Having entered service with the RNZN in 2010, two patrol vessels have been sold with their operational life being just nine years after they were deemed unfit for purpose following newly introduced regulatory requirements in 2012, which saw operational restrictions placed on them.
The two vessels, both constructed in Whangarei by BAE Systems Australia (formerly Tenix Shipbuilding) at a cost of NZ$36 million each, have remained alongside at the Devonport Naval Base since they were decommissioned in October 2019.
The Ireland Department of Defence agreed to buy them on the condition that New Zealand brought them back up to a state of operational seaworthiness, which cost NZ$26 million.
The work, all undertaken by local commercial shipyards, included the complete overhaul of engines, generators, drive shafts, props and stabilisers and boat davits as well as upgrading of the vessels marine communications.
Since entering service, the two patrol vessels have been deployed in fisheries, monitoring S&R, border security and maritime surveillance operations around New Zealand’s 15,000km coastline.
Following their deployment by the Ireland Dept. of Defence, they will be used to bolster maritime security in the Irish Sea.
Photo = The two former Royal New Zealand Navy inshore patrol boats Rotoiti and Pukaki being loaded aboard the heavy lift ship Happy Dynamic at Ports of Auckland’s Captain Cook Wharf. Photo and report by Trevor Coppock