Royal New Zealand Navy train at HMS Raleigh

Members of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) have been training at HMS Raleigh in preparation for the delivery of their new refuelling vessel, HMNZS Aotearoa, in 2020.

The team of 19 have been using the replenishment-at-sea (RAS) training rig at the base in Torpoint, to practice transferring stores, fuel and other items from ship-to-ship at sea. 

The facility, which started life as a trials platform to test equipment for the new Queen Elizabeth Carriers, is run off a Rolls Royce electric system; the same system which will be fitted to HMNZS Aotearoa.

Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) Mark Te Kani, Executive Training Officer for the RNZN, said:  “As a prelude to receiving the ship, we are exposing some of our sailors, who will be posted to the Aotearoa, to the RAS system they will use on board. 

It’s been great to share knowledge and experience, and we are hoping that there may be other opportunities to work together in the future.

Lt Cdr Andy Taylor RN

The UK is one of the country’s, which we know of that has this system, so that’s why we have taken the opportunity to come here. 

The training is going well. We’ve gained a lot from the short-time we have been here and speaking to some of my sailors they are really enjoying the opportunity to train on a world-class training facility.”

During their two weeks at HMS Raleigh, the RNZN team has also been introduced to a high-performance mooring and towing system used by the Royal Navy.

Lt Cdr Te Kani said:  “This type of system, used to secure ships, is fairly new in the world.  Aotearoa will be delivered with this system, so we’ve taken the opportunity to have a look at the rope and do some rope-work; have a look at its qualities and understand the dynamics of the system itself. 

“Some of our Seaman Combat Specialists (SCS) have also been learning how to splice and how to manipulate the cordage.”

An invitation to train at HMS Raleigh was extended following a visit to the base by two Senior Officers from the RNZN earlier this year.

Lt Cdr Andy Taylor, Officer Commanding the Royal Navy School of Seamanship, said:  “We often open our training facilities to other Navies, particularly the crews of ships undergoing operational sea training in Plymouth. 

“However, this is the first time the Royal New Zealand Navy have trained with us.

"It’s been great to share knowledge and experience, and we are hoping that there may be other opportunities to work together in the future.”

HMNZS Aotearoa is the Maori indigenous name for New Zealand.  It will be the largest ship the RNZN has ever operated.  The 24,000-tonne ship will provide marine diesel and aviation fuel, along with a limited supply of food and ammunition.

HMNZS Aotearoa will also be ice-strengthened and have winterisation capability to allow her to operate in the Antarctica.