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Navy's new MRV to be launched

10 February 2006

Navy's new MRV to be launched

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The Royal New Zealand Navy's new Multi Role Vessel (MRV) will be launched on Saturday (local time) at the Merwede shipyard in Rotterdam.

Secretary of Defence Graham Fortune and the Deputy Chief of Navy, Commodore, Jack Steer are attending the launch.

The 9000-tonne MRV is the first of seven ships being built under the Ministry of Defence's $500 million Project Protector. Two Offshore Patrol Vessels are being built in Melbourne, and four Inshore Patrol Vessels are being built in Whangarei.

Defence Minister Phil Goff, who visited the shipyards last weekend, said the speed with which the MRV was being built was impressive, with work having been contracted to four other shipyards in Rotterdam.

"As result, the MRV is being built at an average of 20 tonnes per day and five months later it is ready for launch – on schedule and within budget."

The MRV's superstructure will be fitted as one complete block the day after the launch. Once the fit-out and sea trials are complete in late July, it will sail for Melbourne to be fitted with armaments and military communications systems. Final trials will then be conducted before Defence accepts the ship in December.

Mr Goff said initial reports from rigorous tank testing conducted late last year showed that the MRV fully met its sea-keeping requirements.

"It is designed to be fully operational in harsher conditions than the weather that keeps the Cook Strait ferries in port. Obviously not sailing due to inclement weather is not an option when you are patrolling seas where there is no shelter."

The MRV will have a maximum speed of 19 knots, and be capable of transporting the Army’s Light Armoured Vehicles and Light Operational Vehicles, as well as 250 troops, one Seasprite and four NH90 helicopters. It will have two 60-tonne landing craft for situations where port facilities are not available.

Mr Goff said all seven of the Project Protector ships would make an important contribution to New Zealand's security and economic interests, as well increasing our capacity to assist in disaster relief in the Pacific.

"They will be operated by the Navy but they will undertake work for a range of government departments as part of a multi-agency approach to protecting our borders," Mr Goff said.

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