The New Zealand Defence Force has been called upon to help transport fuel around New Zealand by sea and road to help ease a jet-fuel shortage triggered by damage to a pipeline last week.
File photo HMNZS Endeavour.
A 168km pipeline connecting a refinery in Northland to Auckland Airport sprung a leak last Thursday and could take several more days to repair because leaked fuel has to be cleared from the site before welders can patch the pipes.
While it was only an aviation-fuel pipe that was actually leaking, an adjacent diesel pipe had to be closed down while cleanup and repairs are carried out – causing fuel shortages for road transport.
Dozens of flights from Auckland had to be cancelled, with thousands of domestic and international passengers affected.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Major General Tim Gall said the Royal New Zealand Navy tanker HMNZS Endeavour would sail for Marsden Point Oil Refinery tomorrow morning to upload about 4.8 million litres of diesel for delivery to ports around New Zealand.
“Twelve New Zealand Army drivers will also be allocated to drive civilian tankers to transport aviation fuel to Auckland, Palmerston North and Napier, around the clock from 21 to 30 September,” Major General Gall said.
“Six Army drivers will drive the tankers from Marsden Point to Auckland, while another six will move fuel from Wellington to Palmerston North and Napier.
“Endeavour can provide the equivalent of 150 road tankers of fuel,” he said.
“Deploying the ship will free up commercial tankers to reconfigure and focus on moving aviation fuel.
“This will help ease distribution issues in other regional centres.”