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Displaying items by tag: Royal Navy

#AircraftCarrier- HMS Illustrious (R06) the Royal Navy's helicopter commando carrier is due to arrive in Liverpool on St. Valentine's Day and be open to the public next weekend (16-17 February), as part of a five-day call, writes Jehan Ashmore.

For more than three decades the former aircraft-carrier (equipped with Harrier jump-jets) has served the Royal Navy, however she is to pay-off in 2014, to make way for next generation aircraft-carriers.

Affectionately known as 'Lusty' to her crew, she is due berth alongside Liverpool Cruise Liner Terminal tomorrow at around 2pm, opposite the famous Liverpool waterfront skyline. There will be free public tours during Saturday and Sunday (10am – 4pm) noting the latest time to board is 3pm.

She forms as one of four core ships of the Royal Navy's amphibious fleet, they are the helicopter carriers HMS Ocean and assault ships HMS Albion and Bulwark, the latter is the flagship.

HMS Illustrious current role is as a High Readiness Helicopter and Commando Carrier and she is the last of the 'Invincible' class aircraft carriers commissioned for the Royal Navy during the 1970's.

As previously mentioned, the class were of course equipped with the revolutionary 'Harrier II' jump-jet VSTOL aircraft built by British Aerospace/McDonnell Douglas for the RAF, until these aircraft were retired in 2010. These days she conveys a range of helicopters, Merlin, Sea King, Apaches and Lynx for the Royal Marine Commandos.

Her sisters, the decommissioned leadship HMS Invincible (RO5) was scrapped in 2005 and HMS Ark Royal (R07), the final of the class launched in 1981 made a farewell tour around Britain in 2011. Last year it was announced that she too would be scrapped.

Published in Naval Visits

#NAVAL VISIT- Having visited Cork last month, The Royal Navy's River class offshore patrol vessel OPV HMS Mersey (P283) is currently moored in Dublin Port, the ship belongs to a trio of sisterships purchased in a £39m deal, writes Jehan Ashmore.

HMS Mersey along with OPV's Severn and Tyne have for nearly the last decade served the Fishery Protection Squadron while on 'loan' to the Royal Navy. They had operated on a rolling five-year term lease from the shipbuilder-owners, Vosper Thornycroft, now part of BAE Systems.

The lease was due to be renewed in 2013 but rather than face having to pay more to rent the trio of vessels for £7m a year, the UK government signed the contract to buy the ships outright, keeping them in service with the Royal Navy for the next ten years.

The Portsmouth based OPV's known as the 'Cod' squadron are hard-working vessels, where each vessel conducts fishery patrol duties for 275 days annually. In addition they are assigned to perform tasks such as maritime security, counter terrorism, tackling smuggling, fire-fighting and SAR missions.

Published in Naval Visits

#NAVAL VISIT- The Royal Navy's River class patrol vessel HMS Mersey (P283) is currently moored in Cork City, at the South Quay on the River Lee, having arrived yesterday, writes Jehan Ashmore

The vessel which has crew of 45, is employed on enforcing UK and EU fishery protection law while out on surveillance duties, which can be at least 275 days annually. Boarding parties are sent out from the ship to inspect fishing vessels to make sure they have the right nets, the right log books and the right licences.

The patrol vessel was built by Vosper Thornycroft in Southampton, and she can be also used for anything from fire-fighting to disaster relief operations.

Published in Naval Visits

#COBH TITANIC 100  - Following President Michael D. Higgins visit to Cobh to commemorate the centenary call of RMS Titanic to Queenstown, the town yesterday hosted a Naval Service review that included the Royal Navy's HMS Mersey.

The President as supreme commander of the Defence Forces boarded the Naval Service 'flagship' L.E. Eithne which passed the guest-ship, a River class patrol vessel which headed a line of vessels which lay at anchor of Cobh's waterfront, they were the L.E. Aoife, L.E. Aisling and L.E. Niamh

The historic event which marked the pinnacle of the Titanic 100 Cobh centenary week will continue as part of a year-round programme of events. For information visit www.titanic100.ie. On the homepage the L.E. Niamh features again, where on this occasion marine photographer Jehan Ashmore captured the vessel underway as she powered her way at high-speed through a misty Dalkey Sound.

Among the many places throughout Cobh where thousands of tourists have flocked since the Balmoral docked on Monday to retrace the liner's maiden voyage, has been the White Star Line pier.

From this pier were the last passengers to depart Queenstown on board the tenders PS Ireland and PS America to the ill-fated Titanic that struck an ice-berg. On her Irish call 123 passengers were transferred to the Titanic which lay outside Cork Harbour, while 7 passengers disembarked from the liner and headed ashore.

What remains of the pier which is not accessible to the public and is in danger of collapsing, there has been calls to raise funds to save the structure, as previously reported.

