The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN)’s newest diving support and hydrographic survey vessel, HMNZS Manawanui headed out to sea for the first time for her Sea Acceptance Readiness Checks, according to the Navy.
The vessel formally commissioned during a ceremony at the Devonport Naval Base on June 7 last year.
In 2018, the New Zealand Government approved the purchase of a new dive and hydrographic support vessel for the Navy to fill an existing capability gap. The officials reviewed 150 vessels before identifying the 85-meter Norwegian built multi-role offshore support vessel MV Edda Fonn as suitable for conversion.
Following the purchase, Edda Fonn was modified for the use by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) converting it from a civilian vessel to a military vessel. The second stage of modifications was conducted in New Zealand. During these modifications, the vessel was outfitted with the dive and hydrographic systems required by the NZDF.
The new vessel replaces RNZN’s already decommissioned hydrographic survey ship HMNZS Resolution (A14) and diving support vessel HMNZS Manawanui (A09). The two vessels were decommissioned from the RNZN in 2012 and 2018 respectively, following several decades of service. Manawanui’s predecessor had a long history of service, including clearing unexploded ordnance from World War II in the Pacific, undertaking search and recovery, and inspecting hazards in sea lanes.
The modern design and systems of the new Manawanui will provide improved capacity, safety, and capability over the vessels it replaces. Some of the new and enhanced capabilities include a 100-ton salvage crane, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and a contemporary Dynamic Positioning (DP) system, which will allow the Navy’s specialist divers to achieve greater levels of effectiveness and safety, in a greater range of conditions.
The project budget for the purchase, modifications and introduction into service of the dive and hydrographic capability is $103 million.