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NZDF To Help Counter Piracy And Trafficking in Middle East

8 February 2017

NZDF To Help Counter Piracy And Trafficking in the Middle East

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is sending a 55-member contingent and an Air Force P-3K2 Orion surveillance aircraft to the Middle East to join an international partnership against piracy and people and drug trafficking.

Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the NZDF team would help patrol 3.2 million square miles of international water in the Middle East to support the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) over the next 12 months.

“Through this mission we will help protect vital trade routes around the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean and demonstrate once again our government’s longstanding commitment to global security,” Major General Gall said.

The first rotation of personnel left last night for the Middle East, with the Orion scheduled to leave later this week.

Wing Commander Daniel Hunt, the mission’s Commander, said the contingent was looking forward to working with its CMF partners to keep the seas safe in the Middle East.

“Everyone is upbeat, and with the world-class skills of our people I am confident we will be able to make a significant contribution,” Wing Commander Hunt said.

The last NZDF Orion mission supporting the CMF ran for 16 months. The Orion and the supporting detachment conducted 174 maritime surveillance flights involving about 1400 flying hours by the time the mission finished in December 2015. The NZDF team helped the CMF locate and intercept vessels attempting to smuggle drugs worth nearly NZ$500 million.

The CMF is a 31-nation naval partnership that promotes maritime security and seeks to defeat terrorism and prevent piracy and the trafficking of people and drugs.

ENDS


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