9 April 2013
HMNZS WELLINGTON at sea.
Navy warship HMNZS WELLINGTON returns to the high seas on Wednesday after receiving the green light from Navy assessors.
The Offshore Patrol Vessel spent eight months alongside at Devonport Naval Base, as part of a plan that allowed the Navy time to train and rest key personnel.
WELLINGTON has completed three weeks of sea training, which culminated in a week-long assessment to prove the ship is ready and capable to proceed to sea. The final readiness evaluation was a challenging 48 hours where the crew of WELLINGTON were put through their paces.
The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander (LTCDR) Phillip Rowe, says his 51-person crew have been working hard since January to get the ship prepared for operational duties.
"The crew have come together as a team, and are working well together. I firmly believe that WELLINGTON and our ship’s company will be ready for any challenges we might face over the coming months."
LTCDR Rowe said the crew were well prepared for their first operational deployment, a multi-agency maritime surveillance patrol to the Kermadec Islands.
"The ship sails on Wednesday 10 April. The crew are excited about getting back to sea, and looking forward to contributing to the Navy’s operational taskings."
The Kermadec Islands mission is to provide support to the Department of Conservation, NZ MetService and GNS Science, transporting staff and supplies to outposts at Macauley and Raoul Islands. The ship will also conduct maritime surveillance of New Zealand’s waters en route.
"For many of the crew, this is their first time serving in an OPV. We have focused as a team on getting ready for this, and now we can enjoy our programmed deployments around New Zealand and into the South Pacific."
There are two Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) in service in the Royal New Zealand Navy – HMNZ Ships OTAGO and WELLINGTON.
NZ has the ninth longest coastline and the fifth largest maritime Economic Exclusive Zone in the world, an area 15 times our land mass. 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.
They can conduct boarding operations using the ships Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats, helicopter operations using a Seasprite SH-2G helicopter, or Military Support Operations with embarked forces.
The OPVs 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.
Please contact Lieutenant Commander Vicki Rendall, Senior Media Adviser (Navy) on 021 244 0638 for further information, or requests for interviews.