The New Zealand Defence Force will continue its efforts to support anti-piracy patrols in the Sea of Oman, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean with surface and airborne assets arriving this year and in 2014, according to a statement by the New Zealand Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman.
Trade between New Zealand and the Middle East and North Africa region was valued at more than US$7bn (RO2.7bn) in 2012, accounting to 7.5 per cent of the country‚Äôs global trade, said Coleman.
As the threat of piracy in regional waters continues the country has ‚Äòa direct interest‚Äô in supporting task forces to protect shipping lanes, he added.
‚ÄúLater this year the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana will join the multinational Combined Maritime Force (CMF), the multinational task group designed to combat piracy in the region,‚Äù said Coleman.
‚ÄúThe frigate will be part of the maritime security task force 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 also deploy with CMF for three months from mid-2014.‚Äù
The New Zealand Defence Force has been part of CMF operations in the recent past.
One Royal New Zealand Navy frigate was part of the maritime security operation in 2008 and a number of staff officers have been attached or seconded to work with coalition forces.
‚ÄúWe will also provide staff officers for the CMF task force 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 task force from 2014. Three Navy personnel will also deploy with the Australian frigate HMAS Melbourne,‚Äù said Coleman.