Kiwis walking the Auckland waterfront can see the spectacle of two former New Zealand navy ships being craned onto a big lift vessel for transfer to Ireland.
The Republic of Ireland Department of Defence has bought the former Royal NZ Navy fishery patrol vessels Rotoiti and Pukaki for $42 million.
The two vessels entered into New Zealand Navy service in 2010 but were deemed not fit for service less than a decade later in 2019.
After sitting idle for 18 months at Devonport Naval Base, Ireland agreed to buy the vessels provided New Zealand spent $26m to bring them up to a ”seagoing state”.
That work included an overhaul of all major machinery such as main engines, generators, drive shafts, propellers, stabilisers and boat davits.
The ships also had a number of system upgrades installed including a new integrated platform management system, maritime communications suite and CCTV system.
The Defence Force said spending tens of millions of dollars on major overhaul work on the decade-old vessels was an economic boost because it was completed by 15 local businesses.
“This work provided a welcome $26 million economic boost for all the local maritime contractors and sub-contractors involved,” Chief of Joint Defence Services, Brigadier Rob Krushka, said.
The two boats were among four built in Whangarei at a cost of $36m each.
The Navy said Rotoiti and Pukaki were brought into service in 2010 to provide fishery protection and conduct border patrols around New Zealand’s 15,000km coastline.
But within a few years, this role was taken over by larger ships, Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, said.
“At the time of their entry into service, the IPVs provided operational capability around our coastline,” he said.
“But now we have a far greater need to project a presence further afield and that’s something these ships simply weren’t designed to do.”
Lieutenant General Sean Clancy, Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces ,said his country was looking for inshore vessels.
“The changing face of maritime security in the Irish Sea has highlighted a requirement for a specialist inshore capability in order to protect Irish interests,” he said.
“These vessels will strengthen the ability of the Naval Service to fulfil its role in protecting our national sovereignty.”