- Hyundai has laid down a 173 m fleet tanker on order for the Royal New Zealand Navy
- Country is on track to receive the vessel, which will support global deployments of the New Zealand Defence Force, by 2020
South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has laid down the fleet tanker on order for the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN).
Keel for the vessel, which will be in service as HMNZS Aotearoa (A 12) once commissioned, was laid down on 13 August at HHI’s facilities in Ulsan, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) announced via an official social publishing platform on the same day. The tanker was acquired under a NZD493 million (USD323 million) contract announced in 2016.
Once completed, Aotearoa will displace 24,000 tonnes with an overall length of 166 m, an overall beam of 24.5 m, and a design draught of 8.5 m – making it the largest vessel to be operated by the RNZN. The tanker will incorporate an ‘axe bow’ design in its forward section for fuel efficiency, has a top speed of 16 kt, and a maximum range of 6,750 n miles.
The ship, which has been described by the NZDF as one that is “built specifically to address global requirements of the New Zealand Defence Force and government agencies for deployment from Antarctica to the Arabian Gulf”, will have liquid cargo capacity for 8,000 tonnes of diesel fuel, 1,550 tonnes of aviation fuel, and 250 tonnes of fresh water. Fuel for vessels can be delivered via two NATO-compliant replenishment-at-sea (RAS) masts, one each on the port and starboard sides.
Besides fuels and conventional cargo, the tanker can also accommodate up to 12 standardised 20 ft containers, four of which can contain dangerous goods such as ammunition. The ship will be equipped with a winterised crane that can lift to 25 tonnes.
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