
  • education directed to the merchant shipping industry to promote best management practices that deter piracy.

The mission

Counter-piracy operations

Canadas involvement in counter-piracy operations began on 6 August 2008 with a humanitarian task. HMCS Ville de Qubec was diverted from a deployment on Operation SEXTANT with Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) to Mombasa, Kenya, at the request of the World Food Programme to escort cargo vessels loaded with food aid from Mombasa to Mogadishu, Somalia, through waters notorious for pirate attacks. By 23 October 2009, when Ville de Qubec completed her mission, the frigate had escorted 10 ships and ensured delivery of about 36,200 tonnes of food enough to feed 400,000 people for six months.

In 2009, NATO joined the growing international effort to defend merchant shipping, deploying SNMG1, which previously operated in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, to one of the worlds most-travelled sea lanes: the shipping route through the Gulf of Aden and around the Horn of Africa. On 2 April 2009, HMCS Winnipeg deployed with SNMG1 under Operation SEXTANT to begin 10 weeks of successful operations in the counter-piracy role. That commitment continued into 2012 with Operation SAIPH.

Counter-terrorism operations

Canadas first long-term response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 was Operation APOLLO, which began in October 2001 with the deployment of a three-ship naval task group to the coalition fleet conducting counter-terrorism operations in the North Arabian Sea. Operation APOLLO ended in 2003, giving way to Operation ALTAIR, in which Canadian ships were integrated into CTF-150 from 2004 until 2009.

In 2008, piracy emerged as a threat that required military intervention in the Arabian Sea and the waters off the east coast of Africa. This important new international mission led to the closure of Operation ALTAIR and the launch of Operation SAIPH to permit HMCS Fredericton to divide her 2009 2010 deployment between counter-piracy and counter-terrorism tasks.

Canadas contribution to counter-terrorism operations with CTF-150 in the Arabian Sea continue with Task Force Charlottetown and Operation ARTEMIS. HMCS Charlottetown joined CTF-150 in the Arabian Sea on 3 May 2012 after four months of successful operations with SNMG1 in the Mediterranean Sea while deployed on Operation METRIC.

Canada is also a periodic contributor to Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR, the NATO counter-terrorism effort in the Mediterranean Sea. Under Operation SIRIUS (2004 2011), Canadian warships and CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft conducted maritime interdiction patrols under NATO command. The commitment to Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR continues with Operation METRIC, in which Canadian warships join the international effort to enhance security in the eastern Mediterranean region, specifically the Middle East and North Africa. Canadas most recent deployment on Operation METRIC was HMCS Charlottetown from 8 January to 29 April 2012.

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