NZ commanded Task Force intercepts suspected pirates in Gulf of Aden


Captions: A visit, board, search and seizure team from guided-missile cruiser USS ANZIO, investigate a suspected pirate skiff. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Bryan Weyers).

27 July 2011

Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 flagship, USS ANZIO intercepted a skiff, successfully disrupting the activities of a group of suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

ANZIO received a report from a merchant vessel that it had been attacked, including being fired upon, by suspected pirates in a skiff who were reportedly armed with a rocket propelled grenade launcher and AK-47 assault rifles.

“The attack was unsuccessful because the large merchant vessel adhered to ‘Best Management Practices’ which involves measures such as maintaining a 24 hour lookout, removing access ladders, reporting suspicious activity and engaging in evasive manoeuvres. This incident is another reminder of how effective these practical precautions are,” said Captain James Gilmour, RNZN, Commander CTF 151 who is embarked on USS ANZIO.

ANZIO was ordered to pursue the suspected pirate vessel and intercept it.  Collaborative efforts between CTF 151, NATO (TF 508), a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel and a Japanese Maritime Patrol Aircraft, resulted in the apprehension of the suspected vessel.  

“This co-operation culminated in the suspected pirates disposing of weapons and equipment that could be used for further piracy attempts. The remaining suspected pirate paraphernalia was also disposed of when the vessel was intercepted by the CTF 151 warship,” CAPT Gilmour added.

CTF 151’s mission is to disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea and to engage with regional and other partners to build capacity and improve relevant capabilities, in order to protect global maritime commerce and secure freedom of navigation.

CTF 151 is one of three task forces operating under the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 25-nation coalition. CTF 151's counter-piracy operations focus on the Gulf of Aden, Southern Red Sea, Arabian Sea and Somali basin, an area encompassing 2.5 million square miles. 

Two NZ Defence Force staff officers support CAPT Gilmour in his role as Commander of CTF 151.

New Zealand is impacted by piracy, even far from our shores. This deployment demonstrates NZ Defence Force’s commitment to protecting security and stability in the international maritime environment.

Captain Jim Gilmour will be in command of the Combined Task Force (CTF 151), for three months from 30 June 2011. It is the first time that a Royal New Zealand Naval Officer has commanded a major multinational task force in recent decades.


For further information contact Kirsty Taylor-Doig, Defence Communications Group, 021 806 926.


This page was last reviewed on 1 August 2011.