HMNZS Canterbury, the Navy’s newest and largest ship, was officially commissioned into service in Melbourne today by the Right Honourable Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Rear Admiral David Ledson, Chief of Navy, said, “The commissioning of Canterbury formalises the ship becoming part of the Navy. It's a great occasion for the Navy and for the Defence Force as we can now start working towards fully exploiting the tremendous range of new capabilities the ship gives us.”
Commander Tony Millar, Commanding Officer of HMNZS Canterbury, said “The ship’s company can be rightly proud of all of the work they have put in, and all they have accomplished in such a short period. They are great New Zealanders.”
HMNZS Canterbury’s formal handover occurred on 31 May. She will arrive in Lyttelton for her homecoming on June 28. She will then visit Timaru between 4 and 6 July before arriving at the Devonport Naval Base, the home of the Navy, in late July.
The Multi-Role Vessel Canterbury is the first of seven new ships built for the Royal New Zealand Navy under Project Protector. She is affiliated to the Canterbury Region. She was built at the Merwede Shipyard in the Netherlands, under contract to Tenix. Canterbury’s design is based on a commercial RO-RO ship, Ben-My-Chree in operation in the Irish Sea.
Canterbury will have diesel-electric propulsion and a maximum speed of just over 19 knots. She will provide a sealift capability for the transport and deployment of equipment, vehicles and personnel, and capable of transferring cargo and personnel ashore in benign conditions (up to sea state 3) when port facilities are not available.
Canterbury has two 59-tonne Landing Craft Medium (LCM) capable of carrying 50 tonnes at 9 knots with a range of 250 nm.