Navy tanker bids farewell

Taranaki Daily News - - Front Page - MIKE WAT­SON

The Royal New Zealand Navy’s tanker ship, HMNZS En­deav­our, has sailed or 1.5 mil­lion kilo­me­tres in three decades of ser­vice – the equiv­a­lent of cir­cum­nav­i­gat­ing the world 40 times.

Un­der the watch of Com­man­der Martin Doolan and 56 crew mem­bers the 30-year-old ship en­tered its home port, Port Taranaki, on Tues­day for the last time be­fore decommissioning next month.

Af­ter a ‘‘lumpy’’ few days sail­ing from Syd­ney to Ho­bart the weather turned favourable for the crew as they crossed the Tas­man Sea, Doolan said.

‘‘It’s been a re­ally good start to our fi­nal de­ploy­ment to New Ply­mouth, the weather was kind to us across the Tas­man and com­ing here is the ic­ing on the cake.

‘‘It was great to see the chil­dren of Mo­turoa School wel­com­ing us with a haka on Ngâ­motu Beach.’’

The five-day visit to New Ply­mouth will in­clude an of­fi­cial re­cep­tion and civic pa­rade to hand over the char­ter and an open pub­lic day at the week­end, as well as school vis­its and a pub­lic con­cert by the Royal New Zealand Navy Band.

The ship will be in port un­til Mon­day when it sails for Devon­port Naval Base in Auck­land for destor­ing and decommissioning on De­cem­ber 15, Doolan said.

‘‘That will be pretty much it for us it is sad to say,’’ he said.

Af­ter decommissioning the ship’s com­pany will be ‘‘dis­persed to the four winds’’, he said.

‘‘Ev­ery­one has a post­ing ei­ther on shore or to other ships in the navy. That’s the way of the world in the navy – you come off one ship and go onto an­other.’’

Doolan said he will be posted on­shore in Devon­port.

‘‘I’ve spent a fair time at sea in the past five years,’’ he said.

Since be­ing launched and com­mis­sioned at the Usan ship­yards in South Korea in 1988, the HMNZS En­deav­our has com­pleted 1500 re­plen­ish­ments, trans­fer­ring 210 mil­lion litres of fuel at sea.

The ship has chalked up some no­table firsts, in­clud­ing be­ing the first RNZN tanker to re­fuel a RNZN frigate at sea and hav­ing the first woman com­mand­ing of­fi­cer, Com­man­der San­dra Walker, ap­pointed to a ma­jor fleet ves­sel.

In 2010 the ship berthed at Seat­tle, the first by a RNZN ves­sel to ar­rive at a main­land port in the USA in a quar­ter of a cen­tury.

And the re­plen­ish­ment ves­sel’s crew, with the motto ‘Fu­elling the Fight’, have never been far from the ac­tion.

The En­deav­our has played a ma­jor sup­port role dur­ing up­ris­ings, and later peace keep­ing in Bougainville, East Ti­mor and the Gulf War.

Al­most a year ago it was on hand to help evac­u­ate res­i­dents, pets and bee­hives from earth­quake-hit Kaik­oura and re­cently it was de­ployed for sea go­ing oper­a­tions in South East Asia.

The HMNZS En­deav­our is to be re­placed by the high tech HMNZS Aotearoa in 2020 at a cost of $500 mil­lion.

New Ply­mouth is the ship’s home port.

PHO­TOS: ANDY JACK­SON/STUFF

The New Zealand Navy’s HMNZS En­deav­our is on its decommissioning visit to its home port in New Ply­mouth.

Above, En­deav­our’s Com­man­der Martin Doolan.

The HMNZS Aotearoa will re­place the En­deav­our.

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