Lieutenant Dave Luhrs (left), the Commanding Officer of the Navy’s Inshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS Hawea, with some of the ship’s crew. The New Zealand Defence Force is sending Hawea to Fiji to help patrol its Exclusive Economic Zone over the next six months.
23 April 2017
The Royal New Zealand Navy Inshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS Hawea is scheduled to leave the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland tomorrow bound for Fiji to help patrol the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) over the next six months.
The deployment was announced by Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee earlier this month.
“As part of our renewed engagement with Fiji, we will be conducting maritime surveillance and supporting the Fijian Navy’s capability development,” Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said.
“The fisheries patrols aim to support effective fisheries management and contribute to efforts to enhance maritime surveillance in the South-west Pacific.”
Major General Gall said that Hawea would help the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) patrol Fiji’s territorial seas and EEZ, which encompass more than 1.1 million square kilometres. This will be the first time that a Navy Inshore Patrol Vessel has been deployed to the South Pacific.
Commodore Jim Gilmour, the Maritime Component Commander, said personnel from New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries, Fiji’s Department of Fisheries and the Fijian Navy would join the patrols. Fijian personnel will also play a role in planning the patrols.
“Operating in a combined way on these patrols provides an opportunity to support the Fijian Navy and learn from them in developing our capability in a range of general mariner skills,” Commodore Gilmour said.
New Zealand has offered assistance in maritime surveillance due to Fiji’s limited patrol capability this year.
Under the NZDF’s Mutual Assistance Programme, RFMF personnel attend a range of leadership and professional development courses conducted by the NZDF. At present, there are seven RFMF personnel undertaking training with the NZDF.
The NZDF also sends training teams to Fiji. An NZDF training team was sent to the RFMF Peace Operations Centre in Nadi in February to help train their peacekeepers.
“New Zealand and Fiji have a longstanding military relationship that dates from World War II. Our personnel serve alongside each other in a number of multi-national peacekeeping missions and take part in joint training exercises. Hawea’s deployment will further reinforce these ties and strong people-to-people links between the NZDF and the RFMF,” Major General Gall said.