21 May 2018

NZ naval vessel heads for Fiji to conduct maritime patrols

3:07 pm on 21 May 2018

A New Zealand navy patrol vessel, the HMNZS Taupo, left Auckland today to spend the next three months conducting maritime patrols in Fiji.

The HMNZS Taupo departing for Fiji on Operation Wasawasa.

The HMNZS Taupo departing for Fiji on Operation Wasawasa. Photo: Supplied/NZDF

This is the second consecutive year that the New Zealand Defence Force is helping Fiji patrol its Exclusive Economic Zone of over 1.1 million square kilometres.

As well as the support for the management of regional fishery resources, the NZDF is also to provide training for Fiji naval personnel.

The patrols by the HMNZS Taupo will involve the usual compliance monitoring activities, which include two Fishery Officers from New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries assisting with boarding and inspection of vessels.

The combined maritime patrols with Fiji last year resulted in about 550 vessels being boarded and 110 alleged infringements detected.

About 50 Fiji Navy sailors, 27 Customs Officers and 19 Fishery Officers also received training in last year's programme.

The Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Tim Gall, said the combined maritime surveillance operations with Fiji would help ensure sustainable management of regional fishery resources.

HMNZS Taupo departs for Fiji on Operation Wasawasa.

Photo: Supplied / NZDF

"We also expect the patrols to deepen collaboration between New Zealand and Fiji government agencies and strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries," Major General Gall said.

Royal New Zealand Navy Captain Dave McEwan, the Maritime Component Commander, said learning was a two-way process and the New Zealand sailors learnt as much from their Fiji Navy partners.

"We hope to replicate the success of last year's combined patrols and contribute to Fiji's maritime security," he said.