Sampson was already transiting the Western Pacific when it altered course to join the New Zealand-led task force efforts. Sampson’s visit to New Zealand is the first in 30 years for a U.S. Navy ship.
Also, a P-3C Orion assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 was participating in Exercise Mahi Tangaroa as part of the New Zealand International Naval Review when the earthquake occurred, and was tasked with assessing the area surrounding Kaikoura, New Zealand.
During its five-hour mission Nov. 15, the VP-47 aircrew – accompanied by two Royal New Zealand Air Force airmen – identified impassable roads covered in debris. Additionally, they assessed bridges that were cracked and buckling due to damage by the earthquake.
“Both our aircrew and our aircraft maintainers understand the urgency of these missions and are working around the clock to provide maritime patrol and humanitarian support to the people of New Zealand.”
– Cmdr. Jim Imlah
Executive officer, VP-47