The Royal New Zealand Navy took delivery of a new fleet tanker in Auckland on June 26.
The Aotearoa was built by Hyundai heavy Industries in South Korea, and will replace the HMNZS Endeavour in service as the RNZN’s new fleet tanker. She is due to be commissioned at her home port of Devonport in July.
“Aotearoa is the Royal New Zealand Navy’s new fleet tanker and will extend the fleet’s range and endurance during operations that span from Antarctica to the Equator and beyond,” said Defence Minister Ron Mark in a June 25 statement. “Aotearoa has been designed to support both combat and civilian operations, and to deliver humanitarian relief and support for disaster recovery.
“Sea trials were successfully undertaken in February and March,” Mr Mark added. “While most of the work has been completed in South Korea, final work and testing of specialised military systems will be completed in New Zealand.”
The new vessel has an ice-capable bow, a large flight deck, can carry up to 22 containers of supplies and 9,500 tonnes of offload-able fuel, and can produce 100 tonnes of fresh water per day. It arrived in Auckland Harbour accompanied by a small flotilla of naval and private vessels, and an overflight of an RNZAF C-130H Hercules and P-3K Orion.