The Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Calgary will visit Auckland in early August, in the first visit by a foreign military ship since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Rear Admiral (RADM) David Proctor said the plan is for the ship to visit between 4 and 10 August.
The visit will be in strict compliance with the Maritime Border Order put in place to protect New Zealanders against COVID-19.
Almost all of the 250 personnel aboard HMCS Calgary have been vaccinated and, when they reach New Zealand, will have been at sea for 17 days -- three days longer than the 14 day isolation period required by the New Zealand government.
The crew will not be able to disembark until New Zealand health officials are satisfied that all requirements of the Maritime Border Order have been met, including the return of negative COVID-19 tests by all the crew, and that all crew members have been symptom-free for 14 days. The ship has COVID-19 testing facilities aboard.
“Ship visits like this are a practical representation of the strong working relationship the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has with the Canadian armed forces. They are also a demonstration of New Zealand and Canada’s active engagement and presence in the Pacific,” said RADM Proctor.
Along with resupply and refuelling alongside, the ship’s crew will engage in shore-based activities, sporting and cultural programmes with the RNZN.
Planning is also underway on a series of training activities with vessels of the RNZN, and Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft.
The Government approved the recommencement of foreign military ship visits to New Zealand following the absence of such activities over the last year, provided all visits comply with New Zealand’s health and border requirements.
The NZDF and Ministry of Defence have worked with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian High Commission and New Zealand health and Customs officials to ensure the visit complies with all border requirements.
RADM Proctor said Canada and New Zealand share a strong and long-standing defence relationship and the visit by HMCS Calgary is an example of that. He said he looked forward to the opportunity to host the Canadian sailors in New Zealand.
“This is a chance to return some of the excellent support and comradeship the Royal Canadian Navy provided the hundreds of RNZN sailors who have been in Canada over the past three years during the Anzac Frigate Upgrade.”
HMCS Calgary has been on deployment in support of Combined Maritime Forces in the Middle East between April and June this year. In July the vessel participated in the Australia - U.S. exercise Talisman Sabre off the coast of Australia.