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New Offshore patrol vessel boosts capability

HMNZS OTAGO arriving in Auckland
HMNZS Otago at Devonport Naval Base, April 2010 (MC-10-0106-038)

9 April 2010

New Zealand's ability to conduct extended patrols into the Southern Ocean and the Pacific was boosted today with the arrival of the first of two new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).

The Royal New Zealand Navy’s newest ship HMNZS OTAGO arrived at Devonport Naval Base today to a rousing welcome from Navy personnel.

OTAGO and her sister ship WELLINGTON will deliver substantial new capability to the Defence Force. The ships can go further offshore, stay at sea longer, and conduct more challenging operations than New Zealand's other patrol vessels. This will enable the RNZN to conduct extended patrol and surveillance operations around New Zealand, the southern ocean and into the Pacific.

The Offshore Patrol Vessels will work closely with government agencies including the Ministry of Fisheries, Police, Maritime New Zealand and the Department of Conservation around the New Zealand coast, in the Pacific and Southern Ocean.  The primary tasks of the new ships include:

Maritime counter-terrorism.
Surveillance and Reconnaissance.
Surface contact detection, identification, interception and boarding.
Apprehension and escort of vessels.
Maritime Search And Rescue (SAR),

After arriving at Devonport HMNZS OTAGO will have additional military equipment fitted and then the crew will undertake a period of training to work the ship up to full operational capability.  

ENDS

For more information please contact Lieutenant Sarah Campbell, Media Adviser Navy on 021 244 0638.

Additional Information

HMNZS OTAGO was accepted into the fleet by the Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Tony Parr on 18 February 2010, in Melbourne.

The Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) HMNZS OTAGO and WELLINGTON deliver substantial new capability to the Royal New Zealand Navy. The ships can go further offshore, stay at sea longer, and conduct more challenging operations than the Inshore Patrol Vessels, and will enable the RNZN to conduct patrol and surveillance operations around New Zealand, the southern ocean and into the Pacific.

The OPV’s are capable of many roles including maritime patrol, surveillance and response. They have the ability to conduct helicopter operations using a Seasprite SH2G helicopter, boarding operations using the ships Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats, or Military Support Operations with embarked forces.

The OPV’s have strengthened hulls which enable them to enter southern waters where ice may be encountered. They are not designed as ice-breakers or to enter Antarctic ice-packs, but have the range and capability to undertake patrols in the southern ocean where ice may be encountered.

The ships are highly automated and operate with a core crew of 35, plus 10 flight crew to operate a helicopter. The ships power and control systems are fully computerised.


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