Niue is the first port of call for the Royal New Zealand HMNZS Manawanui carrying a crew of seventy, arrived Alofi this morning in the start of a seven-week deployment including Fiji and Vanuatu.
While in Niue the HMNZS Manawanui, captained by Commander Yvonne Gray, will transport seven Niueans from government authorities and NGOs to conduct an inspection of Beveridge Reef tomorrow returning in the weekend.
While on the island next week, the ships company will visit the two schools and host a ‘Women in Maritime’ networking event.
Commander Yvonne Gray told BCN News that 27 percent of her crew are female and of the six Royal New Zealand Navy fleet at sea now, four are captained by women.
After Niue, the HMNZS Manawanui will head to Fiji to carry out hydrographic surveyors from Fiji’s Military Forces and the RNZ Navy’s Littoral Support Unit HMNZS Matataua working together to conduct two maritime surveys of the Koro Sea east of Viti Levu which was last surveyed in 1895.
Operation Calypso will move on to Vanuatu where Explosive Ordnance Disposal divers from the HMNZS Matataua are tasked with the disposal of four 500lb bombs left submerged in Port Vila harbour after the Second World War.
Commander Gray told BCN News that they hope to be home by Christmas but they are also the duty ship carrying Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief Supplies.
“We are the ready ship. We’re carrying aid with us right now from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) so if there were to be a cyclone or any other major weather event then we’re the ones on the hook” but we’re eight hours notice and ready to move if required.
Commander Yvonne Gray said the ship’s company are excited about the deployment and look forward to enjoying Niuean hospitality and the island before leaving for Fiji next week.