Colombia purchased the decommissioned German Type 701A replenishment ship Luneburg on 27 June 1997 and recommissioned the 3,483-ton (full load displacement) vessel as the Cartagena de Indias (TM-161) on 2 November at Wilhelmshaven, where she is shown undergoing reactivation in mid-October. The Luneburg initially had been offered to Colombia and then to Kazakhstan, Spain, and Peru. One of eight sisters completed during 1966-68, the 342-foot ship can carry 640 tons of cargo fuel, 205 tons of munitions, 100 tons of spare parts (up to 10,000 items), 131 tons of fresh water, and 267 cubic meters of refrigerated provisions, all for alongside transfer.
The 13,861 gross-registered-ton Indonesian Directorate General of Sea Communication, Department of Transport, Communications and Tourism transport Kerinci ran hard aground near Padang on the west coast of Sumatra on 2 November, allegedly because of poor visibility caused by smoke from the forest tires that plagued Southeast Asia in 1997. Established in 1978 initially to patrol and safeguard Indonesia's 200-nautical-mile economic exclusion zone, the agency operates not only a small fleet of armed patrol craft but also numerous navigational-aids tenders, dredges, and some 19 Germanbuilt passenger vessels, of which the Kerinci , completed in 1983, is the oldest. Capable of carrying from 920 to more than 2,000 paying passengers in four classes, the liners also are available as troop transports. Two additional 14,800gross-registered-ton units are on order from Joseph L Meyer GmbH, Papenburg, Germany, for delivery this year.
The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) received a severe blow with the release of the fall 1997 Defence White Paper. Not only would the long-hoped-for second pair of MEKO 200AN frigates not be ordered from Australia, but the normal four-frigate force is to be cut to three. The Leander -class frigate Wellington , which had completed a refit on 22 September 1997 to enable her to operate one of the four newly ordered SH-2G Super SeaSprite helicopters, is now to be retired in 1999 with the commissioning of the second MEKO 200AN, the Te Mana . The Wellington 's sister, Canterbury (seen here last April), originally to have been retired in 2004, is to be retained in service until a replacement can be afforded, while the older Waikato , which had been relegated to pier-side training service in 1997, is to be retired this July. Also, the roll-on/roll-off vehicle cargo vessel Charles Upham , purchased in 1994 with the intent of converting her to transport the 500-person New Zealand Army Rapid Reaction Force, now is to be offered—still unmodified—for commercial charter for at least three years. The RNZN, with some 2,000 active uniformed personnel, has seen a sharp upturn in operational commitments over the past five years and now will be hard-pressed to meet its obligations.