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Displaying items by tag: naval service

While Naval Service operational patrols have been restricted to two ships due to on-going personnel problems, the Irish Navy has got Observer status in an €87m. plan to develop a new European Patrol Corvette, involving five countries, strongly supported by the European Commission because of increased concern about maritime security.

Five Navies have formed the European Patrol Corvette development (EPC) programme - Italy, France, Spain, Greece and Norway. Ireland, Portugal and Romania are ‘Observers‘. The aim is to define the requirements for “a 2nd rank surface combatant vessel about 110 metres long and of 3,000 tons. It is being described as “a programme of future innovative naval vessels, a step forward in European defence co-operation.”

It is being developed under the banner of the PESCO project – ‘Permanent Structured Co-operation’ in the area of security and defence policy, which was established by a European Council decision on December 11, 2017. “It offers a legal framework to jointly plan, develop and invest in shared capability projects and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of armed forces,” according to its proponents.

“It will strongly contribute to European sovereignty in the second-line vessels domain, by strengthening the European industry, increasing efficiency and lowering delays to go from the military need to the delivery to Navies,” according to a statement by a consortium of shipbuilders. These include Fincantieri (Italy), Naval Group (France), Navantia (Spain) and interests from Greece, Denmark and Norway who are carrying out the first phase of the EPC programme.

It is expected to take two years to complete the initial design of what are being described as the “next generation class of Naval vessel – the European Patrol Corvette.”

The EPC project is strongly supported by the European Commission which has said that it will “foster European in-house and know-how skills by pooling the resources of the countries involved.

“The ships will be able to carry out a wide range of missions in operational contexts as diverse as surveillance on the high seas with a high degree of autonomy, or law enforcement and sovereignty affirmation missions closer to the coast, adapted to the different Navies’ needs. It is a programme of future innovative Naval vessels which is developed in a collaborative way by several Navies and members of the European Union.”

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The funeral for Naval Service Leading Seaman Conor Kiely (39), who was found dead on board the patrol ship LÉ Roisín, was held in Cork on November 21st.

Requiem Mass was concelebrated by Fr. James McSweeney, PP of Our Lady and St John Church Carrigaline and Fr Des Campion, SDB CF Office of the Chaplain,
Naval Base Haulbowline County Cork. 

President Michael Daniel Higgins, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin sent condolences.

Tributes were paid to a dearly beloved son and brother by family members.

Band 1 Brigade at the funeral of funeral service for Naval Service Leading Seaman Conor KielyBand 1 Brigade Cork played at the funeral of Naval Service Leading Seaman Conor Kiely

Remains were carried out of the church by Naval personnel and placed on a gun carriage to be transported to St. John’s Cemetery, Ballinrea, for burial with full military honours.

Naval personnel and mourners escorted the remains on foot for the 3.5 kilometre journey to the graveyard.

Escorts of Honour lined the route into the cemetery and rendered Honours to Conor.

There was a three-volley gun salute as the remains were placed over the grave, and the Last Post was played by Band 1 Brigade.

At the graveside, Conor’s hat was presented to his son, Cillian, and the tricolour that draped the coffin was presented to his father, Des.

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Tributes have been paid to a Naval Service seaman who was found dead on board the patrol ship LÉ Roisín while it was docked in Cork Harbour.

Leading Seaman Conor Kiely (39) was found in an “unresponsive state by crewmates” on board the ship on Friday afternoon, November 17th.

President Michael D Higgins has extended his sympathies to his family and friends, stating, “It is with great sorrow that members of the Naval Service will have heard of the passing of Leading Seaman (L/S) Conor Kiely”.

"L/S Kiely will be remembered by all those with whom he served on a number of the Irish vessels, including the LÉ Aisling, LÉ Niamh, LÉ Orla, LÉ William Butler Yeats and LÉ Róisín," he said.

L/S Kiely was a native of Co Cork and joined the Naval Service in 2006, the Naval Service has said.

He qualified as a seaman gunner in 2007 and “had 17 proud years’ service with the Defence Forces,” it said.

“L/S Conor Kiely served in a number of positions ashore and afloat during his career,” it said.

He had served onboard the LÉ Aisling, LÉ Niamh, LÉ Orla, LÉ William Butler Yeats and most recently as a crew member of LÉ Róisín, and used his experience to instruct in the Naval College, it said.

The Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieut Gen Seán Clancy, said that on behalf of the Defence Forces, he would “like to express his sincere condolences to the family and friends of L/S Conor Kiely”.

Officer Commanding Naval Operations Command, Captain(NS) Kenneth Minehane, stated; "The members of the Naval Service have sadly lost a shipmate and friend. Our thoughts and prayers go to his family at this sad time. Our dearly departed colleague will be missed and never forgotten.”

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Two ships purchased from the New Zealand government to bolster Ireland’s Naval Service fleet are due to arrive in Cork Harbour on Sunday evening (14 May), according to RTÉ News.

Afloat.ie previously reported on the €26 million deal to purchase the twin naval cutters, which were loaded onto a cargo ship in Auckland more than a month ago.

