NZ Navy takes delivery of IPV

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BAE Systems Australia will today deliver the first of four new Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPVs) to the Royal New Zealand Navy after an agreement was reached between the two parties over acceptance of the vessels.

The first IPV, HMNZS Rotoiti, will be handed over today with the three more vessels to enter service progressively by the end of May 2009.

The four IPVs were built in Whangarei by prime contractor BAE Systems Australia as part of the NZ$500 million Project Protector.


The New Zealand Herald reports the ships will be used for maritime surveillance, including customs, fisheries, conservation and police work. They will also have a role in disaster relief.

The Project Protector ships are:

·         The new multi-role vessel HMNZS Canterbury that has a 9000mt displacement, is 131 meters in length and is capable of 19 knots. Accommodation is for a total of 360 personnel; a crew of 53, 10 flight personnel, four government agency officers, a permanent team of 7 Army personnel, plus provision for 35 trainees and 250 embarked troops. The vessel was built at the Merwede shipyard in Rotterdam in 2005-2006 and was launched on 11 February 2006. She entered service in June 2007.

·         Two Protector-class offshore patrol vessels to be commissioned as HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Wellington.

·         Four Lake-class IPV (Taupo, Pukaki, Hawea, Rotoiti) with a 340mt displacement, 55m length, 25 knot speed and a range of up to 3000nm. Accommodation is for a crew of 20, 12 additional personnel, and four government agency officers.

Delay

The ships were all due by the end of 2007 – but to date only one, the Canterbury, has been commissioned.

The four IPVs were built at a cost of NZ$143 million. The NZ Herald reports Rotoiti failed her safety tests when trialled in May 2008 and required further work.

The delivery of the Rotoiti follows a trip by NZ Defence Minister Wayne Mapp to Australia last month to meet the contractors and request they deliver the ships while outstanding contractual problems were sorted.

The paper adds he has criticised the handling of the project by the previous Labour government, saying the contract was badly thought through and he had arrived to “a mess”.

There is no delivery date yet on a further two larger offshore patrol vessels, worth NZ$90 million each.

The paper says government will enter mediation with the contractor, BAE Systems Australia, at the end of May after it was discovered that over time, they would become too heavy for some roles, including work in the Antarctic.

The NZ$177 million HMNZS Canterbury is also beset with problems – an independent report estimated it needs another NZ$20 million spent on it, the NZ Herald says.

One of the primary causes for the delays with all vessels was the inflatable seaboats carried by the ships, which had to be replaced by the contractor after problems arose with them on the Canterbury.

Resolution

Merv Davis, Maritime Director for BAE Systems Australia says the company has been engaged in constructive discussions with the Ministry of Defence since late 2008 to resolve issues that had caused delay to the delivery of the IPVs.
“We recognised that the RNZN needed to commission these ships into service as soon as practicable and have agreed to install Zodiac sea boats so that this can happen,” Davis said.




Davis said discussions with the Ministry of Defence for the delivery of the two Offshore Patrol Vessels were well advanced.
“Both parties are working together to agree the terms under which they will be offered for acceptance.
“BAE Systems is committed to delivering the Project Protector vessels quickly. This agreement on the IPVs marks an important milestone in that journey,” Davis said.