Navy takes delivery of HMNZS OTAGO
Chief of Navy, Rear-Admiral Tony Parr and Ministry of Defence Project Director Gary Collier formally accepted the Offshore Patrol Vessel, HMNZS OTAGO, into the Royal New Zealand Navy at a ceremony in Melbourne yesterday.
?OTAGO and her sister ship WELLINGTON will deliver the Navy substantial new capability to undertake Exclusive Economic Zone patrols, surveillance and military operations around New Zealand, the southern ocean and the Pacific,? said Admiral Parr.
?OTAGO and WELLINGTON have the capability to operate further offshore than our existing patrol vessels, stay at sea longer, and conduct more challenging operations ? using their helicopter capability, sea-boats and embarked forces.?
Rear-Admiral Parr said it was no secret the Navy had waited longer than planned to get the ships.
?The Navy is now focused on getting these ships into service to do the jobs they were designed for. We"re confident the issues around the ships" weight, which have contributed to delays in acceptance, can be managed so they can successfully carry out their missions. We wouldn"t have accepted the ships otherwise.?
HMNZS OTAGO is the sixth ship in the Project Protector fleet. Acceptance of OPV WELLINGTON into naval service is expected in April.
Admiral Parr said that with the delivery of OTAGO and WELLINGTON the Navy will be operating a fleet of 12 modern, hi-tech and highly capable ships.
?With the completion of Project Protector the Navy can deliver the full range of maritime military capability from combat and security missions to peacekeeping, border patrol and humanitarian and disaster relief,? said Admiral Parr.
The delivery crew of HMNZS OTAGO will now undertake safety and operational preparations for her voyage to New Zealand. We expect OTAGO to arrive at Devonport Naval Base toward the end of March where she will be welcomed with appropriate ceremony.?