WELLINGTON, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Two New Zealand navy ships will set sail this week to launch a major international mission to Asia, the Royal New Zealand Navy announced Saturday.
Anzac-class frigate HMNZS Te Mana would leave Monday to visit ports in Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, China, South Korea and Japan, before returning to New Zealand in June, Maritime Component Commander, Commodore John Martin, said in a statement.
The deployment would cover a range of objectives and offer support to multiple government agencies, as well as intense training exercises and diplomatic and trade duties.
"Te Mana will be working intensively in one of the world's busiest sea lanes. Exercises such as this ensure our navy is ready to respond effectively to any situation which may impact our economic livelihood," said Martin.
"New Zealand relies on the sea to transport 99 percent of its imports and exports," he said.
"Ensuring New Zealand's ocean lifelines remain open and secure is the navy's number one priority, and maintaining strong working relationships with our partner navies is a vital component in achieving this."
Fleet replenishment tanker HMNZS Endeavour, leaving Sunday, would join the Te Mana for the first three weeks, training together in Australian waters and providing support to both Australia and New Zealand as the on-duty regional response tanker.
"Overseas deployments are a chance to reinforce New Zealand's interests abroad. The navy is not just working at sea, our presence in foreign ports lifts New Zealand's international profile, and helps protect our national interests," said Martin.