While those back home in New Zealand will be tucking into turkey and unwrapping Christmas presents, the crew of the navy frigate Te Mana will be on the lookout for pirates.
The vessel has just started counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia after leaving Devonport in August and the 177-strong crew will be on duty over the Christmas and New Year period.
They are part of a 27-nation Combined Maritime Force patrolling the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea and the ship’s commanding officer Commander Shane Arndell said they were happy to begin their duties.
“Everyone on board is pleased to finally be on task doing the job they have worked so hard to prepare for since leaving home in August. We are all looking forward to the challenges in the coming months,” he said.
The ship is due to return to New Zealand in March.