Displaying items by tag: naval service
#SixServiceFleet - The deployment of LÉ Eithne (P31) on a humanitarian mission to the Med, the fate of 'Aoife' and delays of newbuild OPV James Joyce, sees the Naval Service fleet reduced to 6 patrol vessels operating within Irish waters, writes Jehan Ashmore.
In recent years the Naval Service had a 8-strong fleet with the inclusion of LÉ Emer (P21) and sister LÉ Aoife (P22), however the former Offshore Patrol Vessel was sold overseas to Nigerian interests in 2013. This year the 'Emer' was transferred to the west African state's navy.
The 'flagship' LÉ Eithne commissioned as a Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV) made a transit of the Strait of Gibraltar this Tuesday heading for an Italian base port, yet the issue surrounding the decommissioned Aoife remains unresolved. This followed an Irish Government proposal to 'donate' the OPV to Malta but rebuffed by certain quarters of the island state's military as to her unsuitability in migrant SAR duties.
Afloat.ie has asked the Department of Defence for an update which responded with the same reply as previously reported (see report Aoife's almost full-circle role) in that the 'Department are in discussions with the Maltese authorities in relation to the modalities to be agreed in relation to the transfer of ownership of the decommissioned LÉ Aoife'.
As for the second newbuild Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) 90 class, James Joyce, she remains at the Babcock Marine & Technology Shipyard, Appledore in north Devon. As previously reported a month ago the newbuild had 'technical' issues following her first sea-trials that took place in March off Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel.
The Department however added that further trials of the James Joyce have since taken place.
It was also then reported last month that the €54m James Joyce would make her delivery voyage within weeks followed by a commissioning ceremony due this month. Whenever this ceremony takes place James Joyce will officially be designated with the ship's name prefix L.É. that means Long Éireannach or Irish Ship.
Currently the fleet that is in Irish waters comprises of a pair of 'Peacock' class coastal patrol vessels (CPV), three OPV's in the form of the sole remaining 'Emer' (modified Deirdre class) and a pair of 'Roisin' class OPV80s. The final unit is made of one Large Patrol Vessel (LPV) that been an enhanced version of the 'Roisin' class in the form of the 'Beckett' OPV90 class.
The Naval Service fleet of 7-strong patrol vessels are listed below.
HPV L.É. Eithne (P31) flagship (currently on overseas deployment)
CPV L.É. Orla (P41)
CPV L.É. Ciara (P42)
OPV L.É. Aisling (P23)
OPV L.É. Roisin (P51)
OPV L.É. Niamh (P52)
LPV L.É. Beckett (P61)
Each vessel is equipped with state of the art machinery, weapons, communication's and navigation systems.
In addition the Naval Service have on contract with Babcock Marine for a third and final sister of James Joyce which is due for delivery in 2016.
#EithneEntersMed - Naval Service flagship LÉ Eithne (P31) this evening entered the Strait of Gibraltar on her way to assist in the Mediterranean's migrant crisis, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The deployment of the 1,800 tonnes HPV is to enable in the search and rescue (SAR) of refugee migrants from mostly small craft that face the danger of sinking and loss of life.
She had departed her Naval Base homeport of Haulbowline, Cork Harbour on Saturday. Since her departure three days ago at the naval base is where Minister of Defence Simon Coveney was joined by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. to meet the crew of 70 in total. Two crew members are from the Army Medical Corps to assist refugees in an ever worsening migrant crisis.
The Cork built flagship dating from 1984 was commissioned originally as a Helicpoter Patrol Vessel (HPV) hence the extensive aft-deck space and adjoining hanger which will be used by boarding migrants.
It is also understood that the three RIBs will provide rapid reaction launch missions to assist in SAR operations. The need for such RIB craft will step up efforts as the growing numbers of refugees flee north Africa having fled war-torn regions of the Middle East and swathes of northern Africa.
The RIBS will be launched to aid sinking craft laden with refugees. Many of these unseaworthy craft used by people-traffickers are then abandoned except for the 'human-cargo' left to drift.
LÉ Eithne is expected to reach Italy this weekend (if not before) and to where the countries authorities will preside in the overall running of humanitarian operations.
This is the first time that an Irish Naval Service vessel has been involved in a humanitarian role overseas.
The base port to where LÉ Eithne is assigned has not been disclosed by the Department of Defence for operational security reasons. It is reported that the deployment duration in the Mediterranean is for two months and then the 80m flagship will be relieved by another Irish patrol vessel.
#EithneMedCrisis – It has been confirmed LÉ Eithne (P31) is to depart Cork Harbour this morning on a humanitarian mission to the Mediterranean as previously reported on Afloat.ie following discussions held between Irish and Italian authorities, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The deployment of the 1,800 tonnes 'flagship' is for a period of six months by the Minister of Defence Simon Coveney T.D. was recently given approval by Government. Joining the Minister this morning in the Naval Base Haulbowline, Cork Harbour was An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. who met the crew before the HPV vessel departs for the Mediterranean.
