The Royal New Zealand Navy has made transport arrangements for two former inshore patrol vessels sold to the Republic of Ireland’s Department of Defence for $42 million.
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The two vessels, Rotoiti and Pukaki, will be loaded aboard a large sealift vessel by crane at Captain Cook Wharf in Auckland this month and then sent to serve in the Irish Naval Service.
Both ships were commissioned to the RNZN in 2010, conducted fishery protection and border patrols along the NZ coastline and were formally decommissioned from the RNZN in October 2019 before being berthed at Devonport Naval Base for 18 months.
Under conditions of the Ireland Department of Defence sale from 22 March last year, they were brought back to seaworthiness standard by more than 15 New Zealand businesses during the latter half of 2022.
“This work provided a welcome $26 million economic boost for all the local maritime contractors and sub-contractors involved,” said Chief of Joint Defence Services, Brigadier Rob Krushka.
Those works include an overhaul of all major machinery such as main engines, generators, drive shafts, propellers, stabilisers, and boat davits. A number of system upgrades were installed including a new integrated platform management system, maritime communications suite, and CCTV system.
Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor said larger ships in the fleet have gradually taken on the roles left by the two patrol vessels.
“At the time of their entry into service, the IPVs provided operational capability around our coastline,” Rear Admiral Proctor said.
“But now we have a far greater need to project a presence further afield and that’s something these ships simply weren’t designed to do.”
Irish Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Sean Clancy said the military is looking forward to the arrival of the ships.
“The changing face of maritime security in the Irish Sea has highlighted a requirement for a specialist inshore capability in order to protect Irish interests,” he said.
“These vessels will strengthen the ability of the Naval Service to fulfil its role in protecting our national sovereignty.”