Following a formal exchange of letters signed Tuesday (21 January 2014) between NATO and the New Zealand Government, the the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS TE MANA is set to join the Alliance‚Äôs Operation Ocean Shield on 23 January, marking the second time a partner nation has contributed to NATO‚Äôs counter-piracy effort.
The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the contribution from New Zealand. ‚ÄúPiracy threatens all of us and the contribution by New Zealand will help to deter the threat of piracy off the Horn of Africa,‚Äù Mr Fogh Rasmussen said.¬† ‚ÄúI welcome this offer, which will further enhance NATO – New Zealand co-operation and demonstrate the depth of our strengthening partnership that stretches from Afghanistan to the coast of Somalia.¬† By working together, we not only make a real difference in dealing with today‚Äôs security threats, we also improve our ability to operate together.‚Äù
New Zealand‚Äôs Defence Minister, Dr. Jonathan Coleman stressed that ‚ÄúNew Zealand is committed to international efforts to tackle piracy.‚Äù He said that ‚Äúparticipating in NATO‚Äôs Operation Ocean Shield is a good opportunity for the New Zealand Defence Force to test its interoperability with contributing NATO nations. This deployment is an example of New Zealand‚Äôs commitment to playing our part in supporting NATO in areas of common interest.‚Äù
New Zealand is the second NATO partner nation, after Ukraine, to contribute to Operation Ocean Shield.¬† New Zealand has previously contributed to NATO operations, including SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina and ISAF in Afghanistan.
‚ÄúWe are very happy to welcome our New Zealand partners to the task force,‚Äù said Rear Admiral Eugenio Diaz del Rio, CTF-508 Commander.¬† ‚ÄúThe experience they bring will be invaluable to NATO‚Äôs counter-piracy mission.¬† Together we will continue to work to increase maritime security by eliminating the piracy threat to commercial shipping in the region.‚Äù