HMNZS OTAGO - P148
Modern, Versatile, Capable
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.
Displacement: 1,900 tonnes
Length Overall: 85 metres
Range: 6000 nautical miles
Speed: Maximum continuous 22 knots
Core ships company 35
Flight personnel: 10
Government agencies: 4
Additional personnel: 30
Armament: One 25mm Bushmaster Naval gun and two .50 calibre machine guns
OTAGO can embark the KAMAN SH-2G (NZ) Seasprite helicopter onboard.
The role of the Offshore Patrol Vessels
OTAGO will be able to operate throughout New Zealand’s 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the southern ocean and the Pacific. She will carry out a range of roles including patrolling, surveillance, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, support to peacekeeping operations and sea training for the Navy.
OTAGO will conduct maritime patrols in conjunction with the P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft in the New Zealand EEZ, southern ocean and South Pacific. The surveillance tasks are primarily non-military in support of civilian agencies and involve specialist staff from government agencies such as NZ Customs and Ministry of Fisheries.
Multi-Agency Operations and Tasking (MAOT).
The OPVs will be available to support Government Agencies including:
a. New Zealand Customs Service.
b. Ministry of Fisheries.
c. New Zealand Police.
d. Maritime New Zealand.
e. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
f. Department of Conservation.
g. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
h. New Zealand Immigration Service.
i. Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The patrol and response capabilities of the OPVs include:
a. Maritime counter-terrorism.
b. Surveillance and Reconnaissance.
c. Surface contact detection, identification, interception and boarding.
d. Helicopter operations including surveillance and reconnaissance, and surface contact detection, identification and interception, and support to boarding operations as well as general personnel and stores movement.
e. Apprehension and escort of vessels.
f. Pollution control.
g. Maritime Search And Rescue (SAR), including aid to vessels in distress (including towing of vessels of same or smaller size).
Secondary roles for the OPVs
In addition to their patrol and response capabilities, the OPVs are capable of secondary roles in support of the Navy, NZ Defence Forces and Government. These secondary roles include:
a. Provision of support to embarked military forces, e.g. transportation, insertion and extraction of military units and their associated equipment.
b. Disaster relief operations in NZ and beyond if required.
c. Defence aid to the civil community.
d. Medical Evacuation (Medivac).
e. Military Hydrography.
f. Diving Operations Support.
g. Mine Countermeasures Support.
h. Collection of environmental data.
i. VIP Transport, and;
j. Defence Diplomacy and Representational activities in NZ and foreign ports.
The Building of OTAGO and WELLINGTON
OTAGO is the first Offshore Patrol Vessel to be built for New Zealand. Modules of the ship were built separately, including some in Whangarei, to be assembled at the Tenix shipyard, Williamstown, Australia. The ship is based on a design already in service with the Irish Navy and Maritius Coastguard.
OTAGO will be affiliated with the Otago region of New Zealand; her home ports will be Dunedin and Invercargill/ Bluff.