A hydrographer from the Navy’s Littoral Warfare Unit at the helm of a survey boat in South Bay, Kaikoura.
22 February 2017
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has sent eight hydrographers to Kaikoura to survey its sea floor and map the shifts caused by last November’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
Lieutenant Commander Philip Davies, who leads the Military Hydrographic Group of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s Littoral Warfare Unit, said the month-long survey that started in early February would prioritise the approaches to North Wharf and South Bay and nearby areas that were used as anchorages by boat operators.
“Results of the survey will be used by Land Information New Zealand to update the nautical chart of the Kaikoura Peninsula,” Lieutenant Commander Davies said.
The hydrographic survey used the Navy’s single-beam echo sounder and side-scan sonar, he said.
Hydrographers believe the seafloor shifted during the massive 14 November earthquake. With actual depths now significantly less than charted depths, nautical charts are no longer accurate and safe navigation in the region has become an issue.
The NZDF mobilised 815 personnel, 11 aircraft and four ships to support the Government’s disaster relief operation in Kaikoura. Three foreign warships, in New Zealand in November to take part in the Navy’s 75th anniversary, also diverted to Kaikoura to help the national relief effort.