21 February 2013
Eleven days in sub-Antarctic waters has proven a successful mission for the Royal New Zealand Navy and Department of Conservation (DoC), working together to achieve a variety of tasks on land and sea.
Offshore Patrol Vessel, HMNZS OTAGO was assisting Conservation Staff with transport between the Campbell, Auckland and Snares Islands.
Commanding Officer of HMNZS OTAGO, Lieutenant Commander (LTCDR) Robert McCaw, said the ship and her crew enjoyed the opportunity to see new regions, but also to help out with DoC’s work.
"Members of the ship’s company provided enthusiastic manpower for track and hut maintenance, and assisted in marine fauna surveys using the ship’s boats," says LTCDR McCaw.
"This is my third trip to these amazing islands and second in command of an OPV. It’s great to see how Navy and DoC continue to improve our working relationship as we grow to understand each other.
"We are achieving a lot here and everyone onboard is glad to be contributing to such a special and unique environment."
DoC's Programme Manager Offshore Islands, Peter McClelland says "The Navy's support has been first class and we completed all the proposed tasks. This is quite an achievement for any trip to the sub-Antarctic and would simply not have been possible without the full commitment of the Captain and crew. The OPVs are ideal for our work and we have had excellent service since they were commissioned."
The Navy and DoC work together regularly in efforts to protect New Zealand and her interests in the maritime domain.
OTAGO will berth at Bluff Friday 22 February for a resupply and respite visit, before sailing on Monday to continue with DoC taskings in the sub-Antarctic region for a further week.
There are two Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) in service in the Royal New Zealand Navy.
The OPVs enable the RNZN to conduct long range maritime patrol, surveillance, and operational activity around New Zealand, the Southern Ocean and into the Pacific. They are versatile vessels capable of multi-agency operations in support of regional security tasks.
Last year HMNZS OTAGO spent 123 days at sea. HMNZS WELLINGTON spent 96 days at sea.
They can conduct boarding operations using the ships Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats, helicopter operations using a Seasprite SH2G helicopter, or Military Support Operations with embarked forces.
Please contact Lieutenant Commander Vicki Rendall, Senior Media Adviser (Navy) on 021 244 0638 for further information, or requests for interviews with OTAGO’s crew.