The New Zealand Navy has received the first of two Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) HMNZS Otago built by Tenix Defence in Melbourne, Australia.

HMNZS Otago is the sixth ship in the Project Protector fleet while the second OPV HMNZS Wellington is expected to enter the naval service April 2010.

Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Tony Parr said Otago and her sister ship Wellington will undertake Exclusive Economic Zone patrols, surveillance and military operations around New Zealand, the southern ocean and the Pacific.

“Both the ships have the capability to operate further offshore than our existing patrol vessels, stay at sea longer, and conduct more challenging operations using their helicopter capability, sea-boats and embarked forces,” Parr said.

Parr said that the delivery of Otago and Wellington enables the Navy to operate a fleet of 12 modern, hi-tech and highly capable ships.

Parr said with the completion of Project Protector the Navy can deliver the full range of maritime military capability from combat and security missions to peacekeeping, border patrol and humanitarian and disaster relief.