HMNZS OTAGO (MC10-106-021)
30 November 2010
Offshore Patrol Vessel, HMNZS OTAGO, is returning to home port Bluff on Thursday 2 December 2010 and a day later HMNZS WELLINGTON will join her.
The visit to Bluff by the newest ships in the Royal New Zealand Navy coincides with a number of Navy themed events happening throughout the weekend.
The 50th Anniversary of the Official Opening of the Bluff Island Harbour is on Friday, 3 December 2010. Fifty years ago HMNZS LACHLAN a “River” class frigate, later reconfigured as a Hydrographic survey ship, was berthed in Bluff for the official opening. This highlights the long standing relationship that the Royal New Zealand Navy has had with the Southland region. The relationship continues today with OTAGO having Freedom of the City in the Southland Region, which was granted in July of this year.
On Sunday 5 December 2010, Navy personnel from OTAGO and WELLINGTON will join members of the Southland Branch, Ex Royal Naval Man’s Association of New Zealand in commemorating the 69th Anniversary of the sinking of HMS NEPTUNE. All but one crew member was lost on that fateful night with majority of the crew being New Zealanders.
The commemoration service will be held at 10:45 am at the Memorial Rock, Bluff Maritime Museum car park, Bluff.
OTAGO and WELLINGTON will depart Bluff on 6 December for the Campbell Islands in support of the Department of Conservation. It is the first significant deployment for the Offshore Patrol Vessels.
In the past, patrols in the Southern Ocean have been undertaken by the Navy’s frigates. Introducing the Offshore Patrol Vessels into service means the frigates are released to do their primary job of enhancing regional security through operations and exercises with other nations.
During their visit to the region, due to operational requirements, neither ship will be open to the public.
Ship Specifications of OTAGO and WELLINGTON
Displacement: 1,900 tonnes
Length Overall: 85 metres
Beam: 14 metres
Range: 6000 nautical miles
Speed: Maximum continuous 22 knots
Core ships company 35
Flight personnel: 10
Government agencies: 4
Additional personnel: 30
Armament: One 25mm Bushmaster Naval gun and two .50 calibre machine guns
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.
The Offshore Patrol Vessels go further offshore, stay at sea longer, and conduct more challenging operations and enable the RNZN to conduct patrol and surveillance operations around New Zealand, the southern ocean and into the Pacific.
Please contact Lieutenant Commander Ian Marshall – Resident Naval Officer, Dunedin, on 027 474 3990 for further information.