Wellington, May 6 NZPA - Patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington was today formally accepted into the Royal New Zealand Navy.
Navy chief 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 sister ship Otago were designed and built to patrol the exclusive economic zone, carry out surveillance and military operations around New Zealand, the Southern Ocean and the Pacific, RA Parr said.
They could operate further offshore than existing navy patrol vessels, stay at sea longer, and conduct more challenging operations using their helicopter capability, sea-boats and embarked forces, he said.
HMNZS Wellington is the seventh and last ship in the Project Protector fleet, and with its delivery the navy will have fleet of 12.
"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," RA Parr said.
The delivery crew of HMNZS Wellington would now undertake safety and operational preparations for her delivery voyage to New Zealand.
The navy will be hoping the trip goes more smoothly than it did for the Otago, which struck problems before it could cross the Tasman Sea on its maiden voyage.
Otago was carrying out sea trials off Melbourne to test her systems when the faults were found, the Defence Force said in March. The problem involved a manifold on one of the engines.