The New Zealand Navy’s brand new, purpose-built logistic support ship’s delivery was delayed due to coronavirus outbreak.
HMNZS Aotearoa was originally set to be delivered in January 2020 when it was christened three years ago before construction started in Hyundai Heavy Industries, South Korea. But coronavirus caused latency in the works of commissioning and delivery plans for the tanker, the largest ship ever to be operated by the Royal New Zealand Navy.
After Covid-19 cases emerged in South Korea in February, the NZ Defence Force (NZDF) decided to return home some members of the Maritime Sustainment Capability project team.
An NZDF spokeswoman said several suppliers had been unable to travel to Ulsan to complete system commissioning and testing, due to international travel restrictions, and the project team were working on options for completing the work.
The supply chain for the ship’s builder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) was also affected by a reduced manufacturing and transportation capacity, the spokeswoman said.
In addition, the pandemic affected training courses for New Zealand based crew of Aotearoa.
Meanwhile, HHI is in the final stages of sorting out “minor issues” identified during inspections, the spokeswoman said. Since December, Aotearoa underwent a range sea trial off the coast of Ulsan.
They included tests of the ship’s seaworthiness along with its engines and automated systems. Further trials are set for May.
HMNZS AOTEAROA Specifications:
• Class: Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR)
• Shipbuilder: Hyundai Heavy Industries, Ulsan, South Korea
• Propulsion System: Combined Diesel Electric and Diesel (CODLAD) provided by 2 x Bergen B33:45L9P diesels supplemented by 2 x electric power take in motors. 2 x flap rudders and 2 x controllable pitch propellers
• Power generation 4 x 2.6MW MTU 20V4000M53B, 1 x 410kw STX KTA19DMGE emergency generator
• Length: 173.2 metres
• Beam: 24.5 metres
• Draught: 8.4 metres
• Displacement: (full) 26000 tonnes
• Range: 6750 nautical miles
• Design speed: 16 knots
• Total liquid cargo capacity: 9500 tonnes
• Dry goods cargo capacity 22 x twenty foot equivalent units
• Core Crew: 64
• Bunks: 100 (including 2 in the sick bay and a VIP cabin)
• Future home port: New Plymouth