South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has won a NZD 493 million (USD 350 million) contract to build a naval tanker for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
The vessel, whose purchase has been approved by the New Zealand Government, is expected to be delivered by 2020.
The tanker will be ice-strengthened and winterized for operations in Antarctica, the country’s defence minister Gerry Brownlee said.
The project is said to support a full range of NZDF deployments, including maritime sustainment and humanitarian and disaster relief operations.
The new tanker would replace the 30-year-old tanker HMNZS Endeavour, which currently provides fuel to Royal New Zealand Navy and other partner nations’ ships and embarked helicopters, and supplies fuel and fresh water to support land operations. The tanker is due to retire in 2018.
“The Defence Force can’t operate without fuel, water, ammunition and other bulk goods, and the most effective way to deliver fuel to ships, aircraft and vehicles deployed overseas is by tanker. This vessel will be significantly larger, will be able to refuel two ships at a time while underway, carry and refuel Defence Force helicopters, produce and store water, and store and transport bulk goods,” New Zealand’s defence minister, Gerry Brownlee, said.
With 2016 being one of the toughest years for the shipbuilding industry, HHI is one of the South Korean “Big Three” shipbuilders struggling to attract new shipbuilding orders.
The company submitted its self-rescue plan in May and following an approval from its creditors, HHI said last month it intends to implement a USD 3.02 billion worth management improvement plan by 2018.