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New Zealand Navy to join international force to protect navigation in Red Sea.

| Naval News Navy 2024

New Zealand has announced the deployment of a team of six highly trained individuals from its Defence Force to the Middle East to enhance maritime security in the Red Sea, according to a report by the New Zealand Herald. This decision was unveiled by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon during his first post-Cabinet press conference of the year on January 23.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Royal New Zealand Navy Anzac-class frigate HMNZS Te Kaha (F77) (Picture source: U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Holly Herline)

The primary mission of New Zealand's Navy team in the Red Sea is to conduct precision targeting by gathering intelligence information. It is emphasized that their role is not to directly engage in any conflicts. Prime Minister Luxon stated, "Houthi attacks against commercial and naval shipping are illegal, unacceptable, and profoundly destabilizing. This deployment, as part of an international coalition, is a continuation of New Zealand's long history of defending freedom of navigation both in the Middle East and closer to home."

Luxon further explained that the Defence Force team will contribute to the collective self-defense of ships in the Middle East, in accordance with international law, working from operational headquarters in the region and other locations. He reassured that NZDF personnel will not be entering Yemen and that this deployment is part of New Zealand's ongoing commitment to maritime security in the Middle East, which dates back to 2013.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters also noted that the international coalition is conducting joint strikes against Houthi military targets that have been involved in attacking commercial and naval vessels. New Zealand has previously expressed support for the strikes led by the US and UK.

The deployment is mandated to conclude no later than July 31.

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