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Maritime Forces Review

Requirements of the Navy

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  1. The policy requirements, shaping factors and direction provided by the Government's 8 May statement define a set of roles applicable to the RNZN. Figure 1 illustrates that the roles required of the Navy range from diplomatic and constabulary (or civilian) to military roles. The ability to undertake constabulary and diplomatic roles is built upon the skills and capability inherent in the military roles.

Figure 1: The span of maritime roles

Image: Figure 1: The Span of Maritime Roles.

View text equivalent of above image.

Military requirements

  1. The military roles are currently met by the RNZN's fleet of three surface combatants, fleet tanker, diving support vessel, five inshore patrol craft, hydrographic survey and oceanographic research ship, and a small training vessel. Those roles are expanded below.
  2. Naval combat roles

    1. The naval combat force (Te Kaha, Te Mana and Canterbury), with embarked Seasprite helicopters, supported by the fleet tanker (Endeavour), currently fulfils the military or combat related roles that are required of the RNZN.
    2. These roles include operations at sea, and from the sea in support of land operations, as well as a number of diplomatic and constabulary roles.
    3. Recent operations in which the naval combat force has been involved include:
      • Enforcement of UN sanctions against Iraq – Wellington (1995), Canterbury (1996) and Te Kaha (1999).
      • Escort and sea control operations around East Timor (1999-2000) – Te Kaha, Canterbury and Endeavour.
  3. Presence

    1. Presence is the exercise of naval diplomacy in a general way involving port visits, exercising and routine deterrence operations in areas of interest. These activities declare New Zealand's interest and reassure friends and neighbours. The presence of a naval vessel in an area may be the primary symbol of national commitment.
    2. In the New Zealand EEZ, fisheries and border protection activities by naval vessels also contribute to presence.
    3. Regionally and globally, participation in joint exercises (for example, FPDA), ship visits and training with other navies signals New Zealand's commitment to shared security interests.
    4. The ability to project a symbolic military presence into the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea is desirable for maintenance of New Zealand's claim over the Ross Dependency and would increase in future if New Zealand asserted its claim.
  4. Mine Countermeasures (MCM) and clearance diving support

    1. MCM are operations relating to the prevention or reduction of damage or danger from sea mines.
    2. The Navy's MCM capability is delivered by the four IPCs (Hinau, Kiwi, Moa, Wakakura), the Operational Diving Team and the diving support vessel Manawanui.
    3. The focus of activity is on protecting New Zealand's seven major ports through: the development of safe (or Q) routes into them; maintaining a database of mine-like objects along Q routes; by developing a capacity to dispose of mines and other explosives underwater; and by practising the skills necessary to lead merchant ships through cleared access routes into the ports.
    4. There are three reasons to retain an MCM capability:
      • New Zealand is vulnerable to mining of its harbours and shipping lanes (laying mines is a cheap and relatively unsophisticated capability);
      • Longer lead times in developing an MCM capability compared to lead times for an aggressor to develop a mine-laying capability; and
      • It would take 2-3 years to redevelop a database of mine-like objects along Q routes if the surveys were allowed to lapse.
  5. Naval Control of Shipping (NCS)

    1. NGS is control by naval authorities of the movement, routing, reporting and organisation of allied shipping in periods of crisis or conflict.
    2. In peacetime, participation by merchant vessels is voluntary.
    3. Whether or not a NCS capability is retained will not have an impact on the size and compostion of the Navy fleet. The retention of a NCS capability was addressed by the Review and further work is required in this area.
  6. Maritime counter terrorism

    1. Maritime Counter Terrorism consists of measures to prevent, deter and respond to acts of terrorism in the maritime environment. The requirement is for the transport and deployment of counter terrorism forces either by a boarding party (via RHIBs) or by helicopter.
    2. There is a requirement for this capability in New Zealand and the South Pacific. Apart from the naval combat force, no capacity currently exists for this requirement. The naval combat force will not always be in a position to respond if most of its assets are away on other tasks.
  7. Tactical sealift and logistic support for land forces

    1. The tactical sealift requirement is for the transport of people and equipment into a theatre of operations so that they will be able to operate effectively once ashore. There is also a requirement to support these forces ashore for a period of up to 30 days. Given the limitations in port facilities in the South Pacific and parts of Southeast Asia, there is a requirement to be able to off-load people and equipment across the beach.
    2. A sealift capability is also required for disaster relief and humanitarian operations.
    3. In the past, New Zealand has relied on coalition partners to provide this capability, in particular France and Australia. The increasingly fragile security situation in the South Pacific will likely drive an increase in concurrent operations such as peace support, humanitarian assistance and evacuations. New Zealand will need an independent capability to conduct these types of operations. Growing demands on the naval assets of other countries make it increasingly likely that they would be unable to meet our needs. Reliance on other countries could also significantly slow down response times for military and civilian emergencies.

