The Government will buy a second-hand Norwegian vessel to take over dive and hydrographic functions formerly carried out by two vessels for the New Zealand Navy.

The budget for the purchase, modifications and introduction into service of the 85m Edda Fonn is $103 million, to be paid from existing funding, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced.

The Edda Fonn, built in 2003, will be outfitted with the dive and hydrographic systems required by the New Zealand Defence Force before being put into service by November 2019.

The vessel, whose name will be changed when it goes into service in New Zealand, has been operating in the North Sea.

"Defence officials have subjected the Edda Fonn to considerable scrutiny ahead of purchase," Mark said.

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"We have been assured by independent experts that it is in excellent condition and will handle well in the operations the Defence Force will use it for."

The vessel will replace the Navy's hydrographic vessel Resolution and dive ship Manawanui, which were decommissioned in 2012 and 2018 respectively following several decades of service.

"Navy's specialist divers and hydrographers provide vital services to New Zealand, the Pacific, and our partners. In recent years this has included undertaking underwater search and rescue with the New Zealand Police, surveying the seabed following the Kaikoura earthquake, or removing unexploded historical ordnance in the Pacific islands. Purchasing this vessel allows the Defence Force to continue to serve the community, nation and world," Mark said in a statement.