DPM Teo visits SAF task group in Gulf of Aden - Operation Blue Sapphire II On 31 Aug 2010, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean visited the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) task group deployed in the Gulf of Aden for international counter-piracy operations at sea (See Navy News for more details of Operation Blue Sapphire). He was accompanied by Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Chew Men Leong and other senior SAF officers. During the visit on board the Republic of Singapore Navy's Landing Ship Tank (LST) RSS Endurance, Mr Teo was briefed on the task group's operations and observed a drill by the task group when activated to respond to a pirate attack on a merchant vessel. Mr Teo also interacted with the men and women of the SAF task group, who shared with him their operational experiences during their two months of deployment. Speaking to the media after his visit, Mr Teo emphasised the important role that the SAF is playing as part of the multinational effort to safeguard shipping in the Gulf of Aden. Mr Teo said, "Our guys are out here contributing to an international mission, they are 3,000 miles away from home, it looks like it is far away but it actually has a direct relevance to our security in Singapore." The 221-strong SAF task group, consisting of personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force, was deployed in June this year, and operates under the ambit of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, a multinational task force established in 2009 to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. Comprising an LST with two Super Puma helicopters on board, the SAF task group has been conducting daily helicopter surveillance flights and sector patrols to deter and disrupt piracy activities. The SAF first deployed a task group, consisting of LST RSS Persistence with two Super Puma helicopters on board, to the Gulf of Aden from April to July last year. The SAF was also in command of CTF 151 from January to April this year. Following this visit, Mr Teo will visit the Sultanate of Oman where he will call on His Highness Sayyid Fahd Bin Mahmoud Al-Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, His Excellency Sayyid Badr Bin Saud Al-Busaidi, Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs and other Omani Ministers.