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RNZN commissions new hydrographic vessel

07 June 2019
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The RNZN’s new hydrography ship, HMNZS Manawanui, is seen here before it was commissioned on 7 June at the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland. Source: RNZN

The Royal New Zealand Navy's (RNZN's) new hydrographic and diving support vessel has entered service, according to a statement issued by the government of New Zealand.

HMNZS Manawanui was commissioned on 7 June in a ceremony held at the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland, and presided over by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The 84.7 m-long vessel, which is set to be home-ported at Gisborne on the country's North Island, had arrived in New Zealand a few weeks earlier following a 46 day-long journey from Denmark.

It sailed into Wellington Harbour on 12 May after leaving the Danish port of Frederikshavn on its delivery voyage to New Zealand via the Panama Canal: a distance of 11,570 n miles (21,427 km). Manawanui had been sent to Denmark from Norway in February to be fitted out and conduct subsequent sea trials according to RNZN requirements.

The ship, which had previously been in service as a commercial offshore support vessel known as Edda Fonn, was procured by New Zealand in August 2018 for NZD103 million (USD67.3 million) to fulfil operational gaps in the RNZN's diving support and maritime survey capabilities following the retirement of the service᾿s hydrographic ship, HMNZS Resolution, in 2012 and of the dive tender HMNZS Manawanui in 2018.

The new vessel, which bears pennant number A 09, has an overall beam of 18 m, a hull draught of 6.3 m, and is equipped with a 100-tonne salvage crane. Powered by four diesel-electric engines driving two azimuth propulsion systems, the 5,700-tonne vessel can reach a top speed of 13 kt.

The ship, which is also fitted with a diving chamber and a helicopter flight deck, can accommodate a core crew of 39, with 27 more bunks for mission-specific personnel.

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