17 November, 2021
Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), Rear Admiral David Proctor, said the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and RNZN were looking forward to the visit. The vessel will berth in Wellington.
“New Zealand and the United States (US) share a strong security and defence relationship, close economic links, and shared interests and values. The NZDF and the US Navy have a long history of engagement and working together; the latest example of which was the interaction by HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Aotearoa with US Navy and other partners’ ships off Guam last month”.
While in New Zealand the ship and her crew will train and interact with the New Zealand Defence Force including taking part in interoperability exercises and official engagements.
“Ship visits like this are a demonstration of the US’ active engagement in our region. They present opportunities for improving interoperability between our forces and building trust and understanding between partners”, said Rear Admiral Proctor.
“NZDF ships and aircraft have also regularly participated in US-hosted exercises such as RIMPAC, and it is nice to be able to return the courtesy and show goodwill as we host a US Navy vessel and her crew here in New Zealand again.”
Further details of the ship and the visit are yet to be released, but the vessel is an Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer, the same class of ship as the USS Sampson, which visited in 2016 for the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th Anniversary and International Naval Review.
During that visit the USS Sampson became involved in the response to the Kaikōura earthquake.
“When the US Navy last visited New Zealand, that earthquake had just hit, and the importance of interoperability was underscored in a completely unexpected way. But that’s the reality—tomorrow our navies could well be working together to solve problems that don’t exist today. The friendships and understanding between our sailors and their Kiwi counterparts, matter in everything from crisis response to a routine refuelling at sea,” said US Embassy Defense Attaché, Colonel Ian Murray.
The ship will have at least 14 days isolation at sea prior to entering New Zealand, and prior to disembarkation all crew will have tested negative for COVID-19 and will be fully vaccinated.
A visit by a US Navy ship has been under consideration by the US since last year.
The ship will not be visiting any other New Zealand port besides Wellington.