Civilian agency requirements

The interaction of surface and aerial patrol

  1. The civilian agencies' requirements for surface patrol are complemented by aerial patrol. Aerial and surface surveillance, in conjunction with other intelligence, can provide a relatively comprehensive picture of activity in the EEZ. Aircraft are the most cost-effective method of providing maritime surveillance over a large area. A maritime patrol aircraft can cover large areas of ocean in a short period of time and gain a relatively accurate picture of activity. They can gather information on illegal activity, such as vessels fishing in a closed area. That information can then be used as the basis of a prosecution. There are plans to upgrade the surveillance capability of the Orions to enhance their ability to meet both military and civilian requirements for aerial patrol. There is also a study into the options for meeting short-medium range air patrol requirements.
  2. Surface vessels are able to maintain a physical presence that aircraft cannot. This presence serves to deter would-be offenders and demonstrate New Zealand's will to protect its territorial sovereignty and natural resources. Naval vessels also provide the capability to board, inspect and arrest or conduct hot pursuit of offending vessels that may be engaged in illegal or unregulated activities that are not identifiable from the air, or that have been identified by an aircraft and require a response.

Civilian agency requirements

  1. The Maritime Patrol Review identified that there was very little routine surveillance undertaken around New Zealand and that RNZN vessels were not appropriately configured for this work. It recommended that a capacity for surface surveillance be developed. In order to identify more precisely the civilian agencies' requirements for surface patrol, the Maritime Forces Review team conducted a consultation process. This process had two objectives: to identify the type(s) of vessels that would be required to meet the surface surveillance requirement; and to identify the number of vessels that would be needed to meet the requirement.
  2. The Review team discussed the specific requirements of each agency with them in order to identify the number of sea days that would be needed to meet their requirement. This is summarised in Table 2. Each agency was also asked to prioritise their requirements from 1 (being the highest) to 3 (See Table 3). The priority ratings assigned to each patrol reflected the risk if the patrol was not carried out.
  3. During the course of the consultation process there were many important issues raised that went beyond the narrow focus of this review. Some were related to the division of responsibilities between the NZDF and civilian agencies and the accountability framework that will be required. Others dealt with the legal aspects of RNZN vessels undertaking some civilian law enforcement functions. Resolving these issues is the responsibility of ODESC (M) which has a programme of work in progress to do so. The result of this work will need to be taken into account when decisions are taken on the outcome of this review.

Two types of surface patrol – programmed and response

  1. Surface patrols can be divided into two categories: programmed, and response. Programmed patrols are conducted to provide surveillance and monitoring over a particular area and to detect offences that cannot be detected by aerial patrol. They also deter illegal activity and provide a sustained physical presence. Programmed patrols require the ability to monitor large areas and to respond rapidly to indications of an offence.
  2. Response patrols occur in response to an indication that an offence is occurring. They are often the result of a programmed aerial or surface patrol, and depend on rapid action to respond to offences or to stop fleeing vessels.
  3. Both programmed and response patrols require the boarding of vessels to search for and seize evidence, and may lead to detainment, arrest, escort and hot pursuit.

Fisheries protection

Requirement: Conduct programmed and response patrols throughout the New Zealand EEZ, in the Southern Ocean/Ross Sea, and in the South Pacific.

