Two New Zealand warships bought by the government for €26 million are arriving here after a major overhaul of all machinery, despite concerns about their readiness for service.
The two vessels were commissioned into the New Zealand Navy in 2010, but less than a decade later, in 2019, “deemed not fit for service”, the New Zealand Herald has reported, reports Independent.
However, the Department of Defense bought the vessels here after an agreement in which the New Zealanders would carry out major maintenance work.
Last year, retired Captain David Barry, who served in the Naval Service for more than 40 years, said the purchase of the two vessels represented “ssignificantly reduced” Naval Service capacity in Ireland.
The New Zealand Herald reported two 55m-long vessels, named Rotoiti and Pukaki, which had been “sitting idle for 18 months” when the Department of Defense offered to buy them on the condition of returning them to “seagoing state”, reports Independent.
That job, the newspaper reported, included
A host of upgrades including a marine communications suite and CCTV system.
Defense Force Chief of Staff Lt-General Sean Clancy said: “The changing face of maritime security in the Irish Sea highlighted a requirement for a specialist inshore capability in order to protect Irish interests. The acquisition of the IPVs [inshore patrol vessels] will allow the Naval Service to continue to modernise and tackle the dynamic and ever-changing maritime environment we operate in,” reports Independent.
The vessels would be loaded onto a cargo ship in Auckland for passage to Ireland tomorrow.
They are due to arrive at Houlbouline Naval Service Base in Cork in about a month.
They are therefore expected to do more work to retrofit naval service equipment. The crew will then be trained and the ships are expected to enter service next year, reports Independent.
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