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Displaying items by tag: Naval Visits

#StealthShip - Presenting ‘stealth’ characteristics is frigate Provence of the French Navy which is to make a courtesy call to Dublin tomorrow and will be open at the weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

On Saturday the public are invited to board the slick 6,000 gross tonnage 'Aquitaine' class FREMM frigate. The visit will allow for a crew rest in the capital. 

Measuring 142m long vessel, Provence is of the French Frégate européenne multi-mission (FREMM) programme in which the ship is the second of the class. The vessel was built in Brest by DCNS in 2015.

Provence is one of three active multiple-purpose frigates serving French Navy and they are equipped to operate during anti-submarine missions.

Among the equipment which is fitted with the latest technology includes MU90 torpedoes, variable depth sonar and bow mounted sonars.

At the stern is where a NH90 helicopter can be landed and this aircraft is fitted with buoys and flash sonar.

Published in Naval Visits

#DutchFrigate – A Dutch navy frigate HNLMS Van Amstel (F831) equipped with surface and anti-submarine warfare systems is to visit Dublin Port this weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 3,353 tonnes Karel Doorman-class multi-purpose frigate of the Royal Netherlands Navy is calling to the capital tomorrow for the purposes of crew rest and recreation.

According to NavyToday the frigate has been part of a NATO fleet earlier this year tasked to fight against people-smugglers in the Aegean Sea.

Launched in 1990 at the shipyard Koninklijke Schelde Groep in Vlissingen, HNLMS Van Amstel also has air defence capability. The 122m long frigate is named after from Captain Jan van Amstel a commander of the Dutch navy during the 1650’s. The current navy has six frigates of two classes.

Earlier this month it was the turn of Cork City to receive another member of a Dutch navy in the form of ‘Walrus’ class submarine HNLMS Bruinvis. The 68m long submarine with up to 40 torpedoes had docked in the port for crew time ashore.

Published in Naval Visits

#Submarines – A Dutch Navy submarine which Afloat.ie covered in departing Cork Harbour on Monday is a ‘Walrus’ class submarine, one in which was driven away two days later by Russian warships in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

A Russian defence ministry spokesman Maj Gen Igor Konashenkov said two Russian navy destroyers spotted the Walrus-class submarine on Wednesday while it was 11 nautical miles away from the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and its escorting ships, reports the Associated Press.

The destroyers had tracked the submarine for more than an hour, using anti-submarine helicopters, before forcing it to leave the area, he said. The spokesman added that such “clumsy” attempts to manoeuvre close to the Russian squadron could have resulted in an accident. For more on this story published in The Irish Times, click here.

As previously reported at the ‘Our Maritime Heritage Conference’ held in Belfast last month, Afloat.ie first learnt the Royal Navy’s HMS Duncan was forced to abandon a scheduled visit to the city. Instead the Type 45 destroyer, part of a NATO quartet diverted to the English Channel to ‘shadow’ an eight-strong Russian Navy flotilla notably led by flagship aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov bound for Syria.

The giant 58,000 tonne and powerful Admiral Kuznetsov, the Russian Federation’s sole aircraft carrier was accompanied by nuclear-powered Peter the Great, a missile cruiser.

It was only last weekend that HMS Duncan, one of the Royal Navy’s most modern and powerful destroyers which is affiliated with Belfast finally called to the city along with frigates from Germany, Spain and Portugal. The call followed reports that Russian submarines in the Irish Sea in recent weeks were tracked by the Royal Navy.

As previously highlighted by Afloat’s WM Nixon, the naval presence of Admiral Kuznetsov which drew much attention as the aircraft carrier belched black smoke while passing the famous White Cliffs of Dover. The aging carrier constructed between 1982 and 1992 has always been regarded as a bit of a jinxed ship with such a history of engine breakdown that she never goes anywhere without her own personal tugboat in attendance, just to be sure to be sure.

According to Ships Monthly's September issue, it would seem Admiral Kuznetsov will finally receive more detailed attention to her troublesome engines as the giant aircraft carrier is scheduled to have a major refit in 2017. The ageing aircraft carrier has not been extensively modernised since entering service more than a quarter century ago.

Next year’s refit is primarily to focus on upgrading the flight deck equipment so to improve the launch and recovery rate of aircraft. The aircraft currently deployed in the naval deployment mission to Syria involve a combination of composite air wing fighter craft as well as helicopters.