The inshore patrol vessels, which were custom-built in Australia for the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2009, have already been given their Naval Service pennant numbers but have yet to be renamed.

A competition to choose new names for the vessels was launched late last year, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The duo will replace the LÉ Orla and LÉ Ciara which were recently decommissioned.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

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The Journal reports that the Defence Forces have confirmed the deployment of a Naval Service vessel to the Mediterranean off North Africa to join an operation targeting arms smugglers in Libya.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the deployment as part of Operation Irini is expected to begin in June for a number of weeks. It will mark the first overseas deployment for the Naval Service since the humanitarian mission Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean in 2018 and 2019.

It’s reported that the crew of the LÉ William Butler Yeats will commence training for the operation immediately. The Journal has more on the story HERE.

Published in Navy

Interviewees for the Independent Review Group into sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination in the Defence Forces have reported that Naval Service vessels were among locations where sexual assaults took place.

Advice was given to female members of the Defence Forces to “maintain two locks on their cabin or bedroom doors if there has been an attempt to assault or forcibly enter their sleeping quarters in the past”, the review says.

“ Interviewees reported barricading of quarters to prevent sexual assault,” the Independent Review Group report into the Defence Forces (IRG-DF) says.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin, who has announced a statutory inquiry into how complaints were handled, has said he is “shocked” and “disgusted” by the findings of the report.

The review group was established after serious allegations were made about the Defence Forces by members of the Women of Honour (WoH) group.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin, who has announced a statutory inquiry into how complaints were handled, has said he is “shocked” and “disgusted” by the findings of the report.Tánaiste Micheál Martin, who has announced a statutory inquiry into how complaints were handled, has said he is “shocked” and “disgusted” by the findings of the Independent Review of the Defence Forces

The WoH group comprises female Defence Forces members who acted as whistleblowers over bullying and sexual harassment in their military lives, as highlighted in an RTÉ Radio documentary by Katie Hannon in 2021.

The group has welcomed the decision to establish a statutory inquiry.

In the review, 88% of female respondents surveyed said they had experienced one or more forms of sexual harassment, and reported sexual assaults took place “in barracks, naval boats, swimming areas, shower facilities and while abroad on tours”.

They also reported regular spiking of drinks, grooming of younger recruits, and intimate images being surreptitiously taken.

Interviewees described experiences including "tubbing",when an individual was put in a barrel which may contain items such as chemicals, oil, fuel or animal carcasses as a form of punishment.

“Beasting" and "mobbing" where an individual is harassed and isolated to ultimately "make life so difficult that they resign their post" were also described by interviewees.

"Different sources available to the IRG-DF conclude that, at best, the Defence Forces barely tolerates women and, at its worst, verbally, physically, sexually and psychologically abuses women in its ranks,”the review found.

It found that some members of Defence Forces' management "abuse their positions of power and command" in their treatment of subordinates.

Martin said the statutory inquiry into the report's findings should be established before the end of the year.

Defence Forces Chief of Staff Lieut-Gen Seán Clancy described the review findings as “stark” and said the military needs “to change”.

He said the Defence Forces "accept the findings" of the review, and would work with the Tánaiste and the Department of Defence to "fulfil all of the approved recommendations".

The Government has agreed to implement a number of measures and reforms to address the issues identified in the report, and an external oversight body will be established to ensure implementation of the recommendations.

The full report is here

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A German-registered Spanish fishing vessel is being escorted into West Cork by the Naval Service after it was detained off the southwest coast earlier this week.

The vessel is the fourth detention to have been recorded by the Naval Service this year.

The Naval Service ship LÉ Samuel Beckett inspected the fishing vessel during routine patrols and detained it on February 7th.

It is expected to reach port at the weekend, where it will be handed over to the Garda Siochána.

Last month, a separate German-registered Spanish vessel was detained by the LÉ George Bernard Shaw.

At a court sitting, the skipper of the Pesorsa Dos was charged with 12 offences relating to alleged illegal fishing activities in Irish waters on various dates in January this year.

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A German-registered Spanish vessel which was involved in a confrontation off the Scottish coast over two years ago has been detained by the Naval Service off the southwest coast.

The 26m Pesorsa Dos was detained last Saturday (January 21) by the LE George Bernard Shaw, but it took several days to haul its gear before it could be escorted into Castletownbere, Co Cork yesterday (Thurs Jan 26).

It is also understood that the fishing vessel’s boarding ladder broke when the Naval Service patrol crew was trying to gain access to the vessel.

The same vessel from La Coruna in northern Spain was previously detained in the Irish exclusive economic zone, 250 miles north of Donegal’s Malin Head, in July 2020.

The LE George Bernard ShawThe LE George Bernard Shaw

A Naval Service spokeswoman confirmed that a German-registered vessel was being escorted to port but could not confirm where the detention occurred, beyond stating it was “within the Irish exclusive economic zone”.

The spokeswoman could not give details on the nature of the alleged infringements.

In June 2020, the Spanish-owned vessel was accused of attempting to foul the propellor of Shetland-owned demersal trawler, Alison Kay, some 30 miles west of the Shetland Islands, by towing a heavy warp across its track.

