Thursday, November 24, 2016

HMNZS Otago (P148) of the NZ Navy

After finishing up on the Korean ship, the ROKS Chungbuk I headed a bit further down the wharf to the HMNZS Otago. The Otago is a Protector class off-shore patrol vessel (OPV) in service with the Royal New Zealand Navy. For those of you that don't know (which included me) an OPV is usually the smallest ship in a navy's fleet that are large and seaworthy enough to patrol off-shore in the open ocean.

Launched in 2006 but suffered from problems during construction and was not commissioned until 2010, two years later than planned. Costing around $110 million NZD she is not cheap, but her excellent indoor-outdoor flow, large deck space and sea views makes her pretty cheap compared with the Auckland house prices these days. 

Surprisingly enough the Otago was possibly my favourite ship of the day. Lacking the missile systems and "big-badda-boom" of some of the other ships I visited it still had a "kicking butt" charm to it. The ship (and it's crew) also exuded a quiet confident vibe. In terms of access to the ships internal areas it was second only to the ROKS Chungbuk and we were able to have quite a look around the ship.
Stolen from the NZ Navy here is a shot of the HMNZS Otago and the HMNZS Wellington, HMNZS Pukaki, HMNZS Rotoiti, HMNZS Hawea, HMNZS Taupo and HMNZS Manawanui.
Whilst in line we got to have a chat to a couple of the members of the boarding party. They were sporting the new Benelli M3 semi-auto shotguns and SIG Sauer P226 pistols (soon to be replaced by Glock 17 pistols). These guys were happy to have a chat whilst we waited in the sun and handed their (unloaded) weapons to the crowd to check out.
Despite being a relatively small ship, it is still a 'big' thing.
Once on board we headed up the side of the vessel

To the bow where could see up to the bridge
And the main armament of the Otago, a single remote controlled Rafael Typhoon 25 mm stabilised naval gun. The gun can maintain groupings of 250mm on a target up to 1,000 metres away!.

From the bow we headed down the centre of the to the back end (checking out a few of the sights along the way including some fairly spacious crew quarters off "Castle Street"). Here some of the crew were showing off their damage control gear.
Then another wander around and back up through the hanger to the landing pad at the rear of the Otago where our Super Seasprite SH-2G(I)  helicopters can land.
Just in case the chopper pilot isn't sure where he/she is landing....

From here I wandered past a few ships checking out the queues - by now it was about 11am and it felt like all of Auckland had turned up with the Singaporean ship the RSS Resolution - an Endurance-class landing platform dock (LPD) - having a queue that was rumoured to be 3 hours long. Instead I headed on to the INS Sumitra, a Saryu class patrol vessel of the Indian Navy.

No comments: