WELLINGTON, May 10 ‚Äî The New Zealand government on Friday confirmed it would continue to assist in international operations to prevent piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman.
Defense Minister Jonathan Coleman said Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana would join the Combined Maritime Force (CMF), the multinational task group designed to combat piracy in the region, later this year.
‚ÄúThe frigate will be part of the maritime security taskforce for three months from November this year, after having a work-up period in Australia,‚Äù Coleman said in a statement.
A New Zealand Defense Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft would deploy with the CMF for three months from mid-2014.
‚ÄúWe 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,‚Äù said Coleman.
‚ÄúPiracy 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.‚Äù
Trade with the Middle East and North Africa was valued at more than 7 billion NZ dollars (7.06 billion U.S. dollars) in the year to June 2012, representing 7.5 percent of New Zealand‚Äôs total global trade.
The CMF is a multinational task group and naval partnership of 27 nations, operating across the main shipping routes from the Far East to Europe and the United States.