The British authorities said they could not investigate the incident as it was outside the 12 nautical mile limit. It occurred just a month before its detention in Irish waters.

Navy staff shortages

Recruitment and staffing shortages mean that the Naval Service will only have four operational patrol vessels from next week, the Department of Defence has confirmed.

It has confirmed that two patrol ships, LÉ Roisín and LÉ Niamh, are being put into “operational reserve”, and the fleet will be down to four ships from February 1st.

“The decision to place the LÉ Roisín and LÉ Niamh into operational reserve is aimed at stabilising operational delivery and assisting in Naval Service regeneration which entails the prioritisation of personnel training and development of existing Naval Service personnel,” the department said.

“The Naval Service is satisfied that, notwithstanding the withdrawal from operational duties of the LÉ Roisin, they will be able to fulfil their current maritime security and defence commitments, including commitments provided for under the current service level agreement with the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency,” the department said.

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The Irish Naval Vessel  LÉ James Joyce was positioned off Sandycove Point on Dublin Bay for over an hour today, close to the Martello Tower made famous by Irish writer James Joyce in his novel Ulysses.

The special Bloomsday tribute was made by the ship that was named after the author in 2015.

LE James Joyce departed Dún Laoghaire Harbour at 1430hrs and made its way across Scotsman's Bay where there were a number of shoreside Joycean gatherings being held.

Bloomsday celebrates Joyce's iconic Ulysses through performances, meals, readings, and dressing-up, especially at Sandycove.

As part of the celebrations, LÉ James Joyce flew "the oldest flag afloat, the flag of the province of Desmond & Thomond, three crowns on a blue field, the three sons of Milesius," as Joyce describes in Ulysses.

The Irish Naval Vessel  LÉ James Joyce (left) was positioned off Sandycove Point on Dublin Bay, close to the Martello Tower (right) on BloomsdayThe Irish Naval Vessel  LÉ James Joyce (left) was positioned off Sandycove Point on Dublin Bay, close to the Martello Tower (right) on Bloomsday.

The Napoleonic tower is where the author spent six nights in 1904. The opening scenes of his 1922 novel Ulysses take place there, and the building is a place of pilgrimage for Joyce enthusiasts, especially on Bloomsday.

Published in Dublin Bay

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Irish Government has announced the purchase of two naval vessels from New Zealand.

The two inshore patrol vessels — formerly the HMNZS Rotoiti and HMNZS Pukaki — will bolster Ireland’s maritime security as the Naval Service continues its recruitment drive.

Announcing the deal today, Sunday 13 March, Foreign Affairs and Defence Minister Simon Coveney said the purchase is part of plans to address “ongoing challenges” and regenerate the Naval Service.

“The investment of some €26 million in these two inshore patrol vessels will provide replacements for LÉ Orla and LÉ Ciara,” he added.

“These inshore patrol vessels have a lesser crewing requirement than the ships they replace, and will provide the Naval Service with an enhanced capacity to operate and undertake patrols in the Irish Sea on the East and South East Coast. This will allow the remaining fleet to focus on operations elsewhere.”

The minister said the two ships are expected to arrive in Ireland next year following works to restore them to Lloyd’s Classification.

He also reiterated that plans for the replacement of the flagship LÉ Eithne with a new multi-role vessel are under way “with consultants having been engaged with a view to initiating a tender competition in due course”.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Seán Clancy said: “The changing face of maritime security in the Irish Sea has highlighted a requirement for a specialist inshore capability in order to protect Irish interests.

“The procurement of these vessels strengthens the ability of the Naval Service to fulfil its role in protecting our national sovereignty and constitutes a strong vote of confidence in the Defence Forces by the minister and Government.”

Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Commodore Michael Malone added: “The acquisition of the IPVs will allow the Naval Service to continue to modernise and tackle the dynamic and ever changing maritime environment that we operate in 365 days a year.”

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About World Ocean Day 

World Ocean Day is celebrated annually on June 8th to highlight the important role the ocean has for our life and the planet. The focus each year is on the 30x30 campaign: to create a healthy ocean with abundant wildlife and to stabilise the climate, it is critical that 30% of our planet’s lands, waters, and oceans are protected by 2030.  

One of the issues affecting our ocean is marine litter which has become a global problem for both humans and marine life. However, communities around Ireland have demonstrated their desire to be part of the solution by taking part in several beach cleaning and clean-up calls to action. 

Statistics show that the number one cause of marine litter is litter dropped in towns and cities.

In 2021, the initiative changed its name from “World Oceans Day” to “World Ocean Day”. By dropping the “s”, its organisers wanted to highlight the fact that we are all connected by a large ocean. This shared ocean supports all life on the planet, by producing most of the oxygen we breathe and regulating climate. No matter where we live, we all depend on the ocean to survive.

This means that each piece of marine litter removed from a beach, river, lake, park or street in Ireland, will have a positive impact on a global scale.

At A Glance - World Ocean Day is on June 8th each year

United Nations World Ocean Day is celebrated annually on June 8th to highlight the important role the ocean has for our life and the planet.

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