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Navy's Te Kaha to support US Seventh Fleet

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/06/2017
HMNZS Te Kaha. © Andy Clark/Newscom/Reuters HMNZS Te Kaha.

The frigate HMNZS Te Kaha is extending its deployment in Asian waters to support the United States Seventh Fleet after the fatal collision involving the USS Fitzgerald.

Seven US sailors were killed when the Fitzgerald, a guided-missile destroyer, and a Philippines container ship collided off the Japanese coast on June 17.

Te Kaha is near Japan as part of the Royal New Zealand Navy's Naval Task Group deployment throughout Asia and Defence Minister Mark Mitchell says the US has accepted the offer of help.

The frigate's role will be to contribute to the security and protection of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.

Announcing the deployment on Monday, Mr Mitchell extended the government's condolences.

"Our thoughts are very much with the bereaved families and the crew of the USS Fitzgerald after this terrible event," he said.

Mr Mitchell said the US was quick to help when the Kaikoura earthquake struck last November.

The USS Sampson, a sister ship of the Fitzgerald and which was in Auckland for the RNZN's 75th anniversary celebrations, was sent to the South Island to help with the recovery effort.

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