The deployment of a New Zealand navy frigate in the US-led anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden had improved relationships and interoperability with NATO and forces from other nations, New Zealand Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said Wednesday.
New Zealand had a direct interest in protecting international shipping lanes with a large volume of its trade carried by sea, Coleman said in a statement on the return of HMNZS Te Mana after a three-month deployment in the Gulf of Aden.
“The deployment of HMNZS Te Mana was a valuable opportunity for the Royal New Zealand Navy to work with the US-led Combined Maritime Forces and with NATO,” said Coleman.
“HMNZS Te Mana built strong relationships and enhanced interoperability with a range of international partners, including Spain, Denmark, Japan, the US and Australia.”
The vessel’s crew had conducted 94 boardings to check for evidence of piracy and the ship’s helicopter had flown 81 sorties gathering aerial imagery of the maritime environment.