At the ceremony, the Minister stated that "The humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean is of great concern to Ireland. The quick response by the Irish Government in deciding to despatch a Naval Vessel highlights our commitment to assist with efforts to prevent further tragedy and loss of life at sea."
The Minister further stated that "The despatch of an Irish naval vessel represents a tangible and valuable Irish national contribution to assisting the Italian authorities in the humanitarian search and rescue operation."
A crew of 68 personnel from the Permanent Defence Force and 2 medical staff from the Army Medical Corps will assist Italian authorities in the carrying out of humanitarian search and rescue of refugees subject to the operational demands and requirements.
It is understood this is the first time in almost 60 years that an Naval Service vessel is to be deployed for humanitarian purposes.
The Minister concluded by saying "I wish to commend the Defence Forces on their efficient operational and logistical planning for this deployment. I want to wish each and every crew member of L.É. Eithne, under the command of Commander Pearse O'Donnell, a safe and successful mission. You will be in our thoughts throughout the duration of your tour of duty."
The 31 year-old L.E.Eithne was launched in 1984 as a Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV) which used to carry a 'Dauphin' helicopter on the extensive aft- deck. Next to the aft-deck is an adjoining hanger which will further assist in her new role in the rescue of refugees.
Note to the left of the twin funnels (abreast) with the hanger area below is a RIB and associated derrick (click photo from previous report) which was not part of the original ship when completed by Verolme Cork Dockyard. It is understood this RIB that rests on a cradle structure brings to three RIB craft onboard.
As the numbers of fleeing migrant refugees rises from war-torn regions in the Middle East and throughout northern swathes of the African continent, the EU has stepped up its efforts to assist authorities.
Among the nations already involved are the UK which has its 'flagship' HMS Bulwark carrying out rescue of refuges using the amphibious vessels fleet of landing craft.
#EithneMedCrisis - Minister for Defence, Simon Conveney, T.D. has been given approval by the Government today (12 May) for the deployment of a Naval Service vessel to undertake humanitarian search and rescue missions as previously reported on Afloat.ie in the Mediterrranean.
The last Irish built naval service vessel L.E.Éithne (P31) dating from 1984 whose career was also previously reported will have a crew of around 65 personnel of the Permanent Defence Force are to undertake the task. The decision is subject to finalisation of appropriate arrangements with the Italian authorities.
Following the Government Decision the Minister commented "subject to finalisation of arrangements with the Italian authorities, the L.É. Eithne will be despatched to the Mediterranean without any delay. Operational and logistics planning for the deployment have been completed and the 80m vessel which has a range of 7,000nm at 15 knots is ready to deployed. The humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean is of great concern to Ireland and to our EU partners. I am anxious that we commence search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean as soon as it is feasible to do so".
The Minister went on to say that "discussions are at an advanced stage with the Italian authorities on arrangements covering a number of issues relating to the deployment of the Vessel. I expect that the Ship should depart the Naval Base in Haulbowline on Saturday, subject to confirmation of the proposed arrangements by the relevant Italian authorities".
Ireland will deploy L.É. Eithne to the Mediterranean for a period of up to six months over the summer period, subject to the operational demands and requirements arising in the theatre of operations, to assist the Italian authorities in the humanitarian search and rescue operations.
The Minister highlighted the Government's commitment to continuing Ireland's strong tradition of peacekeeping and stated that "the proposed deployment of an Irish Naval Service vessel to the Mediterranean will bring the number of Defence Forces personnel deployed overseas to approximately 500 Irish personnel."
The bridges have undergone extensive repairs and upgrades as part of the early preparatory phase of the Haulbowline Island Remediation Project.
This long-delayed project is set to transform the former Ispat/Irish Steel site on the island into a major public amenity area.
When completed, it will also provide a potential future development location for the Naval Service, which is headquartered on the island.
It is not yet known, however, whether future plans for the island will also include an 'Ocean Racing Yacht Hub' within the Naval Service base.
Reopening of the bridges, which represents the sole land-based road access point to the island, allows for the core remediation of the island's East Tip and the former factory site to proceed later in 2015 – a year after the EPA granted the necessary waste licence.
"The completion of this significant piece of infrastructural work, apart from being a major engineering achievement in its own right, paves the way for the long awaited core remediation work to proceed," said Minister Coveney.
"Once completed this project will usher in an entirely new phase of this island’s long and distinguished history and represents tangible evidence of the Government’s commitment to Cork Harbour and to the wider marine sector."
