Displaying items by tag: naval service
#SupertrawlerArrest - Lorna Siggins of The Irish Times reflects on the 922nd boarding by a Naval Service fishery patrol in 2013 which could have been a routine affair, but for the vessel's size and history.
The 144-metre Dutch-registered Annelies Ilena is seven times the tonnage of the patrol ship, LÉ Roisín (P51) – and multiple times that of the rigid inflatable (RIB) deployed by Lieut Cdr Terry Ward to inspect it.
The ship, formerly the Irish-registered Atlantic Dawn, is one of the world's biggest fishing vessels, the largest super trawler and the biggest detention by the Naval Service to date.
It was among a fleet of Dutch vessels working some 100 nautical miles northwest of Tory Island when approached by a joint Naval Service/Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA) patrol on November 22nd, 2013.
The team intended to board several in the fleet in the knowledge that such ships flying other EU flags were notoriously hard to inspect. If caught, it could also be a test case for EU fishery law.
"Vessels with the ability to catch fish on an industrial scale in waters under our jurisdiction, but which almost never land here, pose particular challenges to ensure regulatory compliance," SFPA chair Susan Steele said at the time.
Had it been 20 miles north, it would have been in Scottish waters.
It was detained and escorted to Killybegs, Co Donegal, on suspicion of "high grading", a practice initiated, ironically, in response to stricter EU quota regulations. It involves retaining the most valuable fish and throwing smaller, less valuable, fish which are still over the minimum size back into sea.
For supertrawlers, it can make the difference of several hundred thousand euro per trip.
For much more on this story, click here.
As a seafarer, he was renowned for his ship handling and his ability to manoeuvre and turn vessels in the tightest of locations. As an officer, he was seen as firm but fair. In his leadership he displayed understanding and compassion and he enjoyed the respect of those he commanded.
William John Brett was born into a farming family in Cappauniac, Cahir, Co Tipperary, the second youngest of the 11 children of Thomas Brett and Bridget Pyne. After primary education at Ballydrehid National School, Kilmoyler, he attended the Christian Brothers School in Tipperary town.
He entered the Irish Naval Service in 1947, and joined the the Naval cadet class a year after the establishment of the service, at a time when training meant moving to the centre of British naval education on the south coast of England – a long way from his landlocked native county.
He received his midshipman training with the Royal Navy at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. Sea time on board British ships allowed him to travel widely, from the home waters around Europe as far afield as Hong Kong, gaining valuable experience in the years immediately after the second World War.
For more about his career involving corvettes and the capture of the 'Claudia' click here.
RTÉ News reports that a Waterford-based marine engineer made the offer on behalf of a Dutch client with a view to using the OPV for security operations in Africa.
The deal, offered over a year ago, would have been worth far more than the €320,000 for which her sister ship LÉ Emer sold at auction in 2013.
That vessel was recommissioned last month into the Nigerian Navy as NNS Prosperity.
But the prospective purchasers say they never heard back from the Department of Defence, and only learned of the State's donation of the LÉ Aoife to Malta through the media.
RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.
The 41 men and two woman saluted their commanding Flag Officer Hugh Tully at the ceremony at Naval Service Headquarters on Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour on Thursday 12 March.
Awards were also presented to the new class, including best shot (to 26-year-old Gary O'Connor), best kit (to 27-year-old Darren Lawlor) and best recruit, which went to 25-year-old local man Shane Downey.
The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.
#AoifesFate? – Aoife's fate still remains as the former Naval Service OPV is according to the Department of Defence in active discussions with the Maltese authorities, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The department added, that negotiations in relation to the modalities to be agreed in relation to the transfer of ownership of the decommissioned LÉ Aoife (P22).
Should the 1979 built Aoife head for a new career in the Med with the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) naval squadron (and despite the 'junk' comments) one of new roles would be to assist in the humanitarian crisis.
Be it to deploy 'Aoife' to assist in the effort to rescue refugees fleeing worn-torn regions of North Africa and beyond. In addition to migrants seeking a better life in Europe having taken to the water on boats also organised by people-traffickers.
