Ships heading south to aid earthquake response
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has welcomed the support of nations attending the International Naval Review to help with the response to the November 14 earthquake.
The New Zealand Defence Force has accepted offers of help from the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan and Singapore.
“The USS Sampson, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, has departed from the Hauraki Gulf and is now on its way to Kaikoura, where it will deploy two MH60 helicopters to help as required. The US has also offered a P-3 Orion for surveillance flights,” Mr Brownlee says.
“The Australian Defence Force has diverted the HMAS Darwin from her planned participation in the International Naval Review.
“The Darwin is expected to arrive off the Kaikoura coast on Wednesday evening and will deploy its Seahawk helicopter from offshore. Canada is sending its frigate the HMCS Vancouver.
“The New Zealand Navy has already sent HMNZS Canterbury and HMNZS Wellington to Kaikoura and it will also send HMNZS Te Kaha and tanker ship, HMNZS Endeavour.
“It’s heartening to see overseas partners so willing to alter their plans and offer their assistance.
“The International Naval Review is all about celebrating 75 years of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the bonds it has forged globally.
“Despite the changes to the planned celebrations, it’s poignant to see the anniversary marked with such cooperation and camaraderie.
“It’s fair to say the captains of the vessels bound for the International Naval Review in Auckland this week will have been torn between attending the event and reaching out to offer their services.
“While the New Zealand Defence Force was well placed to respond to the unfolding situation in Kaikoura and surrounding districts, we are grateful for the help offered.
“I have no doubt the military hardware which has travelled on ships bound for the International Naval Review will be useful in the days ahead,” Mr Brownlee says.