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Space ship at Auckland port

Space ship at Auckland port

Not all ships calling the Port of Auckland stow their precious cargo in containers or in the depths of their hulls. Recent caller, the Yuan Wang II, instead transports three large satellite dishes and other equipment on its top deck in clear view for all and with a straight line to the heavens. The equipment is used to track satellites and upon arriving in Auckland last week (2 October) the ship and its crew had just completed a very important assignment - tracking China's third manned space mission.

The country's first-ever spacewalk, by mission commander Zhai Zhigang, was the highlight of the successful mission China's space programme relies on ships like the Yuan Wang II to track and communicate with its spaceships.

The Yuan Wang II called Auckland following completion of the mission to replenish supplies and allow the crew a much deserved rest. The Chinese deep sea research vessel Da Yang Yi Hao was also alongside at Queens Wharf simultaneous to the Yuan Wang II. The Yuan Wang II will depart tomorrow (10 October) afternoon. -ends-

The Ports of Auckland is New Zealand's largest container port by volume, handling around 840,000 TEU (20ft-equivalent units), more than 1,700 ship calls and 3.6 million tonnes of break-bulk (non-containerised) cargo per annum. It is New Zealand's major import port, a key partner to export industries and the only New Zealand port ranked among the top 120 container ports in the world (Container Management, July 2008). The Ports of Auckland is 100%-owned by Auckland Regional Holdings.

ENDS

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