Chance to see over visiting HMNZS 'Otago'

Thousands of people are expected to tour HMNZS Otago when it is opened to the public in Dunedin at the weekend.

The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) ship was due to berth in Dunedin, at the Birch St wharf, on Thursday evening and would be opened for public tours on Saturday afternoon.

RNZN resident naval officer Lieutenant-commander Ian Marshall, of Dunedin, said the protector class offshore patrol vessel was in operation around the lower half of the South Island and the ship's company would ''exercise its right and privilege to pass through the city of Dunedin with colours flying, drums beating, swords drawn and bayonets fixed''.

On Saturday, about 50 members of the ship's company would parade with naval cadets and reserves from HMNZS Toroa, along St Andrew and George Sts to the Octagon, where Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull would inspect them from 11am, he said.

The vessel would then be opened to the public from 12.30pm to 4.30pm.

Lt-cmdr Marshall said the last time people could tour the ship in Dunedin was in July 2010, when 2963 went aboard during its first home visit.

HMNZS Otago was due to leave Dunedin bound for Devonport next Monday, with a small group of Dunedin naval cadets on board.

rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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