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‘Largest Naval Vessel’ To Be Aotearoa


Tradition and global reputation have been combined in the naming of New Zealand’s largest naval vessel.

The Royal New Zealand Navy’s still-to-be-built Maritime Sustainment Capability Fleet replenishment tanker has been named HMNZS Aotearoa.

South Korean fi rm Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s biggest shipbuilder, will begin building Aotearoa next year for delivery in January 2020.

The $493 million, 24,000-tonne ship will replace the 30-year-old HMNZS Endeavour, which will be decommissioned next year.

The naming decision was made by fi ve members of a Navy panel, chaired by the Deputy Chief of Navy, Cdre David Gibbs.

The panel considered a range of names, then presented a shortlist of six to the Chief of Navy, RAdm John Martin, who made the fi nal choice. He says the name refl ects the importance of the ship to New Zealand.

“It’s a big name for a big ship. Aotearoa will represent us as a nation on the international stage whether conducting operational support, maritime sustainment or providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.”

RAdm Martin says Aotearoa will offer more than just the replenishment role provided by Endeavour. “It will have the ability to deploy anywhere in the world.

It has the ability to conduct embarked helicopter operations, and will be capable of carrying a signifi cant tonnage of operational supplies.

“And it will provide an important Antarctic support capability to assist with our Southern Ocean monitoring.”

He says Aotearoa will be a world-fi rst naval “environship” – Hyundai will use the Rolls-Royce Environship concept design under licence.

This incorporates a new wave-piercing hull form which reduces resistance and lowers fuel burn, while its combined diesel electric and diesel propulsion plant has lower fuel emissions than older vessels.

The vessel’s “winterisation” capabilities include ice-strengthening for operations in Antarctica, including resupplying McMurdo Station and Scott Base, supporting personnel in the Ross Dependency and monitoring activity in the Southern Ocean.