14 May 2013
The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) is hosting the annual International Naval Maritime Trade protection exercise, BELL BUOY for the first time this year.
BELL BUOY is taking place from 13-24 May 2013 at the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland and is based around support for a humanitarian support mission in the South West Pacific.
The exercise develops and tests participants' professional skills in supporting disaster relief and humanitarian assistance operations and provides support to the civil maritime industry in areas of instability that may include sea robbery, piracy and illegal fishing.
Conducted under the auspices of the inter-navy Pacific and Indian Oceans Shipping Working Group, the exercise involves naval personnel from the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Brazil, Chile, Korea, Singapore, Argentina, Uruguay and New Zealand.
Exercise director, Captain Phil O'Connell of the RNZN says that security of shipping is crucial to New Zealand's economy.
"Around 85 per cent of New Zealand exports by value are carried by sea. With New Zealand being responsible for a large area of the Pacific Ocean, we have an important role in protecting the sea lanes.
"The Navy works alongside other nations to ensure regional security. BELL BUOY provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate New Zealand's commitment as we practise these vital skills alongside our international colleagues who bring a diverse range of valuable experience to the exercise."