US Navy recognizes Anzac frigate for help after USS Fitzgerald collision

The Royal New Zealand Navy’s Anzac frigate HMNZS Te Kaha received an award by the US Navy at the Devonport Naval Base on November 2. 

Photo: Royal NZ Navy

The award recognised the support provided by the ship’s company to the US Navy for a week in June/July last year.

Te Kaha demonstrated the highest standards of seamanship and readiness when directed to extend her deployment to support the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet after a collision between the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald and a Philippines container ship off the coast of Japan in June 2017, US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said when presenting the award.

Admiral Richardson said Te Kaha “flawlessly transitioned to help provide security and protection as part of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.”

“Te Kaha expertly executed a full range of military missions. She conducted rendezvous with US Navy ships, a replenishment at sea, sea rider exchanges, a passenger transfer, formation steaming and division tactics, as well as commanding a Surface Action Group,” according to Admiral Richardson.

“The synchronized efforts of this exceptional ship and crew enabled uninterrupted regional security, maritime operations, and training for the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group,” he added.

The Seasprite helicopter on Te Kaha performed the first deck landing of a Royal New Zealand Navy helicopter on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.

The US Navy’s destroyer Fitzgerald was heavily damaged in a collision with Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal. Seven sailors lost their lives and the ship was damaged on her starboard side above and below the waterline.