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Orion heads to Gulf of Aden as anti-piracy mission underway

Orion heads to Gulf of Aden as anti-piracy mission gets underway

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says a P3K-2 Orion has today left New Zealand to support international anti-piracy operations.

A Navy command team will also deploy next week, taking the NZDF’s contribution to 68 personnel.

“New Zealand is committed to playing our part in international efforts to tackle piracy,” says Dr Coleman.

“Maintaining a secure maritime environment is vital to security and economic prosperity. As a trading nation dependant on freedom of the seas to get many of our exports to market, New Zealand has a direct interest in maritime security.

“NZDF personnel will support the Combined Maritime Forces, a multi-national naval partnership of 30 nations. Building strong relationships and enhancing interoperability with a range of partners is a crucial part of this deployment.

“The P3K-2 will also conduct short duration deployments in support of NATO and the European Union’s anti-piracy operations.

“The Air Force with the upgraded P3K-2 Orion is well equipped and suited to operations like this.”

The Air Force detachment of 55 personnel includes aircrew, logistics staff, liaison officers, maintenance and other support personnel. The P3K-2 will be primarily based in the United Arab Emirates for four months, and will conduct maritime surveillance taskings in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

A team of 13 NZ Navy staff officers will take up command of Combined Task Force 151 for four months. The team will include three officers from the Netherlands, Japan and Singapore. It will be based in Bahrain at the Combined Maritime Forces headquarters.

Earlier this year HMNZS Te Mana conducted a successful three month deployment as part of the Combined Maritime Forces. HMNZS Te Mana also completed a short rotation with NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield.

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