Could this be somewhat full-circle for the former Naval Service patrol-ship? As the following is a piece I wrote for the Maritime Institute of Ireland's (National Maritime Museum of Ireland) Newsletter Winter 2003/04 and under the heading: Uniquely 'Unique'.
The story read: When going to work on November 5th, I noticed an unusual looking vessel at anchor south-east of Dun Laoghaire in Dublin Bay.The ship was a small coaster and of some vintage too and had characteristics unusual for ships calling to Dublin Bay these days.
It transpired that the vessel, the Mongolian registered 'Unique' was suspected of people-trafficking, as widely reported by the media. This activity turned out to be the first suspected incident of such a case in Irish waters.
The Naval Service L.E. Aoife arrived on November 6th in order to undertake inspections on board the Unique.
Despite searches of the ship and crew, no illegal persons or contraband where found. The Unique was subsequently escorted to Dublin Port on November 13th by the L.E. Ciara.
An Admiralty Court order for non-payment of wages for the crew of Unique were issued on behalf of the International Transport Federation (ITF).
It is now ironic to reflect on that historic incident of suspected people-trafficking and to have involved the deployment of L.E. Aoife from the 8-strong naval fleet.
As the Aoife is no longer in service, the fleet is reduced to 7 patrol vessels until newbuild OPV90 class James Joyce (on sea-trials) enters service this Spring?
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Cork County Councillors call for Aoife to remain in the southern city as a floating museum. This would see the former OPV vessel as a museum near the Naval Service Base on Haulbowline, Cork Harbour, in the face of what's been taken as a "snub" by the Maltese.
A similar idea to keep Aoife in Irish waters was floated previously by a lobby group in Waterford. They campaigned for the veteran vessel to be kept along Waterford's quays and during her Naval Service days they designated the OPV's adopted 'homeport' to be that city. Aptly the south-eastern city is to where her decommissioning took place in January.
Aoife is currently berthed at the Naval Base. As for her exact location at the HQ's island complex, it is understood she is berthed within the Naval Basin alongside the former Irish Steel Plant. It is from this western quay of the basin is where the steel-plant received cargoships with scrap metal!
So watch this space and to wherever next?
#JamesJoyce – James Joyce began builders sea-trials today, she is the second of a trio of OPV90 class newbuilds ordered by the Department of Defence from a UK shipyard, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Afloat.ie has confirmed from the Department that an indicative date for the handover of the yet to be commissioned James Joyce will not be available until the sea trials are completed. She is to directly replace the decommissioned Aoife.
It is understood that James Joyce departed in the early hours of this morning from Appledore, north Devon from where she was built by Babcock Marine & Technology.
The yard on the banks of the River Torridge is from where her predecessor, leadship LÉ Samuel Beckett (P61) was also floated-out in late 2013.
On that occasion the inaugural newbuild also carried similar trials in the Bristol Channel which took place almost a year ago.
As recently reported, LÉ Samuel Beckett is undergoing annual maintenance works at Cork Dockyard.
A final sister also costing €54m was added to the original order for the first pair. The unnamed third newbuild will be launched from Appledore but not due for delivery until 2016.
#Asbestos- OPV90 class LÉ Samuel Beckett (P61) currently in Cork Dockyard for annual maintenance is where previously a pair of Naval Service CPV had asbestos removed early in the year, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Afloat.ie contacted the Department of Defence to comment on the current status of the CPV (Coastal Patrol Vessels). A spokesperson said that the Health & Safety Authority have indicated to the Naval Service that they are satisfied that all ship-related asbestos matters have been dealt with.
The cost to remove the dangerous material which was located in engine room spaces of the LÉ Orla (P41) and sister LÉ Ciara (P42) was in the region of €350,000.
Both CPV's had also undergone routine refit work at the dry-dock before returning last month to the Naval Base on Haulbowline, Cork Harbour, to where further works were carried out.
LÉ Orla is expected to resume operations by mid-March and LÉ Ciara is also expected to re-enter service at the end of this month.
