25 January 2013
The Royal New Zealand Navy has hosted a meeting of international navies to promote common understandings for the coordination of shipping and maritime trade in the Pacific, Indian and South Atlantic Oceans.
The Pacific and Indian Oceans Shipping Working Group was held at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland this week and included representatives from 12 countries including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, India, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the Unites States.
Royal New Zealand Navy Captain Phil O’Connell says regular monitoring of commercial shipping by naval forces globally has been undertaken for many years to guard against and monitor activities such as terrorism, sea robbery and piracy.
"Secure commercial shipping is vital for economic growth and global trade," he says. "New Zealand is the guardian for a large area of the Pacific Ocean and as such we have an important role in monitoring and maintaining our sea lines of communication which are vital for the economic wellbeing of the nation and our Pacific neighbours.
"We are surrounded by ocean and rely on the sea to transport 99 per cent of our imports and exports. Our Navy works closely with other countries and is a valued international partner and the Shipping Working Group is another good example of New Zealand working with other nations’ navies towards common goals."
Topics discussed by the participants ranged from information sharing protocols, and counter piracy operations, to developments in technology, and the methodology used for monitoring and facilitating the safe passage of maritime trade.
"The meeting is an annual event where 'Member' and 'Observer' nations have the opportunity to convene with their colleagues, discuss developments and strengthen their personal and professional networks," he says.
In New Zealand monitoring of shipping is undertaken by members of the Navy Reserve who have careers in the Navy, parallel to their civilian jobs.
"The support of employers who release personnel to undertake military service is critical for ensuring our Reserve Forces are effective and cannot be under estimated. In turn, Reservists take back to their employers skills learnt in the military such as leadership, planning, operations control and emergency management which can add significant value to a company’s operations and business performance," says Captain O’Connell.
For more information, contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.