Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Ireland to buy Navy boats in $36m deal

The New Zealand Defence Force is set to sell two decommissioned Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Inshore Patrol Vessels ex HMNZS Rotoiti and HMNZS Pukaki to the Republic of Ireland Department of Defence in a $36 million deal.

A condition of the sale is for work to be undertaken to regenerate and modify the ships to an operational seaworthiness standard. This work is expected to cost NZ$16 – $19 million and be carried out in New Zealand commercial shipyards.

“We’re very pleased that the ship maintenance will be providing a local economic boost prior to them leaving the country,” said Commodore Andrew Brown, Commander of Defence Logistics Command. 

Built in Whangarei and commissioned into the Navy in 2009, during their service the two ships have been deployed on fishery monitoring, search and rescue, border security and maritime surveillance operations around New Zealand’s 15,000km coastline. However, a few years ago a project team within the RNZN identified that a better capability outcome would be achieved utilising the current offshore patrol vessels HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Wellington, supplemented with a Southern Ocean Patrol Vessel planned for the future.

“Our Navy has a greater need to project a presence further afield,” said Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral (RADM) David Proctor.

“And that’s something the inshore patrol vessels simply weren’t built to do.”

EX HMNZS Pukaki.

Formally decommissioned in October 2019, the two ships have been the subject of interest from a number of overseas navies but it was the Republic of Ireland that identified a key role they could perform.

RADM Proctor said the two remaining IPVs in the RNZN fleet, HMNZS Hawea and HMNZS Taupo, still have a valuable role to play in meeting the tasks required of the Navy.

“Local fishery monitoring and border protection patrolling will still be conducted but these ships also provide important Officer of the Watch training and command opportunities for our junior officers.”

Once the upgrade and modification work is completed on the vessels, they are expected to be commercially sea-lifted to the Republic of Ireland in late March or April next year.

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