Published in News Update

#NavalVisits - The Royal Navy’s HMS Duncan was among a fleet of NATO warships that sailed into Belfast Lough on Friday 4 November, as ITV News reports.

The Type 45 Destroyer, only the second of its kind in Northern Ireland’s waters, is part of a four-ship fleet comprising frigates from Spain, Portugal and Germany that had been scheduled to visit last month.

However, they were diverted to monitor a number of Russian warships passing through British waters en route to Syria.

The visit this weekend followed reports that Russian submarines had been tracked through the Irish Sea in recent weeks, as previously covered on Afloat.ie.

Published in Naval Visits

#X-Submarine - A Dutch navy non-nuclear powered submarine built during the Cold War is this afternoon arriving to Cork City for a four-day visit, writes Jehan Ashmore.

HNLMS Bruinvis is a diesel electric powered submarine. The 68m submarine is equipped with almost 40 torpedoes and is the final ‘Walrus’ class of four built. Leadship HNLMS Walrus visited Dublin Port earlier this year. 

On this occasion, the visit of the Royal Netherlands Navy (NATO member) submarine takes place at Cork city centre’s JJ Horgan's Wharf on the north quays. The crew are to spend their on leave time in the southern city for the purposes of rest and recreation.

What makes these class unusual to other submarines is the "X" tail configuration design. This involves in mounting four combined rudders and diving planes to form the an "X" tail at the stern (see above photo).This differs to the conventional cross-shaped assembly of stern diving planes and rudders.

The contract for the submarine was given to Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (Rotterdam Dry Dock Co). Construction began in 1988, one year before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War in 1991. Three years later HNLMS Brunis was commissioned into service. 

 

Published in Naval Visits

#SailStavros – A French Navy fleet tanker replenishment vessel this morning departed Dublin Port and where a UK youth sail training ship arrived this afternoon, writes Jehan Ashmore.

BCR Somme (A631) is a Durance class command and replenishment ship which Afloat reported on during a another visit, click here. On this occasion,the 157m tanker had spent her Irish call having arrived on Friday to the port providing crew rest leave over the weekend.

As for the sail-trainee, Stavros S Niarchos of the Tall Ships Youth Trust, she is on a visit to the capital where some of the ferries that serve the Holyhead route share a connection with the brig, that been Stena Line. The 60m brig is managed by Northern Marine Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stena AB Gothenburg. The subsidiary formed in 1983 is headquartered in Clydebank, Scotland.

Trainees of the Portsmouth based brig are given duties which involves one of the three watches to operate the vessel. It's a 24 hour job and this is where they learn how to set sails of the two square-rigged masts, man the ropes, take the helm, keep a proper look-out. All these varied tasks that are involved to keep a Tall Ship sailing.

A typical cruising programme has voyages of between 2 and 12 days. This sees Stavros S Niarchos sail along the English south coast, to the Canary Islands, Azores and as far as the Caribbean.

On this Irish visit, Stavros S Niarchos headed upriver this afternoon and passed Alexandra Basin, where BCR Somme had been allocated a berth.

The final stretch of the voyage from Merseyside involved a transit of the Tom Clarke Bridge at Ringsend. The toll-lift bascule designed structure saw the lifting span (45m wide) rise, permitting the brig’s passage upriver on the Liffey.

Published in Tall Ships

#USdestroyer - A high-security cordon will be put in place around a US Naval Destroyer during a three-day visit to Cobh, Cork Harbour. 

In yesterday's Evening Echo it was reported that USS Porter was due to dock at the Cobh Deepwater Cruise Berth at 9am for the courtesy visit. Afloat.ie can confirm the Arleigh Burke class destroyer arrived this morning. 

However, a strict exclusion zone will be in place around the Destroyer with other vessels banned from coming within 50 metres of her.

The cordon will be monitored by the Irish Navy and the gardaí.

The Port of Cork’s Harbour Master Paul O’Regan issued a notice to all mariners in Cork Harbour warning them of the exclusion zone.

For more on the visit of the destroyer (click here) that entered the Black Sea in June as part of NATO’s ongoing efforts in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Published in Naval Visits

#ArmadaEvent - The Spanish Navy held a ceremony in memory of the Armada fleet that brought the 6th annual Celtic Fringe Festival to a close at Streedagh Beach in Sligo on Sunday afternoon.

Tributes were paid on land and at sea to the memory of the 1,100 souls who perished at Streedagh in 1588 when three Armada ships were wrecked during Winter storms.

