The Royal New Zealand Navy’s frigate HMNZS Wellington arrived in the Kingdom of Tonga yesterday for recovery and support in the wake of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption and tsunami that has claimed the lives of three people.
The New Zealand Defence Force says hydrographers were immediately deployed to survey the approaches to Nuku’alofa in preparation for the arrival this morning of the auxiliary ship HMNZS Aotearoa.
NZ Defence Minister Peeni Henare says, “the Wellington’s first task will be to check shipping channels and wharf approaches to Tonga’s port to ensure vessels can go alongside, and check the structural integrity of the wharf.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta says, “Water is among the highest priorities for Tonga, and the Aotearoa can carry 250,000 litres, and produce 70,000 litres per day through a desalination plant.”
New Zealand is also preparing to deploy the multi-role HMNZS Canterbury, with two NH90 helicopters on board, and plans to leave on Saturday.
Image Credit: Royal New Zealand Navy / NZ Defence Force / NZ Government – Facebook