The Royal New Zealand Navy has held an official naming ceremony for its new tanker at Hyundai Heavy Industries’ shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.
HMZS Aotearea, which will be the largest ship in the navy fleet once it is delivered, was named after being launched in April this year.
Following her sea trials, Aotearoa will sail to New Zealand in the second quarter of next year and will be formally commissioned at the Devonport Naval Base.
“Our excellent relationship with Hyundai Heavy Industries goes back more than 30 years and with Aotearoa the RNZN will take possession soon of a maritime sustainment vessel that will be one of the most technologically advanced available,” Rear Admiral David Proctor said at the naming ceremony.
HMNZS Aotearoa is designed to provide logistical support to New Zealand and coalition maritime, land and air units.
Her primary purpose is to conduct fuel resupply but she will also be capable of supplying dry goods, water, spare parts or ammunition. Her missions will include humanitarian and disaster relief, support to United Nations security operations, support to a coalition naval task group and Antarctic resupply.
Featuring a wave-piercing hull form, the 173.2-meter-long ship will have the ability to carry twelve 20-foot shipping containers, high-capacity freshwater generation plants, self-defense systems, aviation and marine fuel cargo tanks, dual all-electric replenishment-at-sea rigs and will be able to carry a Seaspite or NH90 helicopter.
Aotearoa will displace 26,000 tonnes and will be operated by a crew of 64.
The ship’s $493 million price tag includes the tanker’s enhanced “winterization” capabilities, such as ice-strengthening for operations in Antarctica, including resupplying McMurdo Station and Scott Base. Predecessor tanker HMNZS Endeavour was not Antarctic-capable.