New Zealand Government has approved the purchase of a dive and hydrographic support vessel for the Royal New Zealand Navy.An 85-meter Norwegian built multi-role offshore support vessel, the MV Edda Fonn, will be purchased to fill an existing capability gap.Following purchase, the Edda Fonn will be outfitted with the dive and hydrographic systems required by the Defence Force, before being delivered to Devonport Naval Base in May 2019.“The MV Edda Fonn will be a great addition to the Navy,” said defence minister Ron Mark. “Not only will it meet the Government’s needs, it will be in service three years earlier than a newly built ship would have been.“This vessel will ensure that the current capability gaps for diving and hydrography are filled as quickly as possible, with a proven, well tested platform.”The dive and hydrographic vessel will replace HMNZS Resolution and HMNZS Manawanui. The two vessels were decommissioned from the RNZN in 2012 and 2018 respectively, following several decades of service.The new vessel will provide improved capacity, speed, safety, and capability over the previous vessels. Some of the new and enhanced capabilities include a 100t salvage crane, a remotely operated vehicle and a contemporary dynamic positioning system, which will allow Navy’s specialist divers to achieve greater levels of effectiveness and safety, New Zealand Government said.Defence officials identified the Edda Fonn vessel, owned and operated by Østensjø Rederi, as the most suitable option from an initial list of over 150 candidate offshore and subsea support vessels.The vessel generally operates in the North Sea, and is under lease until the end of 2018, following which the modification process will begin.Once delivered, final modifications will be undertaken in New Zealand. It is expected that New Zealand industry will be involved in this part of the project. The ship is expected to be in service with the Navy by November 2019.The project budget for the purchase, modifications and introduction into service of the dive and hydrographic capability is $103 million. This has been funded through an existing appropriation.