• NZ is designing a ship to protect its interests in Antarctica.
    NZ is designing a ship to protect its interests in Antarctica. Supplied

Beca Applied Technologies (Beca), with the support of specialist naval architecture company Vard Marine (Vard), have been appointed by the NZ Ministry of Defence as the Technical Support Partner to the Southern Ocean Patrol Vessel (SOPV) project. 

The SOPV project is exploring options for a ship that is designed to operate in one of the harshest environments on the planet. An ice-strengthened offshore patrol vessel for Southern Ocean operations will be navigating the large distance between NZ and Antarctica, it will be traversing one of the roughest seas in the world, and must be able to operate safely in Ross Sea ice conditions. Any vessel that can meet these needs will need characteristics tailored to these demanding conditions.

Beca and Vard will join the Ministry’s Integrated Project Team providing systems engineering, concept design and technical logistics input for the early stages of the project as the capability is defined and specified.

Beca has been a long-standing strategic supplier to the Ministry of Defence and NZ Defence Force, including on the Maritime Sustainment Capability and the Dive Hydro Vessel project that contributed to the delivery of HMNZS Aotearoa and HMNZS Manawanui.

“We are delighted to be supporting the development of another critical capability for the people and Government of NZ,” Andrew Ford, Business Director - Defence & National Security at Beca said. “The SOPV has the potential to provide much needed presence in the Southern Ocean to safeguard NZ’s interests there. We are excited to partner with the MoD Integrated Project Team and to bring Vard’s significant polar class experience to this program.”

NZ’s Otago Class patrol vessels were designed by Vard Marine and delivered in 2010. These vessels have operated in heavy sea states and ice in the Southern Ocean, and the SOPV is intended to provide improved operability in similar conditions. 

“Vard Marine is delighted to once again be supporting the Royal NZ Navy in developing another vitally important maritime capability,” Derek Buxton, VP Business Development at Vard Marine said. “This time we very much look forward to combining our expertise in multi-role ships designed for high-latitude operations with the regional defence knowledge and systems engineering expertise that Beca brings to the program.”

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