New Zealand decommissions two inshore patrol vessels

HMNZS Rotoiti (front) and HMNZS Pukaki

Two Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Protector-class inshore patrol vessels, HMNZS Rotoiti and HMNZS Pukaki, were decommissioned at a formal ceremony at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland on Thursday, October 17.

Constructed in Whangarei and commissioned in 2009, the two decommissioned IPVs and sister vessels HMNZS Hawea and HMNZS Taupo have been deployed on fishery monitoring, search and rescue (SAR), border security, and maritime surveillance around New Zealand’s coastline and, occasionally, further afield.

Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David Proctor said operational experience with the IPVs had shown that specific tasks required of the naval patrol force were better conducted by the RNZN’s larger offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

Subsequently the RNZN assessed the vessels as no longer being suited to the heavy seas typically encountered off New Zealand and further afield.

The two remaining IPVs would continue to play a role in providing local fishery monitoring and border protection patrols, as well as providing important training and command opportunities for junior officers.

A project team has been set up to investigate disposal options for the two IPVs and to manage the process. A final decision is expected next year on the best method of disposal.

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