The New Zealand Government is reportedly planning to reduce the Royal New Zealand Navy‘s inshore patrol vessel (IPV) fleet.
The navy has been struggling to crew the ships, with a persistent lack of technicians available. Its current crew consists of 2,059 regular personnel compared with 2,162 in 2010, reported DefenseNews.
New Zealand Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman was quoted by the news agency as saying two of the four 180ft IPVs commissioned in 2009 could be swapped with a larger vessel.
"Obviously, if we felt that what we had already was ideal we wouldn’t be looking at this potential change," Coleman said.
According to business case documents obtained under the Official Information Act by a New Zealand television channel, two of the four patrol vessels could be put up for sale and swapped with a single longer-range ship in approximately five years.
The government purchased four IPVs under the $423m Project Protector contract, which included two 279ft offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and the 430ft amphibious ship Canterbury.
The vessels were acquired to assist police, customs, fisheries and other government agencies in safeguarding New Zealand’s borders and restricted economic zone.
Based on the commercial roll-on / roll-off ship Ben-My-Chree, the Canterbury is powered by a diesel-electric propulsion system, integrating two 4.5MW Wärtsilä engines, three auxiliary diesels and two bow thrusters.