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March 2014: Maritime Trade Operations EXERCISE TUATARA 1/14.

MV Straitsman

During the recent weekend MTO Exercise TUATARA 14/01,  LTCDR Chris Manning  and SLT Annalisa Hoeksma from the Maritime Trade Operations (MTO) Branch of the Wellington Naval Reserve Division HMNZS OLPHERT embarked aboard the passenger and vehicle Ferries operated by Strait Shipping undertake an assessment of commercial maritime operations in the Cook Strait. The Tuatara Exercise series are designed to train and test MTO Personnel’s core competencies, including liaising with the local Merchant Shipping industry.   


The Strait Shipping Company operates two ships on the Cook Strait between Picton and Wellington.  The Ships are the MV Santa Regina, a French built ex Mediterranean ferry, and MV Straitsman, built in the same Shipyard and with very similar lines as HMNZS Canterbury.


Right: MV Straitsman in the Marlborough Sound.  

MTO Personnel were welcomed aboard the ships as Sea riders for the voyage. They were given a full run down of the manning, operational procedures and a full tour of the bridge, passenger, cargo and machinery spaces, as well as meeting many members of the crew.


During the voyage the MTO personnel observed the ship handling, navigation and operation of the ships, noting with interest Merchant shipping methods of operation of the vessel with a comparatively small crew. This interaction is a crucial part of the MTO Branch where good working relationships with the merchant service are important. 


For further details of the Strait Shipping Ships, see:


The Maritime Trade Operations Branch


The Maritime Trade Operations (MTO) Branch is a specialist area that is run for the Navy solely by the Naval Reserve within the Royal New Zealand Navy Operations Branch, in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. The MTO Branch liaises between the NZ Defence Force and the maritime industry, by completing tasks such as port-based liaison, briefing of merchant vessels' masters, vessel tracking and maritime operational analysis. Ensuring that the NZDF is well connected to our shipping and port industries is a vital area that impacts upon New Zealand's trading ability and maritime security.


For further information on the Maritime Trade Operations Branch, see:

MTO Exercise TUATARA14/01. LTCDR Manning presenting the Master of MV Straitsman with an HMNZS OLPHERT Ships Crest.
Above: Master of the MV Straitsman CAPTAIN Steve Blom is presented with a HMNZS OLPHERT Crest by Wellington Senior MTO Officer LTCDR Chris Manning RNZNVR
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