A 26,000 ton Polar-class warship built for the New Zealand Navy by Hyundai Heavy has left South Korea for delivery to the customer.
The ship, named Aotearoa, left Ulsan, 414km southeast of capital Seoul, late Tuesday. The order for the naval tanker, estimated to be worth $493 million, was signed in July 2016.
According to the New Zealand Navy, the support vessel will replace the fleet tanker Endeavour that decommissioned in December 2017 after more than 30 years of service. The 173.2m-long ship can attain maximum speed of 16kt.
It will incorporate features including ice-strengthening and ‘winterisation’ features for operations in Antarctica. Aotearoa has the capacity to carry up to 22 containers of supplies and have the ability to produce 100 tonnes of fresh water each day. It will carry 9,500 tonnes of fuel enough to ‘fill up’ a frigate like TE MANA or TE KAHA almost 14 times. In addition, the boat will be able to carry and operate a Navy Seasprite or RNZAF NH90 helicopter. Aotearoa will have a core crew of 64 plus 11 flight crew.
Besides working on 6,000 ton Korea Destroyer Next Generation (KDDX) destroyers, Hyundai Heavy is currently developing Landing Platform eXperimental (LPX)-Ⅱ, a next-generation amphibious assault ship, for the South Korean Navy. A contract to build the warship, capable of operating short take-off and vertical landing jets, was inked last year.