After four months away and 80,000 hours of refurbishment undertaken in Singapore, the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN’s) multirole vessel HMNZS Canterbury (L421) proudly sailed into Waitemat? Harbour yesterday after a two-week transit, ready and willing to take on any operation. HMNZS Canterbury finished an approximately two-month maintenance period at ST Engineering’s marine division in Benoi, Singapore. A range of refurbishment activities undertaken, some of which can only be conducted while the ship is in dry dock. There are no dry dock facilities in New Zealand that can accommodate a ship of Canterbury’s size.
HMNZS Canterbury is a multi-role vessel (MRV) of the Royal New Zealand Navy. She was commissioned in June 2007, and is the second ship of the Royal New Zealand Navy to carry the name. Conceived as part of Project Protector, the ship was built in the Netherlands by Merewede Shipyards and fitted out by Tenix Shipbuilding (now BAE Systems Australia) in Williamstown. She is also New Zealand’s first purpose-built strategic sealift ship. Canterbury was delivered to the Ministry of Defence and commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy on 12 June 2007. Canterbury is the second ship of this name to serve in the Royal New Zealand Navy. Canterbury provides the New Zealand Defence Force with the ability to transport personnel, vehicles, and supplies around New Zealand’s and overseas.
As a sealift ship, Canterbury is not intended to enter combat, or conduct opposed landings under fire. The ship’s armament consists of a single 25 mm M242 Bushmaster cannon fitted to an MSI DS25 stabilised mount, two .50 calibre machine guns, and a number of small arms. These are intended for self-defence against other smaller craft, and for ocean patrol duties (for example the intercepting of suspicious civilian craft) during a naval blockade. The ship is equipped to embark up to eight containers of ammunition and up to two with hazardous materials, and also has an extensive fire sprinkler system. The ship also contains a gym, workshops, an armoury and magazine, as well as offices for government officials embarked (such as Department of Conservation or NIWA scientists).
HMNZS Canterbury is able to accommodate up to four NH90 helicopters for deployment ashore in support of New Zealand Army operations and disaster relief activities. She is also capable of operating the SH-2G Seasprite and the helicopter deck is able to handle a Chinook-size helicopter. The ship has cargo space of 1,451 square metres (15,620 sq ft), which can be unloaded via two ramps, either from the starboard side or the stern. The indicative cargo would encompass (as one possible loadout): 14 Pinzgauer Light Operational Vehicles, 16 NZLAV light armoured vehicles, 7 Unimog trucks, 2 ambulances, 2 flatbed trucks, 7 vehicle trailers, 2 rough terrain forklifts, 4 ATV-type vehicles and up to 33 20 ft TEU containers.