27 August 2018
Gisborne has been chosen as the honorary home port for the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN) newly purchased dive and hydrographic vessel.
Image of what the future HMNZS Manawanui will look like.
On 22 August Minister of Defence Ron Mark announced the purchase of the 85-metre Edda Fonn, a 15-year-old survey and light construction vessel from Norwegian firm Østensjø Rederi AS, as the replacement for decommissioned dive tender HMNZS Manawanui and hydrographic survey ship HMNZS Resolution.
The new ship will be renamed HMNZS Manawanui, the fourth RNZN ship to bear that name. The former Manawanui’s home port was Whitianga.
Gisborne was chosen as the home port for the new Manawanui because it was the home port of HMNZS Resolution and HMNZS Monowai. Resolution paid a final visit to Gisborne before she was decommissioned on 27 April, 2012.
The practice of home ports relates to the awarding of charters to individual ships and the name of the ship. HMNZS Resolution had a charter with Gisborne, which gave permission for the ship’s company to conduct formal parades in the district.
Ships such HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Wellington would automatically have Dunedin and Wellington respectively as their home ports.
Commander Matt Wray, a Hydrographic Survey officer and the last Commanding Officer of HMNZS Resolution, said a ship’s visit to its home port was an occasion the ship’s company looked forward to.
“Gisborne always made Resolution welcome and it is wonderful the Navy is reconnecting with the district after six years. I said to the Mayor, Meng Foon, when the Resolution had its last visit that the Navy won’t forget Gisborne,” Commander Wray said.
“It’s really pleasing for me to see our traditional link with Gisborne renewed with the hydrographic trade, and now the diving trade.”
The Edda Fonn was chosen as the most suitable option from a list of 150 vessels reviewed.
The Ministry of Defence procurement team has had an excellent relationship with the owner, Østensjø Rederi AS, which will undertake the first RNZN-required modifications before the ship sails for New Zealand in March 2019.
Once commissioned in New Zealand, HMNZS Manawanui will have final modifications and be in service by November 2019. The budget for the project is $103 million.
Mr Mark described the vessel as a great addition to the RNZN, filling capability gaps in diving, salvage and hydrography.
“It will be in service three years earlier than a purpose-built ship would have been.”