WELLINGTON, New Zealand, July 19 (UPI) — New Zealand’s Ministry of Defense announced Monday it will purchase a $346 million naval tanker from Hyundai Heavy Industries.
The new tanker for the country’s Defense Force will be ice-strengthened and winterized for Antarctic operations, Wellington said in a statement.
The project will also support other needs, including maritime sustainment and humanitarian and disaster relief operations.
South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries is expected to deliver the new ship in 2020.
It replaces the 30-year-old HMNZS Endeavour, which currently provides fuel to New Zealand’s navy, as well as other partner nations’ ships and embarked helicopters. It also supplies fuel and fresh water in support of land operations.
The ship is due to retire in 2018.
Its replacement will conduct a similar role but will be significantly larger.
The purchase falls in line with the recently released Defense White Paper that called for more emphasis on protecting southern ocean resources and supporting New Zealand’s civilian presence in Antarctica.