Former Navy Frigate Canterbury to become a Diving and Marine Tourism attraction

by OldSailor on November 1, 2007


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The former Navy frigate Canterbury of New Zealand will now be scuttled as a diving and marine tourism attraction in Northland on Saturday, November 3,2007.The 113-metre Canterbury will be sunk in Deep Water Cove by a series of explosive charges but it must be correctly positioned in a wind of less than 15 knots for it to hit the seabed in a pre-planned location. Deep Water Cove is a feature of the Cape Brett Peninsula, which forms the southern arm of the Bay of Islands, and is about 28 kilometres by sea from Opua.The site is favoured by marine experts because of its sheltered aspect, flat sandy bottom and relative lack of tidal currents.

1.Who will sink Frigate Canterbury?

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Hamnett of Opua will press the button to send the 3182 tonne warship to the bottom of Deep Water Cove to create an artificial reef after her father won the unique opportunity at a charity auction by The Bay of Islands Canterbury Trust.The Trust has spent $600,000 to strip and clean the ex-navy frigate in preparation for the scuttling.


2.Where Frigate Canterbury will be sunk?

The location is shown by Green Arrow in the Map below.


Image Courtesy: Google Maps

3.Method of sinking Frigate Canterbury:

Frigate Canterbury will be sunk using a special form of detonation called Shaped Linear Charge, which had to be specially imported from the USA.The detonation will have the effect of an implosion so as not to disturb dolphins resting in the vicinity.The Department of Conservation is still considering the effect this will have on the environment.The frigate will remain in sole ownership of the Bay of Islands Canterbury Trust after the sinking to ensure that profits made will be put back into the community.The intention of sinking the frigate is to provide employment for the local hapu.The trust is responsible for the area 500 metres around HMNZS Canterbury, including the beach and is currently in the process of applying for a ban of all fisheries above the artificial reef and a possible ban of fisheries in the vicinity.The implosion will take place on November 3.

4.Details of Frigate Canterbury:


The Canterbury is a Leander Class Frigate built in Scotland for the RNZN and commissioned in 1971, service number F421. She accommodated 240 Officers and Ratings.


  • Length:113.4 metres
  • Beam:13 metres
  • Draught:5.6 metres
  • Displacement:3182 tonnes.

Canterbury had two steam turbines driving twin shafts: 30,000 horsepower. HMNZS Canterbury was the last steam powered Frigate owned by the New Zealand Navy. Maximum speed:30 knots.Armaments were: Twin, 4.5in forward guns, heavy machine guns, Sea Cat missile system and antisubmarine torpedoes delivered by Seasprite helicopter.

In 2005, Canterbury F421 was decommissioned.

News and Image Sources:

The New Zealand Herald



Update Nov 03, 2007:

As planned, Frigate Canterbury was sunk on 03 November 2007. With 8 kg of explosives, the 3000 tons ship took four minutes to sink.


Image courtesy:nzherald


Image courtesy:tvnz

For video clip click here.

OldSailor remembers the days of sailing in a similar Leander Class Frigate INS Dunagiri of Indian Navy.

Update: February 12, 2008.

Here is another video clip of sinking Canterbury. More information is available here.

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