#LÉAoife - Cork county councillors have called for the decommissioned LÉ Aoife to be turned into a floating museum after Maltese military brass branded the vessel as "junk".
"Past its sell by date" is how some members of Malta's armed forces see the 35-year-old OPV that's set to be gifted to the Mediterranean island country to shore up its naval capacity, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
Now, Cork county mayor Alan Coleman has offered that a tourism group in Cork Harbour could take on the vessel as a museum near the Naval Service headquarters on Haulbowline, in the face of what's been taken as a "snub" by the Maltese.
According to the Irish Examiner, Mayor Coleman has the unanimous support of his council colleagues for the move to write to Marine and Defence Minister Simon Coveney and make a formal offer.
The mayor also expressed his surprise at the gifting of the LÉ Aoife when her sister ship the LÉ Emer was sold at auction for €320,000.
#AoifeFuture? Should the 'Aoife' set sail for sunnier climes in Malta, despite previous reports of disquiet from Mediterranean military quarters, she would become the island state's largest naval unit, writes Jehan Ashmore.
As flagship, she potentially faces the harsh realities of the growing refugee crisis as people flee war-torn regions across North Africa and also the Middle East.
The Verolme Cork Dockyard OPV L.E. Aoife (P22), custom built in 1979 for the Naval Service has been the longest serving patrol vessel spanning 35 years until decommissioned in her 'adopted' homeport in Waterford last month.
Her possible role in the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) naval squadron would be to serve in a fleet that is larger than the Naval Service now reduced from 8 to 7 vessels.
The AFM' naval fleet are mostly high-speed yet small inshore patrol boats (IPV) that are strategically positioned in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea. However, there have been calls from a lobby group to keep the Aoife as a museum ship tourist and educational attraction in Waterford City.
Aoife which has a displacement of 1,019 tonnes and a length of 65.5m, would according to the Maltese Government address a shortfall in the capability of having a longer range vessel and given the country's role in UN mandated missions.
Both Irish and Maltese military have shown increased defence co-operation having recently completed a joint exercise as part of an EU training mission in Somalia. Maltese army personnel would be provided peace-keeping training courses from Ireland as part of the deal with Aoife's gifting to Malta.
The transfer of Aoife to Malta, would be a stop gap measure as their navy are to acquire a new OPV but not due for another four years.
By coincidence, another Maltese naval patrol ship with the same pennant number of the former Aoife's P22 already exists as a unit within a quartet of albeit smaller 21m IPV's of only 40 tonnes displacement. Funding for these inshore Austal built aluminium craft came from the European Union External Borders Fund.
While the largest vessel of the Malta Navy fleet is an OPV with the pennant number (P61) which is another coincidence given the same number is also designated to the Irish Naval Service's newest built OPV90 leadship, L.E. Samuel Beckett. Second sister of the trio ordered, 'James Joyce' is to directly replace the Aoife and is due for delivery within months.
When commissioned, the Babcock Marine built newbuild from Appledore in the UK will be designated pennant number P62. As for the yet to announced name for the final OPV due in 2016 and as the P63.
As for the largest Maltese patrol vessel commissioned in 2005, the single P61 class OPV has a 399 displacement and is based from the design of an Italian Coast Guard class 54m cutter. However, she unlike the Aoife, has the advantage of a helicopter deck in addition to a stern ramp for launching a 7 metre RHIB.
This capability along with some other classes can easily deploy a fast-response rescue RIB for the humanitarian crisis. The lack of this feature on the Aoife has been raised as a concern by certain quarters of the navy and by the Maltese media.
With continued negotiations underway between Irish and Maltese departments of Defence, Aoife and 'P71' painted across her bows?
Days ago it was reported that Ireland would be donating the decommissioned Irish Naval Service OPV to help address a shortfall in Malta's current naval capacity as it faces a growing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean.
But it's now emerged that members of Malta's armed forces view the 35-year-old vessel as "past its sell by date", with one retired serviceman saying it "sets a very very bad precedent for other junk to follow being dumped on us."
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.