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Successful Launch Of Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel

New Zealand Defence Force

Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Release

Monday 20 November, 2006

Successful Launch Of First Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel

Amidst fanfares, sea shanties and a rousing haka performed by the sailors of the Royal New Zealand Navy, the latest naval ship, the Offshore Patrol Vessel OTAGO, was launched on Saturday 18 November at Williamstown, Melbourne.

At 11.20am Dame Silvia Cartwright, the ship’s sponsor,launched the OTAGOwith these words: "I name, and am honoured to launch this ship, OTAGO. May God bless all those who sail in her”.

As the champagne bottle smashed against the bow, the pin was removed and a collective gasp and loud cheers from the 3800-strong crowd accompanied OTAGO as she slid down the slipway with clockwork precision.

OTAGO remained briefly at the wharf opposite the RNZN’s Multi-Role Vessel CANTERBURY, prior to returning to the Dry Dock to commence her extensive fit out.

Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Ledson described the day as memorable for the ship.

“As a sailor, I can’t resist giving the ship the qualities of a person. In the New Zealand context, OTAGO moves from the realm ofPapatuanuku, the Earth Mother, to the domain ofTangaroa,the God of the Sea. This is the day where OTAGO tentatively kisses the environment that will be her home for many years.”

Commanding Officer of OTAGO, Lieutenant Commander John Butcher is Dunedin-born and Invercargill-bred. “I am very much looking forward to taking her home into both Dunedin and Bluff to show the people of Otago and Southland their ship,” he said.

ENDS

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