The multi-role vessel, to be named HMNZS Canterbury, last week left t' />

The first of the Navy's seven new ships has gone to sea for the first time.

The multi-role vessel, to be named HMNZS Canterbury, last week left the Dutch shipyard where it was built for two days of sea trials off Holland

The Navy said 10 New Zealand Navy and Defence Ministry personnel boarded the ship at the Merwede shipyard for 48 hours of sea trials, including essential sea-going systems such as main propulsion, bow thrusters, radars, navigation and mission systems.

The project director, retired Navy commodore Gary Collier, said the ship was very comfortable and was "sure to be as memorable a ship as her predecessor".

The last Navy ship named Canterbury was a steam-powered Leander class frigate. It was retired in March last year. A decision is due soon on its future. Several groups want to sink it as a dive attraction. The new 131-metre ship is the first of seven new ships ordered for the Navy. The Canterbury is due in New Zealand this year.

- NZPA