New Zealand Defence Force will sell two decommissioned Royal New Zealand Navy inshore patrol vessels to the Republic of Ireland’s Department of Defence.
Former HMNZS Pukaki (pictured) and HMNZS Rotoiti are being sold for NZ$36 million on condition that work to be undertaken to regenerate and modify the ships to an operational seaworthiness standard.
This work will cost about NZ$16-$19 million and will be carried out in New Zealand commercial shipyards.
Built in Whangarei and commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2009, the two ships were deployed on fishery monitoring, search and rescue, border security and maritime surveillance operations around New Zealand’s 15,000km coastline during their service.
However, a few years ago, a project team within the RNZN identified that a better capability outcome would be achieved using the current offshore patrol vessels HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Wellington, supplemented with a Southern Ocean Patrol Vessel planned for the future.
Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor said the Royal New Zealand Navy had a greater need to project a presence further afield – something the inshore patrol vessels simply weren’t built to do.
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 for them.
Rear Admiral 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 March or April next year.