The Republic of Ireland is acquiring two decommissioned Lake-class inshore patrol vessels (IPVs) from New Zealand as part of wider plans to modernise and rebalance the Irish Naval Service fleet.
Separately, the Irish government has reaffirmed its plans to proceed with the acquisition of a new Multi Role Vessel (MRV) able to deliver a flexible and adaptive capacity for a wide range of maritime tasks at home and overseas.
The former HMNZS Roitoti and HMNZS Pukaki are being acquired under a €26 million government-to-government sale, Minister for Defence and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney confirmed in mid-March.
The two vessels, which will be delivered next year, are to replace the ageing Peacock class patrol vessels LÉ Orla and LÉ Ciara.
Built in Whangarei, New Zealand, by BAE Systems Australia (formerly Tenix Shipbuilding), the four 55m Lake-class IPVs were commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2009 as part of the wider Project Protector programme. Project Protector was a package of seven ships designed to better configure the Royal New Zealand Navy for economic exclusion zone surveillance, security and peacekeeping, and humanitarian aid/disaster relief operations.
Roitoti and Pukaki were retired from Royal New Zealand Navy service in October 2019 as part of a rebalancing of the Royal New Zealand Navy fleet towards sustained offshore operations; both vessels have been in Lloyd’s lay-up class appraisal survey since being withdrawn. Sister vessels HMNZS Hawea and HMNZS Taupo remain in service in New Zealand.
The Irish flagship LÉ Eithne will be replaced by the MRV as part of the phased recapitalisation of the Irish Naval Service. The new vessel will be capable of deploying troops, vehicles, cargo, and operating a helicopter. A tender is planned for release in 2023, subject to confirmation of budget.
Houlder Limited was appointed as marine advisor in August 2021 to support the procurement of the new ship; its contract runs to the end of December 2022 with options to extend.