Home Asia Pacific Ireland buys two retired inshore patrol vessels from New Zealand

Ireland buys two retired inshore patrol vessels from New Zealand

Ireland buys two former RNZN Lake-class patrol ships
New Zealand defense ministry photo of Lake-class inshore patrol vessels underway at sea

Ireland and New Zealand have reached an agreement on the sale of two decommissioned Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) inshore patrol vessels to the Irish Naval Service.

Both countries’ defense ministries announced the deal on Sunday, revealing a price tag of €26 million for the two vessels.

Former HMNZS Rotoiti and HMNZS Pukaki will serve as replacements for LÉ Orla and LÉ Ciara once they arrive in Ireland by 2023, after undergoing refurbishment work in New Zealand.

The new inshore patrol vessels have a lesser crewing requirement than the ships they replace, and will provide the Irish Naval Service with an enhanced capacity to operate and undertake patrols in the Irish Sea on the East and South East Coast. This will allow the remaining fleet to focus on operations elsewhere, the Irish defense ministry said.

“I am pleased to announce the purchase of two second hand inshore patrol vessels on a government to government basis from the New Zealand government for delivery to Ireland in 2023,” Ireland’s defense minister Simon Coveney stated.

“The government has acknowledged that there are ongoing challenges in the Naval Service and these are being addressed as part of a planned approach to regeneration of the Naval Service. This will see, amongst a range of other actions, the withdrawal of three ships from service – LÉ Orla, LÉ Ciara and LÉ Eithne and their replacement on a phased basis.”

The defense ministry added that the project to provide for the replacement of the flagship LÉ Eithne with a new more modern and capable multi role vessel was underway.

Ex HMNZS Rotoiti and HMNZS Pukaki entered service with the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2009 as Lake-class patrol ships and deployed on fishery monitoring, search and rescue, border security and maritime surveillance operations around New Zealand’s 15,000km coastline.

In 2019, New Zealand decided to decommission the vessels after it was identified that a better capability outcome would be achieved utilizing the current offshore patrol vessels HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Wellington, supplemented with a Southern Ocean Patrol Vessel planned for the future.

“Our navy has a greater need to project a presence further afield,” said Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral (RADM) David Proctor “and that’s something the inshore patrol vessels simply weren’t built to do.”

He noted that the two remaining IPVs in the RNZN fleet, HMNZS Hawea and HMNZS Taupo, remain in service as they “have a valuable role to play” in meeting the tasks required of the navy.

The 55-meter ships were built in Whangarei by BAE Systems Australia (formerly Tenix Shipbuilding) and feature fully automated control and navigations systems, modern communications and surveillance systems. Using two RHIBs (rigid hull inflatable boats), both ships can undertake boarding operations and surveillance.