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New Zealand’s Royal Navy vessel HMNZS Canterbury has left for Raoul Island.
The vessel has taken Metservice New Zealand and GNS Science staff to assess and provide maintenance to critical weather systems and tsunami warning systems.
Staff will be transported, including equipment, via Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) NH90 and Seasprite helicopters.
A re-supply mission meant to leave on Monday was delayed a week and scaled back after Auckland went into COVID-19 Alert Level 3. Young people and teachers were scheduled to go on the ship, but it was cancelled.
The mission will now go ahead over the next week. It will be the first major resupply mission since March 2020, after the Department of Conservation staff left the island.
Maritime Component Commander Commodore Matt Williams said due to Friday’s earthquake and tsunami warnings, and it was a reminder of how important the early warning systems are.
“We will continue to monitor the situation in the Kermadec Islands, including consulting with our colleagues in GNS Science,” said Commodore Matt Williams.
GNS Science Remote Infrastructure Operations Coordinator Kris O’Brien said GeoNet technicians would be able to carry out critical repairs to GNS equipment and attempt to improve power systems.
“Raoul Island’s strategic location means it is important to New Zealand’s earthquake and tsunami monitoring. The two tsunami gauges located on Raoul can give us useful information about any tsunami caused by an earthquake in the region,” said Mr Kris O’Brien.
MetService’s Network Observations Manager, Steve Knowles, said Metservise staff would be able to carry out routine work on their automatic weather station, including replacing a 60-year-old weather balloon launching facility.
“It will improve safety for Raoul Island Department of Conversation staff who launch meteorological balloons on behalf of MetService. The balloon data contributes to global weather models and adds another layer of data to help in the tracking of tropical cyclones,” said Mr Steve Knowles.
“MetService’s Raoul Island Automatic Weather Station, which measures atmospheric pressure, rainfall, solar radiation, bright sunshine hours, temperature, wind speed and direction, will also be checked and serviced to ensure continued trouble-free operation and transmission of data back to our Wellington HQ.”
Image: SUPPLIED/NZ Defence Force
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