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HMNZS Canterbury Heading To Sea For Humanitarian Tasks In Pacific Islands

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
HMNZS Canterbury
HMNZS Canterbury

22 May 2009 - Navy Amphibious Support Ship, HMNZS CANTERBURY will depart the Devonport Naval Base at 10 am on Sunday 24 May bound for Pukapuka in the Cook Islands in support of a NZAID led humanitarian mission. Enroute, CANTERBURY will call in at Raoul Island to drop off 20,000 litres of fuel.

Called Exercise TROPIC TWILIGHT, this humanitarian mission is part of an annual deployment to a South Pacific Nation to conduct close country training in a tropical environment. This year's focus is on the deployment of health services support (medical and dental) and engineers to the island.

This mission will see the first time that two Seasprite Helicopters have been embarked and operated from a Royal New Zealand Navy Ship - both helicopters will be used to transport personnel and supplies from HMNZS CANTERBURY to Pukapuka, which due to the very shallow waters surrounding the island, makes it impossible for any boat transfers.

Under the command of Commander Jim Gilmour, HMNZS CANTERBURY and her core ships company of 91 personnel, will sail from Apia to Pukapuka with an extra 60 personnel; consisting of NZ Army, Territorial Force and civilian medical and dental personnel.

CANTERBURY will berth alongside Apia on 29 May and depart for Pukapuka on 1 June. Exercise Tropic Twilight will be conducted on Pukapuka from 2 - 16 June with HMNZS CANTERBURY scheduled to arrive back in Apia to unload personnel on 17 June thence will make her way back home to New Zealand.

Also loaded onboard HMNZS CANTERBURY bound for Apia are 6 boxes of New Zealand Law Commission reports which will be gifted to the Samoa Law Reform Commission.

The Maritime Component Commander, Commodore Ross Smith, says "TROPIC TWILIGHT provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate CANTERBURY's capabilities in these types of operations and also to demonstrate the ship's ability to support the other two services and other government agencies."

HMNZS CANTERBURY will return home to the Devonport Naval Base on 24 June.

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