New Zealand renews support for maritime security in the Middle EastDeputy Prime Minister Defence Foreign Affairs
New Zealand will contribute five Defence Force personnel to a multinational taskforce based in Bahrain focused on countering terrorist activity, narcotics, smuggling and piracy from December 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark have announced.
New Zealand has made various contributions to Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), a 16-nation naval counterterrorism partnership which operates across the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean, since 2010.
“Maritime security and deescalating regional tensions continue to be key areas of importance for New Zealand,” says Mr Peters.
“New Zealand is seriously concerned about the recent interdiction and harassment of merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz. Like all trading nations, New Zealand is highly dependent on the safe passage of merchant vessels through globally significant sea lanes.”
“The US/UK-led International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) has outlined objectives which New Zealand supports, such as promoting and defending freedom of navigation and the right of transit passage for shipping in accordance with international law,” Mr Peters says.
“New Zealand supports maritime security in the Middle East, that’s why we will again be deploying NZDF staff officers to CTF 150,” says Mr Mark.
“New Zealand has contributed personnel, ships and planes to CTF 150 since 2010. These contributions have led to a number of successful outcomes including several high-profile interdictions of vessels carrying out illegal acts including drug smuggling.”