The minister commented Cork County Council, consultants RPS Consulting Engineers and contractors LM Keating Ltd for carrying out the work within a relatively tight timeframe and within budget.
He also paid tribute to the Naval Service for facilitating the refurbishment and for ensuring that its day-to-day work was not impacted throughout the busy construction phase.
The upgrade was financed as part of a €40 million package signed off in October 2011 to clean up the toxic waste site at the former steelworks. Full details of the planned work are available at www.corkcoco.ie.
#EithneMedCrisis - Naval Service HPV LÉ Eithne (P31) writes The Irish Times is to be dispatched to the Mediterranean Sea to participate in an EU search and rescue mission for migrants fleeing north Africa, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine has said.
Simon Coveney told RTÉ radio this Tuesday morning he hoped the LÉ Eithne would be ready to leave for the Mediterranean by (this) Friday, May 8th.
He said the vessel was being prepared in Haulbowline naval base in Cork harbour so that it could "successfully save people and drop them to local ports in the vicinity of the Mediterranean".
Mr Coveney said the Taoiseach was anxious to respond to the crisis in southern Europe by providing " humanitarian and emergency rescue response capacity".
The European Union has been struggling to forge a united response to the migration crisis currently sweeping across the Middle East and north Africa as desperate migrants flee their homes for refuge in Europe.
No decision has yet been made on Ireland's participation in a European pilot resettlement programme for migrants.
#NavyMedCrisis - For first time Ireland is to participate in an EU search and rescue mission, following the Government's decision to send a fully crewed ship to the Mediterranean to help with the rescue of migrants fleeing north Africa.
The ship could be dispatched within weeks, officials said, and will work alongside Triton, the EU's search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean.
EU leaders have agreed to triple the funding allocated to Triton, with German chancellor Angela Merkel pledging to commit more money if necessary, in order to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean.
"If we need more money we will put up more money. We will not fail because of lack of funds," the German chancellor said in Brussels.
For much more on this story, The Irish Times reports HERE.
#OPVJamesJoyce – The Naval Service lastest newbuild James Joyce is currently dealing with technical issues, though the Department of Defence in response to Afloat.ie say the OPV is due for delivery in the coming weeks, writes Jehan Ashmore.
She is the second of a trio of OPV90 class newbuilds that were ordered from Babcock Marine in the UK that saw L.E. Samuel Beckett (P61) enter service last year.
The north Devon shipyard is working on addressing the technical issues of James Joyce following recent completion of sea trails, noting the first sea-trials took place last month.
Previously it was understood that the newbuild was to make a delivery voyage to Cork Harbour last month.
James Joyce is a direct replacement of the former 'Aoife' which was decommissioned last January after a career spanning 35 years.
In this morning's Irish Times newspaper, marine correspondent Lorna Siggins writes that a British yacht racing consultancy has met Government agencies as part of a 'grand plan' for haulbowline island, site of a former steelworks site. The plan for the yacht base was first mooted by British solo racer Alex Thomson when he called into to Cork Harbour for repairs last April before heading across the Atlantic Ocean.
As Afloat.ie reported last October, Thomson, together with his shore manager Stuart Hosford, a Cork native, returned to the harbour and gave a public lecture about his solo sailing success that also included comment about the potential to develop the harbour site. The visit was part of an 'Innovation Week' in Cork where Cork Institute of Technology, the Irish Naval Service and University College Cork promoted the first Imerc Innovation Week.
Interest in the Haulbowline site focuses on the substantial graving dock where large yachts measuring up to over 100–foot in length or more could be lifted in an out of the water in a deep water environment with convenient access to the Atlantic.
Haulbowline has been making headlines for years because of cancer-causing residue, left over from the Irish Steel plant that once occupied the land. It has been confirmed that a cache of 500,000 tonnes of slag and toxic waste material were buried at the former steelworks. Afloat reported on the hot site in the harbour in 2011.
More in the Irish Times on the Yacht Hub story here.
#SupertrawlerAppeal - The Irish Times reports that the head of the company that owns the world's largest trawler said on Sunday that his board is considering appealing a €105,000 fine imposed by an Irish court.
Diederik Parlevliet, managing director of Dutch firm Parlevliet and Van der Plas which owns super-trawler Annelies Ilena, complained the skipper was ordered to pay "a vastly unproportionate" sum for a €30 breach of the law.
That's what he claimed the amount of illegal fish was worth on the trawler, which is a half-metre longer than pitch in Croke Park.
The Irish Navy and Sea Fisheries Protection officers boarded the 144.6-metre Annelies Ilena off Tory Island in November 2013. For more on this story, click HERE
In addition to reading more by Lorna Siggins of The Irish Times (yesterday) who reflected on the arrest of the supertrawler, the former Irish owned 'Altantic Dawn' and the background to the current test case for EU fishery Law.