  1. The tasks required include surveillance, monitoring, boarding and inspection of vessels, arrest, and hot pursuit of vessels beyond the EEZ. There is also a requirement to embark fisheries officers.
  2. The primary agency is MFish. DoC and MAF also have fisheries protection requirements. New Zealand's international obligations lead to a requirement for patrols in the Southern Ocean and South Pacific.
  3. MFish and DoC both own very small patrol vessels for close inshore work. MFish have a surface patrol requirement for 520 days of priority one and 500 days of priority two and three patrols that they are unable to meet themselves. They require the Navy to meet the priority one tasks, and as many of the priority two and three tasks as possible.
  4. There is a patrolling requirement in most areas of the EEZ. High levels of activity are the east coast of the North Island, the Cook Strait/Marlborough Sounds/Wairarapa coast, the west and southern coasts of the South Island and Stewart Island, the Chatham Rise and the sub-Antarctic area of the EEZ.
  5. Over half of the total requirement is between 0-12nm of New Zealand's shoreline and over half of the total requirement is priority 1.
  6. Tasks in the northern half of the EEZ are almost all inshore and tasks in the southern half of the EEZ are mostly offshore. The southern half of the EEZ also experiences the most extreme sea states, requiring a larger patrol vessel than may be necessary in the northern area.
  7. The level of activity in the north remains relatively constant during the year. Activity almost doubles in the south during winter, coinciding with the worst sea states.

Border protection

Requirement: Conduct programmed and response patrols throughout the New Zealand EEZ, primarily from 0-24nm, and in the South Pacific.

  1. Tasks required include surveillance, monitoring, boarding, finding and retrieving items from the sea floor, and hot pursuit of vessels. There is a requirement to embark Customs officers.
  2. The primary agency is the New Zealand Customs Service.
  3. Customs have a requirement for 900 surface patrol days that they intend to meet themselves. They require the Navy to deliver an additional 360 days. This includes:
    • Supplementing Customs operations during high-risk periods in high-intensity areas - Kapiti Coast/Marlborough Sounds/Tasman Bay and Coromandel/Great Barrier Island/North Cape triangle - and providing a presence outside these areas;
    • Operating in extreme weather conditions when Customs vessels cannot;
    • Providing a surge capacity for response operations; and
    • Providing offshore surveillance to detect potential violations of New Zealand law or monitor vessels of interest.

Conservation support

Requirement: Conduct programmed and response patrols in the New Zealand EEZ and provide transport for personnel/supplies to remote DoC bases.

  1. Tasks required include surveillance, monitoring, boarding vessels, observing and recording marine species, transport, and hot pursuit of vessels.
  2. The primary agencies are DoC and MAF.
  3. The aim of this activity is to protect New Zealand's biosecurity and biodiversity by preventing the introduction of species and the export/extinction of native species.
  4. The inshore requirements to patrol marine reserves and protected areas are covered by patrols for MFish.
  5. The requirement to detect vessels that may pose a biosecurity risk to New Zealand is covered by patrols for Customs.
  6. The offshore requirement is for patrols around remote islands and reserves, and for transport of personnel and supplies to remote DoC bases such as Raoul Island and the sub-Antarctic.

Search and Rescue (SAR)

Requirement: Conduct search and rescue operations in the New Zealand and Nadi Flight Information Regions as required.

  1. New Zealand has responsibility to coordinate SAR operations in the New Zealand and Nadi regions - 4.5 million square nm. This includes the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea. The agencies with responsibility for the coordination of maritime SAR are the Police and the National Rescue Coordination Centre (NRCC).
  2. All Navy vessels would respond to any SAR incident if they were available in the area of the incident.
  3. Most SAR incidents, around 500 each year, occur within 3nm of the coast. Responding to these incidents requires a large number of small craft deployed around New Zealand. The Police coordinate the majority of these rescues using resources from a number of groups, primarily the Coastguard.
  4. The MSA has expressed some concerns to the Review team about the current service provision of this close-inshore SAR service. The major concern is with the uncertain future viability of the Coastguard, a volunteer organization which funds itself by a combination of grants and public donations. The MSA feels that dedicated, small fast inshore craft crewed by professionals would offer a credible alternative that would put New Zealand on a par with other countries with whom we might wish to be compared.
  5. The operation of these kinds of vessels in this role, or taking over responsibility for inshore SAR, is not considered by the Review team to be an appropriate role for the Navy. The problem is more one of appropriately funding existing service providers. The concern of MSA is that, if the Navy are unable to provide or supplement this service, and given the uncertain future viability of the Coastguard, then funding must be provided to the Coastguard or an appropriate body tasked with the responsibility of providing inshore SAR on a national level.

Towage and salvage

Requirement: Provide towage and salvage response to disabled vessels.

