While many people rested with family and loved ones over the Christmas and New Year festive period, the ships of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 continued their mission to counter piracy in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.
Just before Christmas, Commodore Aage Buur Jensen, Royal Danish Navy, Commander CTF 151, visited HMNZS Te Mana, currently assigned to CTF 151, while she was in port in Abu Dhabi, UAE. There he enjoyed a tour of the ship, addressed the 170 officers and sailors on board and had lunch with the Commander of New Zealand Joint Forces. His message to the sailors was clear:
“Every year somebody has to be on watch during Christmas, away from family and loved ones. This year that task is ours. Remember, it is a big responsibility to keep the merchant traffic transiting safely through the area and to ensure that no sailors are taken hostage by pirates on our watch.”
Commodore Jensen learned first hand about Te Mana’s general capabilities as well as her specialist abilities to counter the piracy threat during a ship’s tour given by Te Mana’s Operations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Dave Barr. Afterwards, the Commodore had lunch with Air Vice Marshall Kevin Short, Commander, Joint Forces New Zealand, who was also visiting the ship.
During the address to Te Mana’s crew on the ship’s flight deck, Commander Shane Arndell, Commanding Officer of HMNZS Te Mana, spoke to welcome Commodore Jensen and reaffirmed New Zealand’s commitment to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) mission.
Commodore Jensen responded: “It is important that I visit ships under my command to engage with the officers and sailors and to ensure we have a common understanding of the task at hand. From my visit to Te Mana it is pleasing to see the shared awareness of why we are all here, and to see such pride in the way the ship is carrying out her duties, representing New Zealand whilst away from home for seven months.”
Commander Ardnell said later: “This was a good opportunity for the ship’s company to meet their Combined Task Force Commander and to get his take on what the mission entails.”
CTF-151 is one of three task forces operated by CMF. Its mission is to disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea and to engage with partners to develop regional capabilities to secure freedom of navigation and protect the flow of legitimate maritime trade.