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First New Navy Patrol Vessel Launched

First New Navy Patrol Vessel Launched

Defence Minister, Phil Goff, stopped off in Melbourne today from Hanoi for the launch of New Zealand’s first offshore patrol vessel HMNZS OTAGO. The ship is being built under the $500 million Project Protector programme for revitalisation of the Navy.

"Under Project Protector the Navy will get seven new ships, one of the largest projects being undertaken by the New Zealand Government as part of the rebuilding of the New Zealand Defence Force", Phil Goff said.

"HMNZS OTAGO will be launched alongside the 130 metre long Multi Role Vessel, HMNZS CANTERBURY, which was built in the Netherlands and delivered to Melbourne for fit out and crew training. CANTERBURY will be commissioned and arrive in New Zealand in the first half of next year.

"A second OPV, HMNZS WELLINGTON will be launched mid next year. Four 55 metre long Inshore Patrol Vessels are being built in Whangarei and are due to enter service during 2007.

"OTAGO and WELLINGTON will be very capable vessels. At 85 metres long, they are nearly three quarters the length of an ANZAC frigate, and have the same 6000-mile range. They are armed, helicopter capable, ice strengthened and able to carry 30 troops. This enables the OPVs to undertake a range of tasks.

"The OPVs are ideally suited to patrolling New Zealand’s EEZ. They will operate in the Pacific and Southern Ocean. They will provide border protection assisting Police and Customs, maritime surveillance and have the capability to support counter terrorism missions.

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"Project Protector has provided significant regional and local opportunities for New Zealand industry. Under the contract with Tenix Defence Pty Ltd, New Zealand companies will provide at least $110 million of work for these vessels. So far contracts totalling over $90 million have been awarded to 26 New Zealand companies from Whangarei to Christchurch.

"Tenix Shipbuilding New Zealand in Whangarei have also constructed two sets of bridge and helicopter hanger modules, which were barged across the Tasman in June of this year for the OPVs.

"OTAGO will remain in Williamstown, Melbourne, for fitting out, trials and crew training until the second half of next year when it will be delivered and commissioned into service with the Royal New Zealand Navy.

“The seven ships represent the greatest boost in ship numbers and capacity ever enjoyed by the Royal New Zealand Navy and will give it a major boost in morale and utility”, Mr Goff said.


ENDS

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