  1. The MSA has a requirement for towage facilities to be available around the coast of New Zealand to respond to those incidents where vessels are disabled and at risk of being driven ashore.
  2. Cases resulting from a vessel grounding and involving oil spill clean up are rare in New Zealand; however, MSA operational experience suggests that there is at least one incident experienced each year involving a disabled ship requiring assistance. The consequences of a vessel not having assistance available and going aground would be catastrophic and would require the mobilisation of national resources to counter potentially devastating environmental damage.
  3. Towage vessels currently operated by port companies have some existing capacity for this task, but these vessels are being replaced by less capable tugs designed to operate only within harbour limits and with minimum personnel. These decisions by port companies are being driven by commercial and economic considerations.
  4. While all Navy vessels have a towage capacity, especially for smaller vessels, the propulsion characteristics of a frigate mean that it would not be sufficient to render assistance and prevent a disabled large bulk carrier or tanker from being driven ashore. MSA has submitted that specialist vessels, such as tugs or supply vessels capable of operating in the coastal environment and able to provide assistance in an emergency situation, are required to cater for this need.
  5. Large sea-going tug capacity is available with approximately five days notice from the east coast of Australia, but there is a risk that major environmental damage could have occurred in the interim. One option for addressing this potential shortfall would be for the Government to subsidise port companies to acquire, operate and maintain tugs with the required towage capacity. In addition, specially modified naval vessels, particularly the proposed MRV, would be able to provide some assistance in holding a disabled vessel in place, dependent upon the circumstances and their availability, until external assistance arrived to complete the operation.

Pollution control

Requirement: Detect and respond to oil spill incidents at sea in the New Zealand EEZ and the South Pacific.

  1. MSA is the primary agency for marine pollution control. DoC also have pollution control requirements.
  2. The requirement for pollution control is in the EEZ and the South Pacific. New Zealand may be required to participate in pollution control in the Southern Ocean and the Ross Sea.
  3. Of approximately 160 oil spill incidents each year, almost all are dealt with by the offender or the regional council.
  4. The requirement for the Navy is to respond to those cases that require the mobilisation of national resources
  5. MSA own oil spill response equipment and there may be a requirement for the Navy to transport this equipment on an “as required” basis, including domestically, and to the Antarctic and South Pacific regions.
  6. Deployment can also be achieved by C-130 if an airfield is nearby; however considering the remoteness of such locations, and the need for delivery to the actual location, air response windows are considered to be limited.
  7. There is also a requirement to conduct fast response hydrographic work in the event of a vessel sinking near the coast, particularly to locate a wreck which may contain marine oil bunkers to enable recovery operations to be conducted. Hydrography is the subject of a separate review.

Support to the police

Requirement: Provide vessels on an as-required basis for maritime emergencies or support to police investigations.

  1. Tasks include search and rescue, providing surface patrol support for police investigations, and obstacle discovery and retrieval.
  2. These requirements cannot be predicted but rely on the same capabilities used for other tasks in the EEZ.

Total civilian agency requirement

  1. Consultation with civilian agencies identified that, with multi-tasking, approximately 1371 surface patrol days were required to meet their collective patrol requirements in the EEZ. Most response patrols are met by the capacity to undertake programmed tasks. Analysis determined that, with multi-crewing, seven additional vessels would be required to meet the full requirement. Four additional vessels would be required just to meet the priority one requirements.
  2. The requirements are shown on Tables 2 and 3.

Table 2: Non-Military task requirements of the Navy

Role Principal Agency (s) Planned / Response Full requirement (days) % of total
EEZ, Southern Ocean and South Pacific Patrols Fisheries, DoC, MAF, MFAT, Customs, NZDF, Police Planned / Response 1279 93.2
Sealift (Civilian) DoC, MFAT Planned 45 3.3
Pollution Control MSA, DoC Response 20 1.5
Disaster Relief NZDF, MFAT Response 15 1.1
Search & Rescue NRCC, Police Response 12 0.9
Total     1,371 100%

(Please note that the numbers in this table reflect the multi-tasking assumptions applied by the Review team to requirements provided by departments. This has meant that EEZ patrols include tasks for a number of agencies. This accounts for the variation in days between those provided by individual departments, and the data that appears in the table.)

Table 3: Tasks by priority

Task Full Requirement
% of Total
Priority 1 Tasks 867 63.2%
Priority 2 Tasks 867 63.2%
Priority 3 Tasks 867 63.2%
Total 1,371 100%

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