Ireland is reportedly set to procure two patrol vessels from New Zealand in a bid to bolster maritime security.
According to local publication The Irish Examiner, several months of negotiations have led to an agreement to purchase the two Lake Class ships.
An official announcement on the deal is expected soon, the publication added. Other details including the financial terms of the deal are not immediately available.
The two vessels were decommissioned by New Zealand as they didn’t meet the country’s long-range patrolling requirements.
However, the vessels can fulfil Ireland’s short-range requirements such as patrolling and surveillance operations in the Irish Sea. Additionally, the Lake Class ships can operate with less crew compared to Irish Navy’s P60 vessels.
The acquisition will also enable the larger vessels to focus on operations in the Atlantic Sea.
The Irish Examiner further added that the British-built New Zealand ships is expected to be based on the east coast and will be used for fisheries patrols.
The potential acquisition comes at a time when Ireland’s naval service launched a major recruitment to address staff shortages.
Currently, Irish Naval Service has less than 200 people, significantly less compared to its minimum strength of 1,094 personnel.
Last month, Babcock secured an additional seven-and-a-half-year Maritime Fleet Sustainment Service contract from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
Under the contract, Babcock will provide asset management services to the entire Royal New Zealand Navy fleet.