HMNZS TE MANA Deploys
By SLT Paddy Baker RNZN
On April 7, following months of preparations, TE MANA sailed for her third deployment to the Arabian Gulf. Onboard were 175 personnel including some Air and Army staff, who waved goodbye to home, family and friends for 5 months. TE MANA proceeded out of the harbour and into the Hauraki Gulf to conduct some final tests, before turning north on passage to our first destination of the deployment.
Everybody quickly slotted back into the ship’s routine, which was punctuated by exercise emergencies, and some additional boarding training conducted by MOET. These exercises finished off the training that had started during our OLOC workup [see NT 131 pdf - 9637kb ]. The various training exercises ranged from advanced small arms firings to the worst-case scenario, a full evacuation under fire from a Merchant vessel. The Officers of the Watch on board didn’t miss out - conducting the passage navigating by the stars, to keep one of the oldest mariner skills alive. Their skill was proven when we made an accurate landfall on time for our visit to Cairns.
Cairns, the capital of Far North Queensland, is one of Australia’s biggest tourist destinations, with lots to do and see. During our brief stay, some of our ship’s company undertook activities like golf and white water rafting, while others took the opportunity to relax. After our two day visit, TE MANA sailed from Cairns along the Great Barrier Reef on our way over the top of Australia and to our next stop, Singapore.
We spent Anzac Day in Singapore, parading with the Australians amid the solemn surrounds of the Kranji Commonwealth War Cemetery.
Goodbye Via ‘Good Morning’
At 0500 on the morning of our departure, the camera crews turned up for an early morning broadcast of the ‘Good Morning Show’ (TVNZ). Over a two hour period, Good Morning’s roving reporter and weather guy Tamati, was shown around TE MANA. Very few compartments were missed, as we got to show off our ship to New Zealand - as those who saw the broadcast could attest.
Telecasts were made from the bridge-wing, the Operations Room, Junior Ratings’ Dining Hall, a Junior Ratings’ Mess Deck and on the Flight Deck with our friends and families gathered. All throughout, Tamati experienced both the good nature of the crew and the excitement of the upcoming deployment. After his final broadcast, the friends, family and crew of TE MANA said a rousing goodbye to NZ, after a very busy start to our morning.
Coalition Maritime Force
The Coalition Maritime Force (CMF) in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea patrol more than 2.5 million square miles of international waters to conduct integrated and coordinated operations with a common purpose: to increase the security and prosperity of the region by working together for a better future. The CMF aims to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy, reduce illegal trafficking of people and drugs, and promote the maritime environment as a safe place for mariners with legitimate business.
Coalition forces are conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) to complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations and to disrupt violent extremists’ use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
Combined maritime security operations are conducted in international waters and within the Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, to the Red Sea, and across the Arabian Sea from Pakistan to Kenya. MSO includes a full range of activities - from assisting mariners in distress, Interaction Patrols, Visit, Board, Search and Seizure operations, to engaging regional and coalition navies.
The CMF is contributed to by about 20 nations, including regional partners, who currently deploy some three dozen ships to deny violent extremists the use of the sea. The CMF is operating in support of the coalition forces in the Gulf region, including Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The combined operations are focused on counter-terrorism; defence of offshore and onshore maritime systems and infrastructure; counter-smuggling; counter-piracy; and upholding international rights and freedom.
As well, the CMF facilitates various maritime security conferences and symposiums throughout the area, such as the Maritime Infrastructure Protection Symposium, held in Bahrain during February. Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff USN, Commander 5th Fleet, also controls the CMF, assisted in that task by CDRE Keith Winstanley Royal Navy.
TE MANA is joining Combined Task Force 152, which is responsible for conducting Maritime Security Operations in the central and southern Gulf. CTF 152 was established in March 2004. On 4 March this year, a Bahraini officer, Brigadier General Abdulla Saeed Al Mansoori Royal Bahrain Navy, assumed command of the task force. This is the first time that Coalition naval forces have been commanded by a Gulf nation. The task force flagship is RBNS SABHA (FFG 90) a former USN Perry-class frigate.
BRIG GEN Mansoori said maritime security is a significant responsibility. “The Maritime Security Operation is not a single country’s mission, and no country can single-handedly achieve the goal of these operations,” he said. “That’s why we are joining our friendly navies in this imperative task.”
CTF 152 ships and aircraft conduct Interaction Patrols (IPATS) to generate support and awareness amongst commercial vessels sailing in the region. IPATS are designed to help generate support and awareness amongst commercial vessels sailing in the region of the Coalition’s efforts to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment. Coalition forces also conduct MSO under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that as well as commercial shipping, fishing can also take place safely in the region.
For example, the amphibious transport dock USS CLEVELAND (LPD 7) undertook Interaction Patrols by integrating the use of a Landing Craft with air assets during a series of exercises in the Central Arabian Gulf. Since 2004 CTF 152 has fostered positive relationships with local mariners by conducting more than 300 Interaction Patrols.
Source: USN 5th Fleet website