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New Zealand’s largest vessel to date arrives home

HMNZS Aotearoa
Photo: Royal New Zealand Navy

Future HMZS Aotearoa, the largest ever vessel to be built for the Royal New Zealand Navy, sailed into Auckland Harbour on June 26.

The vessel arrived home following a 15-day voyage from South Korea, where it was built by South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries.

The fleet tanker and support ship is designed to provide logistical support to maritime, land and air units, replacing the HMNZS Endeavour, which was also built by Hyundai Shipyard in the 1980s.

Aotearoa’s primary purpose will be fuel resupply but the ship will also supply dry goods, water, spare parts or ammunition, with missions including humanitarian and disaster relief, and Antarctic resupply among others.

The ship’s design features a wave-piercing hull for increased stability and a flight deck and hangar for a Seasprite or an NH90 helicopter. It will be capable of carrying twelve 20-foot shipping containers, freshwater generation plants, self-defense systems, aviation and marine fuel cargo tanks, and dual replenishment-at-sea rigs.

The ship is also ice-strengthened to Polar Class level 6 for Southern Ocean monitoring and operations, including the resupply of McMurdo Station and Scott Base in the Antarctic. The 173-meter ship displaces 26,000 tons and has a complement of 64.

Photo: Royal New Zealand Navy