Former New Zealand Navy ship delivered to new owner

More than 75 years after the Second World War, decommissioned Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) diving support vessel Manawanui will soon be fighting environmental hazards at key sites across the southern Pacific.

RNZN file photo of HMNZS Manawanui

Decommissioned from the RNZN in February 2018 after 30 years of service, former HMNZS Manawanui has been handed over to her new owners at HMNZS Philomel, the Devonport Naval Base, the navy said.

The ship was bought by the parent company of Major Projects Group, an Australian company that intends to use her for research, education and the prevention of potential oil spill damage.

The foundation will use the ship to do research into slowing the corrosion of shipwrecks to determine out how much bunker oil remains. Its mission is to preserve maritime heritage, protect dive sites that generate national income and circumvent potentially catastrophic oil spills.

Key to the foundation’s work will be ships sunk in Second World War battles across the Pacific. Some of them are leaking oil, 75 years after the war that raged across the Pacific.

Renamed MV Recovery, she will be sailed to Australia in mid-July by Australian volunteers for a refit. She will then spend several months on shakedown research missions off the Australian east coast before heading into the Pacific to work on maritime and environmental conservation efforts, according to the navy.

Commissioned into the navy in 1988, Manawanui was originally built in 1979 as a diving support vessel, the Star Perseus, for North Sea oil rig operations.

She was the third ship of this name to serve in the RNZN.