Nigel Clifford joined Maritime NZ in 2008 as Manager of the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ. He then headed up the Safety and Response Systems Group, looking after maritime incident response, marine pollution response, national coordination of search and rescue services, marine communications and aids to navigation, Pacific Island maritime safety support, and maritime intelligence. Along the way, he also managed the Corporate Services Group and the policy and legal teams for short periods.
Nigel works extensively in the international maritime incident response arena, including for the International Maritime Organization – where he is Vice Chair of the Navigation, Communication and Search and Rescue Sub-Committee and Chair of the Search and Rescue Working Group – and the emergency distress beacon organisation, Cospas-Sarsat. He was part of the Maritime NZ senior management team involved in the RENA response and Exercise Director for the Whakautu series of large-scale, multi-party, maritime incident response exercises.
Before joining Maritime NZ, Nigel was in the United Kingdom Royal Air Force (UK RAF) for 25 years as an operational fast jet pilot and flying instructor – on Tornado strike aircraft and Hawk trainers. He also held roles in operational requirements, procurement and project management, and finished as a squadron commander on a fast jet training squadron. He flew extensively in the Gulf region and on exchange duties with the Royal New Zealand Air Force, flying the Douglas A4 Skyhawk.
After leaving the UK RAF in 2006, Nigel and his family moved to New Zealand, where he joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force before making the move to Maritime NZ .