Largest ever Navy ship arrives today

By Jessica Tyson

The largest-ever Royal New Zealand Navy ship, the HMNZS Aotearoa, is due to arrive today at Devonport Navy Base.

Aotearoa was launched in April last year in Ulsan, South Korea and was due to arrive in New Zealand earlier in the year but there was a delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The $493 million ship is a 26,000-tonne tanker and replenishment ship. Aotearoa will replace the fleet tanker Endeavor, which was decommissioned in December 2017 after more than 30 years of service.

Aotearoa boasts state-of-the-art design and capability features including ice-strengthening and ‘winterisation’ features for operations in Antarctica. The ship can carry up to 22 containers of supplies and can produce 100 tonnes of fresh water each day, particularly useful when providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

Aotearoa's formal naming ceremony was held in Ulsan, South Korea in October 2019. She was named by the Governor-General of New Zealand, and ship sponsor, Dame Patsy Reddy.

The ship will assist the Royal New Zealand Navy's combat operations, humanitarian relief functions and operational and training support.

Aotearoa will provide global resupply of ship and aviation fuel, dry goods, water, spare parts and ammunition to New Zealand, coalition maritime, land and air units and UN security operations.