Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue represented the Irish Government at a Ceremonial Handover Event for two Inshore Patrol Vessels today at the Navy Base in Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand.
The ships were purchased from the New Zealand Government last year for €26 million. This event represents the culmination of a year-long project to regenerate and modify the vessels to operational seaworthiness standards, undertaken by the New Zealand Defence Force in partnership with their primary contractors and 30 other businesses, many of them local. All work was overseen by the Irish Naval Service and the Department of Defence.
Minister McConalogue stated, “I am aware of the considerable work that has been carried out here in New Zealand to restore the vessels to class and to fit specific equipment required by the Irish Naval Service.” Minister McConalogue went on to thank all those involved in this successful project including the New Zealand Defence Forces, the Naval Service and the Department of Defence along with the many contractors.
A large heavy lift cargo ship is due to arrive at Auckland, to transport the ships back to the Naval Service Base at Haulbowline, Co. Cork, with a minimum transit time of a month. The vessels will then undergo a programme of works to fit additional Naval Service equipment.
In addition, there will be a period of crew familiarisation and training before entering service, which is expected to happen by early 2024.
Commenting on the event, the Tánaiste and Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin TD said “I appreciate all the work that has been undertaken to date to complete the New Zealand phase of the Inshore Patrol Vessel Project. The evolving nature of security at sea has brought to light the need for these vessels to safeguard Irish waters and enhance our maritime security activities. These acquisitions are part of the strategic measures being implemented by the Irish Government to increase the capabilities of the Naval Service in Ireland and I look forward to welcoming the IPV’s to Cork in the coming months.”
Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Commodore Michael Malone added, “The IPV acquisition will augment fleet strength, introduce certain new Electronic Warfare and intelligence gathering capabilities and enhance the patrol profile of the Naval Service on the East coast at a time of increased recruitment effort. Their timely delivery is a vital part of the Naval Service’s HR regeneration efforts.”
Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Seán Clancy concluded, “The changing face of maritime security in the Irish Sea highlighted a requirement for a specialist inshore capability in order to protect Irish interests. The acquisition of the IPVs will allow the Naval Service to continue to modernise and tackle the dynamic and ever changing maritime environment that we operate in 365 days a year.”
- The two Lake – Class Inshore Patrol Vessels are the former HMNZS ROTOITI and PUKAKI.
- The four ships were built in Whangarei by BAE Systems Australia (formerly Tenix Shipbuilding). They were delivered to the New Zealand Ministry of Defence and commissioned into their Royal Navy in 2009.
- Both ships have been in Lloyd’s Lay Up class appraisal survey since October 2019, having been withdrawn from service and have undergone restoration works to bring them up to Lloyd’s Classification. Some of the additional Naval Service requirements have also been fitted.
- They have fully automated control and navigations system, a powerful engine, modern communications and surveillance systems, active stabilisers and comfortable accommodation. Using two RHIBs (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats) both ships can undertake boarding operations and surveillance.
- The ships are highly manoeuvrable and capable of speeds up to 25 knots (46 kilometres per hour).
- The core ship’s company complement is 20.
- The area of operations will be the Irish Sea on the East and South East Coast.
- Transportation from New Zealand to Ireland will be on board a large 156m, almost 15,000-ton cargo ship, arranged by Noatum, a multinational transport and logistics provider.
- Large cranes on the ship itself will be used to load and unload the IPVs.
General IPV Details
- Length overall 55 m
- Length waterline 50.6 m
- Beam moulded 9 m
- Draft moulded 2.43 m
- Draft max (propellers) 2.9 m
- Height (keel to top of mast) 20 m
- Displacement 340t