And while the weather was more benign this afternoon, when intermittent Autumn showers fell on the crowd who gathered at the Armada monument at Streedagh, further out to sea, the Spanish Navy’s OPV Centinela, a fisheries patrol ship, performed a moving tribute to their fallen comrades.

“Today was very special for all of us on board,” said the captain of the Centinela, Lieutenant Commander Miguel Romero Contreras after a poignant ceremony in which he, as senior officer on board, and his most junior seaman, Alvaro Couce, laid a floral wreath on the Atlantic ocean, which had claimed the lives of so many of their countrymen over 4 centuries ago.

A very poignant ceremony has concluded just off shore at Streedagh. The captain of the Spanish navy vessel Centinela has laid a wreath to commemorate the sailors who lost their lives in 1588 when three ships from Spanish Armada sank off the Sligo coast.

“The emotion of a day like this is difficult to put into words,” added the Lieutenant Commander. “Remembering the passing of so many countrymen many years ago far away from home was a very important event for us, and I would like to thank sincerely the people of Sligo for making us feel so welcome here.”

This was the first time a Spanish military vessel had journeyed into Sligo Bay since the ill-fated voyage of the Spanish Armada, when the 3 ships, La Lavia, La Santa Maria de Visón and La Juliana were lost as the Spanish retreated following a failed invasion of England.

Many of the lives were lost as the Spanish sailors, soldiers and merchants tried unsuccessfully to make it to shore, and the subsequent letter, written by one of the survivors, Captain Francisco de Cuellar, to King Phillip II of Spain, provides us with a unique insight into the Ireland of the time.

Published in Naval Visits

#HollandVisit- A Royal Netherlands Navy ship is to visit Cork City for crew rest and recreation in addition to promoting Dutch trade and business interests in the Munster region, writes Jehan Ashmore.

HNLMS Holland the leadship of its namesake class of around 3,750 tons full displacement is to enter Cork Harbour today. The Offshore Patrol Vessel is to berth at North Custom House Quay in the Cork City and remain until Tuesday.

Among the Dutch firms attending the trade events, is the engineering company Royal HaskoningDHV which has been appointed by Irish Water to the Dublin Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant project team. Royal Haskoning are to provide expertise on its sustainable wastewater reduction treatment technology.

As for the HNLMS Holland, she shares the same shipbuilder of the ILV Granuaile, the Commissioner of Irish Lights aids to navigation tender that was launched at Damen Shipyards Galați in Romania. Both vessels were also fitted-out at the Dutch group’s facilities back in the Netherlands.

The Holland class are designed to fulfill patrol and intervention tasks against lightly armed opponents, such as pirates and smugglers, noting the Dutch overseas territories in the Caribbean.

At the same time they are equipped to cope with much higher level electronic and radar surveillance capabilities used for military stabilization and security roles, short of outright war.

A surveillance system, Thales is integrated into the mast which integrates communication systems and where there are two 4-faced phased arrays for air and surface search.

At the stern are aviation facilities of a fully equipped hangar and flight deck for one medium-sized helicopter.

Published in Naval Visits

#PolishNavy - A Polish Navy vessel is to make a rare visit to Ireland, as the trainee schoolship is heading to Dublin Port this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The trainee vessel ORP Wodnik (251) arrived in Dublin Bay to pick up pilot from cutter, Liffey. The naval visitor is to be taken into port to Ocean Pier and remain on a three-day courtesy call.

On board are 156 personnel, of those 56 are crew and the balance are from the cadet school. During the Gulf War, the vessel was rebuilt to serve as an evacuation hospital ship.

ORP Wodnik was launched by the Northern Shipyard in Gdansk in 1976. The 77m long vessel has a full displacement of 1745 tons and has an armament of a bow mounted single double cannon. Aft of the twin funnels are a pair of double guns. 

She is one of a trio of such vessels of the Polish Navy whose ships names have the prefix ORP (Okręt Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej) which translates to the Ship of the Polish Republic.

The other trainee pair are the ORP Gryf also a frigate and which too entered service in 1976 and ORP Iskra. This sailing ship is no stranger to these shores, given she has taken part in Tall Ships Races down the years.

Poland is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) which earlier this month held a major two-day summit in the Polish capital of Warsaw, attended by US President Barack Obama.

The head of the Polish Defence Ministry discussed the enhancement of the eastern flank of NATO and the decision to deploy four robust battalions in Poland and the Baltic States.

Published in Naval Visits
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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