2 Jun 2011

NZ takes command of Gulf anti-piracy mission

9:32 pm on 2 June 2011

New Zealand is to take command of the United States-led fight against piracy in the Gulf of Aden, but will not be sending a frigate.

Navy Captain Jim Gilmour will command between four and six ships in the Gulf for three months from the end of June.

Captain Gilmour says his mission is to deter and destroy pirate ships if necessary, but he also has a diplomatic role to get local governments to help fight piracy. He will be supported by two other New Zealand officers.

Earlier this year, the Government confirmed that the United Nations had asked for a New Zealand frigate to take part in piracy patrols off Somalia and Yemen. However, the Government says it has no plans to send a ship at this stage.

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says sending a team shows New Zealand's commitment to protecting maritime security and stability.