Defence Minister, Dr Jonathan Coleman, says the New Zealand Defence Force will conduct a series of deployments to assist the international anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.
“Later this year the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana will join the Combined Maritime Force (CMF), which is the multinational task group designed to combat piracy in the region,” said Dr Coleman.
“The frigate will be part of the maritime security taskforce for three months from November this year, after having a work-up period in Australia.”
“A New Zealand Defence Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft will deploy with the CMF for three months from mid-2014.”
“We will also provide staff officers for the CMF taskforce command for two periods of three months each, one in 2013 and 2014. Six officers will be attached from mid-2013, and up to 14 staff officers will command a taskforce from 2014. Three Navy personnel will also deploy with the Australian frigate HMAS Melbourne,” said Dr Coleman.
“Piracy in the Gulf of Aden/Indian Ocean region affects all countries with shipping trade going through the Suez Canal. New Zealand has a direct interest in supporting the maritime security taskforce and protecting shipping lanes, with a large volume of our trade carried by shipping.”
“New Zealand trade with the Middle East and North Africa is valued at more than $7 billion in the year to June 2012, representing 7.5 per cent of our total global trade.”
“The deployment also provides a valuable opportunity for the New Zealand Defence Force to test its interoperability with its partners,” he said.
The CMF is a multinational task group and naval partnership of 27 nations. It operates across over 2.5 million square miles of international waters and includes the main shipping routes from the Far East to Europe and the United States.
The Defence Force has deployed to the CMF in the past. A NZ frigate was part of the maritime security operation in 2008 and a number of staff officers have been sent.
Earlier in 2010, RNZN Captain Jim Gilmour, commanded the counter-piracy task force CTF 151. Last year, Captain Lance Cook was the deputy commander of the Australian led CTF 150 command team, and three Navy personnel served on HMAS Melbourne.
Press Release, May 17, 2013