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March 15, 2022

New Zealand sells two retired vessels to Ireland

The partnership with Babcock will see the maintenance and upgrade works of the retired ships and comes in addition to the NZDF-Babcock MFSS contract.

By Norbert Neumann

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has announced the sale of two decommissioned 340t inshore patrol vessels (IPVs) to Ireland.

Ireland paid NZ$36m ($24.5m) for the former HMNZS Rotoiti and Pukaki IPVs. New Zealand paid NZ$35.8m per unit for the vessels when they were ordered in 2008. The ships were built in Whangārei and commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2009.

Working in partnership with the NZDF, Babcock will conduct maintenance and upgrade works on the vessels before they are sold to Ireland.

The partners will regenerate and modify the ships to operational seaworthiness standards, supported by Babcock’s supply chain across the New Zealand marine and defence industry.

The NZDF said in a statement: “This work will cost about NZ$16-19m and be carried out in New Zealand commercial shipyards.”

New Zealand’s economy and local businesses are also set to benefit from the partnership, according to the company.

Babcock Australasia managing director for defence Andy Davis said: We will partner with up to 30 local businesses to deliver this project, through a range of contracts with a total value of approximately NZ$15m.”

Babcock stated: “The scope of works will include [the] overhaul of main and auxiliary engines, docking of both vessels for hull preservation, propeller and rudder overhaul, inspection, service, and commissioning of all-electric, mechanical, hydraulic and communication systems, required to return the vessels to Lloyds Class.”

Additional work includes modification of the vessels to make them compatible with the equipment used by the Irish Navy’s current fleet.

The two retired IPVs were mainly deployed on search and rescue, fishery monitoring, border security and maritime surveillance operations around New Zealand’s 15,000km coastline.

MFSS contract with Babcock

The announcement of the partnership for work on the decommissioned IPVs comes on top of the Maritime Fleet Sustainment Service (MFSS) – Hāpai Taua Manuao – contract awarded to Babcock by the NZDF at the beginning of March.

Under the seven-and-a-half-year agreement, Babcock will provide asset management services including engineering, project management, production and operational support to the entire Royal New Zealand Navy fleet, from frigates through small craft.

Davis told Naval Technology: “The Maritime Fleet Sustainment Service (MFSS) contract will see Babcock continue to provide the broadest scope of asset management services to the entire Royal New Zealand Navy fleet.

“These will include maintenance, engineering, project management, operational support, management of thousands of fleet-wide items of equipment, training development, calibration of defence wide equipment, fuel management and a broad scope of operational services such as dry dock and port operations.”

The contract also has a strong focus on a range of environmental and social outcomes.

“We have a number of ambitious but achievable short-term projects including electrification of our vehicle fleet, biodiesel trials for our heavy plant and mobile machinery, energy reduction in our workshops and buildings and increasing training and awareness for our teams,” Davis added.

“Our focus at this stage is capturing the data for this complex category and then we will move to review how we can reduce this through collaborative relationships and innovative approaches aimed at achieving net-zero in the longer term.”

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