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HMNZS Wellington (F69)
Wellington arriving 2.jpg
HMNZS Wellington just before she was sunk.
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Bacchante
Fate: Sold to New Zealand
Career (New Zealand)
Name: HMNZS Wellington
Commissioned: 1982
Decommissioned: 1999
Fate: Sunk as dive wreck in 2005
General characteristics
Class & type: Leander class frigate

HMNZS Wellington was a Leander class frigate of the Royal Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). Originally commissioned in 1969 for the Royal Navy as HMS Bacchante, she joined the RNZN in 1982. She was decommissioned in 1999 and sunk in 2005.


On arrival in New Zealand, Wellington decommissioned and entered an extended refit which ended in 1986. The refit involved the installation of additional fuel tanks, (to extend the range of South Pacific operations), new gunnery control system (RCA-76), the enlargement of escape hatches and the removal of asbestos. Other minor changes were also made as a result of practical experiences of British frigates during the Falklands War.

Later refits saw the original Seacat Missile removed and replaced by the Phalanx CIWS.

Operational history

{{Like her sister-ship HMNZS Canterbury, HMNZS Wellington was stood to during the First Coup in Fiji in 1987 to evacuate New Zealand and other foreign nationals should the need have arisen.

In 1988, Wellington accompanied HMNZ Ships Canterbury, Endeavour & Waikato to Sydney, Australia to participate in the Bicentennial Salute to mark the 200th Anniversary of the settlement of Europeans in that country. Vessels from the navies of Australia, Britain, France, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, USA and Vanuatu were represented.

In 1994, Wellington contributed to the international Peace Keeping initiative in Bougainville along with sister-ship HMNZS Canterbury. }}


HMNZS Wellington prior to sinking, outside Te Papa.

Removal of dangerous fittings and toxic substances, cutting of large holes in the hull.

HMNZS Wellington being sunk.

HMNZS Wellington was deliberately sunk off the south coast of Wellington, New Zealand, in Houghton Bay, just east of Island Bay, Wellington.

Although the ship was due to be sunk at 3pm on 12 November 2005, this was delayed for 24 hours due to weather. The next day, the sinking was delayed by another 30 minutes due to the entanglement of a detonation cable under the frigate. At 3:30pm on 13 November, the ship was scuttled and took a minute and 55 seconds to sink. During a storm in February 2006, the ship broke up and is now lying in two sections on the seabed close to where it was sunk.

The depth of her keel is approximately 21 metres (69 ft), making the wreck accessible by Scuba divers using standard equipment.

See also

External links

  • Sunken Treasure - TVNZ video segment on the sinking (14:40)
  • Sink F69! (Dive the Trail - Wellington, Waikato, Canterbury)

Coordinates: 41°21.18′S 174°46.80′E / 41.353°S 174.78°E / -41.353; 174.78

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