HMNZS WELLINGTON arrives at the port of Suva with around 60 tonnes of aid supplies and 71 military personnel who will assist in Fiji’s disaster relief efforts
28 February 2016
The New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) offshore patrol vessel HMNZS WELLINGTON arrived in Suva this morning with around 60 tonnes of aid supplies and 71 military personnel who will assist in Fiji’s disaster relief efforts.
Lieutenant Commander (LTCDR) Matt Kaio, Commanding Officer of HMNZS WELLINGTON, said the ship will head to Fiji’s northern Lau group of islands after refuelling, loading three tonnes of food supplies and embarking six personnel from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.
He said that in the northern outlying islands, HMNZS WELLINGTON will deliver some essential aid, check the harbour and identify beaches that will be suitable for HMNZS CANTERBURY’s landing craft operations.
“Our job as the advance forces will be to survey the entrances into the reef and the anchorages so that HMNZS CANTERBURY has somewhere safe to operate from when she arrives here later this week,” LTCDR Kaio said.
The NZDF is deploying multi-role vessel HMNZS CANTERBURY to support the New Zealand government’s assistance to Fiji as it recovers from the cyclone. CANTERBURY has been loaded with aid supplies such as building materials, water storage tanks, tarpaulins and medical supplies that were funded by the NZ Aid Programme. It is scheduled to sail from Devonport late on Sunday.
“After delivering essential aid, we will be identifying and surveying suitable sites to enable CANTERBURY to efficiently deliver humanitarian assistance and aid to the northern outlying islands,” LTCDR Kaio said.
“We are working to the Fiji government’s priorities and their highest priority at the moment is for remote communities in the northern outlying islands to have access to food, water and shelter.”
The military personnel on board HMNZS WELLINGTON includes five military hydrographers and a Rapid Environmental Assessment vessel from the Royal New Zealand Navy’s Littoral Warfare Unit, seven New Zealand Army engineers, three logisticians and one environmental health specialist.
“Everyone is excited to be here and get stuck in and do our job. Fiji is a close neighbour and any good Kiwi will always help out his mates,” LTCDR Kaio said.
Footage of HMNZS WELLINGTON’s arrival at the port of Suva.