New ship HMNZS WELLINGTON boosts Navy capability

HMNZS Wellington's acceptance ceremony in Williamstown, Melbourne
Lt Cdr Simon Griffiths with Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Tony Parr holding the Acceptance warrant at HMNZS Wellington's acceptance ceremony in Williamstown, Melbourne. (MC10-0133-080)

 6 May 2010

The Navy’s capability to patrol New Zealand’s coast was boosted today with the formal acceptance of HMNZS WELLINGTON into the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Chief of Navy, Rear-Admiral Tony Parr and Ministry of Defence Project Director Gary Collier formally accepted the Offshore Patrol Vessel, the seventh and last ship in the $500 million Project Protector, at a ceremony in Melbourne.

“WELLINGTON and her sister ship OTAGO are modern ships designed and built to undertake Exclusive Economic Zone patrols, surveillance and military operations around New Zealand, the southern ocean and the Pacific,” said Admiral Parr. 

“WELLINGTON and OTAGO 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.”

HMNZS WELLINGTON is the seventh and last ship in the Project Protector fleet, and with her delivery the Navy will be operating a fleet of 12 modern and highly capable ships. 

“With the completion of Project Protector the Navy can deliver the full range of operations from combat and security missions to peacekeeping, border patrol and humanitarian and disaster relief,” said Admiral Parr.

The delivery crew of HMNZS WELLINGTON will now undertake safety and operational preparations for her delivery voyage to New Zealand. 


Ship Information

The Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) OTAGO and WELLINGTON deliver substantial new capability to the Royal New Zealand Navy. The ships can go further offshore, stay at sea longer, and conduct more challenging operations than the Inshore Patrol Vessels, and will enable the RNZN to conduct patrol and surveillance operations around New Zealand, the southern ocean and into the Pacific.

The OPV’s are capable of many roles including maritime patrol, surveillance and response. They have the ability to conduct helicopter operations using a Seasprite SH2G helicopter, boarding operations using the ships Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats, or Military Support Operations with embarked forces.

The OPV’s have strengthened hulls which enable them to enter southern waters where ice may be encountered. They are not designed as ice-breakers or to enter Antarctic ice-packs, but have the range and capability to undertake patrols in the southern ocean where ice may be encountered.

The ships are highly automated and operate with a core crew of 35, plus 10 flight crew to operate a helicopter.  The ships power and control systems are fully computerised.

Multi-Agency Operations and Tasking (MAOT).   The OPVs will be available to support Government Agencies including:

  • New Zealand Customs Service
  • Ministry of Fisheries
  • New Zealand Police
  • Maritime New Zealand
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Department of Conservation
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
  • New Zealand Immigration Service
  • Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

In order to deliver its patrol/response capability, the OPV will undertake  the following tasks;

  • Maritime counter-terrorism.
  • Surveillance and Reconnaissance.
  • Surface contact detection, identification, interception and boarding.
  • Helicopter operations including surveillance and reconnaissance, and surface contact detection, identification and interception, and support to boarding operations as well as general personnel and stores movement.
  • Apprehension and escort of vessels.
  • Pollution control.
  • Maritime Search And Rescue (SAR), including aid to vessels in distress (including towing of vessels of same or smaller size).

Secondary roles for the OPVs are;

  • Provision of support to embarked military forces, e.g. transportation, insertion and extraction of military units and their associated equipment.
  • Disaster relief operations in NZ and beyond if required.
  • Defence aid to the civil community.
  • Medical Evacuation (Medivac).
  • Military Hydrography.
  • Diving Operations Support.
  • Mine Countermeasures Support.
  • Collection of environmental data.
  • VIP Transport, and;
  • Defence Diplomacy and Representational activities in NZ and foreign ports.

Point of Contact  Lieutenant Sarah Campbell, Media Adviser Navy, 021 244 0638.

This page was last reviewed on 19 January 2011.