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NZDF deploying a team to protect Red Sea shipping

Six New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel are being deployed to the Middle East to support coalition forces’ efforts to maintain maritime security in the Red Sea area.

24 January, 2024

The personnel, with specialist skills, will provide support to coalition forces to carry out precision attacks on identified Houthi military targets.

They will be based in operational headquarters in the region, and will not go into Yemen.  

The NZDF has a long-standing role in supporting maritime security throughout the world and has contributed to maritime security operations in the Middle East since 2013.

The NZDF has also been a longstanding contributor to wider international security efforts in the Middle East since 1954, with 57 personnel currently posted to the region.

As outlined by the New Zealand Government, recent Houthi rebel attacks on commercial ships are illegal, unacceptable and profoundly destabilising.

Freedom of navigation along trade routes is an integral part of New Zealand’s national interests.

New Zealand and other countries have made repeated calls for the Houthis to stop attacks on shipping, and these warnings have not been heeded.

New Zealand takes its commitment to the international rules based system seriously. Part of that commitment is stepping up, when directed by Government, to help address a serious threat to international maritime security.

The deployment is mandated until no later than 31 July.