Also in attendance during yesterday's historic proceedings, was the excursion passenger tender Spirit if the Isles which is operating on her second season since starting Cork Harbour cruises last year. They run between Cork city quays and downriver along the Lee to Cobh.

In the 1980's the tender then named Ingot ran excursions from Dun Laoghaire Harbour into Dublin Bay and likewise of L.E. Niamh, she too transited Dalkey Sound as part of her sightseeing tours.

Published in Titanic

#NAVAL ANCHORAGE – A Royal Navy mine-hunter HMS Bangor (MI09) which took part in Libyan operations last year, anchored overnight in Dublin Bay during the north-easterly gale force winds, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Unlike the majority of vessels which anchor in the south of the bay, she unusually took anchorage north of the main shipping lane for Dublin Port by positioning off Sutton South on Howth Peninsula.

HMS Bangor is a Sandown class mine-hunter and she is due to continue her northbound passage through the Irish Sea to spend Easter at her affiliated namesake town on the shores of Belfast Lough.

Her last call to Bangor was to celebrate Armed Forces Day 2010 and also in that year she called to Dublin, click HERE for that report.

On this occasion she will tell of her role supporting NATO operations off the coast of Libya. During Operation Unified Protector, the mine-hunter's task involved 120 days of non-stop action by scouring miles of sea bed off Libya as the battle between rebels and Colonel Gaddafi raged.

Built in 1999 by Vosper Thorneycroft, Southampton, the glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) ship and her 34 crew undertook the painstaking work. This paid off when the 55m vessel found a 2,400-pound (1000kg) mine and a torpedo lying on the seabed off the port of Tobruk in eastern Libya.

Both were safely destroyed using the ship's Sea Fox system – an underwater drone armed with explosive charges.

HMS Bangor is among seven of her class based at on the Clyde, Scotland. They each displace 600 tonnes and have a range of 2,500 nautical miles. For further details about the class, click HERE.

Published in Navy

#NAVAL VISITS – Two small University Royal Naval Units (URNU) patrol training boats of the Royal Navy are due to call to Cork city centre along South Customs House Quay this afternoon, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The pair are HMS Exploit (P167) and HMS Express (P163) and they belong to a 14-strong P2000 Archer Fast Inshore Patrol Class. They form the First Patrol Boat Squadron and their primary role is to support the URNU but they also contribute to a wide range of fleet tasking.

Each vessel displaces 54 tonnes and has a crew of five on a boat that is just over 20m and draws a draft nearing 2m. Top speed is 22 knots and they can cover a range of 550 nautical miles.

HMS Exploit is the Birmingham University Royal Navy Unit's Training Patrol vessel, although the unit covers a wide area, taking undergraduates from eight Universities in the region. She was built by Vosper Thornycroft and commissioned in 1988. The boat is berthed in Penarth Marina, near Cardiff.

Likewise HMS Express is based at Penarth, she too provides sea training and offers an insight into the modern Royal Navy for Wales URNU undergraduates drawn from Cardiff, Swansea and Glamorgan Universities and University of Wales Institute Cardiff. Last year she took part in the Three Peaks Challenge.

The patrol boats follow last month's call also to the city of the Marine Protection Vessel (MPV) Jura which at 84m long makes her the largest of the three-strong Marine Compliance Scotland fleet. On that occasion she docked opposite at the North Customs House Quay.

Published in Navy

#RESCUE - The Royal Navy search and rescue unit at HMS Gannet was the busiest in the UK last year, STV News reports.

The unit - based in Prestwick, near Glasgow - responded to nearly 300 call-outs and rescued 240 people in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland throughout 2011 with its fleet of Sea King helicopters.

The big numbers put HMS Gannet at the top of the UK's 12 search and rescue units for the fifth year running.

"Like all emergency services, we work under significant pressure and always aim to provide the best service we possibly can," said HMS Gannet's Lieutenant Commander Debdash Bhattacharya. "Frequently lives depend on it."

Since 2007 the unit has rescued 1,575 people from 1,865 call-outs in total. Last year's call-outs represented 17% of all call-outs from military bases in the UK.

STV News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#WEATHER - A new project has been launched encouraging web users to help recover worldwide weather data recorded by Royal Navy ships a century ago.

Old Weather is 'crowdsourcing' volunteers to assist in transcribing weather readings and location data from First World War ships' logs into a database, in order to identify weather patterns and extremes the world over.

At present the site needs help transcribing data from 27 Royal Navy vessels and the courses they sailed, from Britain and Ireland to the farthest reaches of the globe.

The more people that take part in Old Weather, the more accurate the data extracted from the ships' logs will be.

Each logbook will be also looked at by more than one person, allowing mistakes and errors to be filtered out.

The historical data will enable scientists to improve their understanding of weather variabilty in the past and in turn improve their ability to predict weather and climate in the future.

For more details visit www.OldWeather.org.

Published in Weather
1st December 2011

NATO Foils Pirate Attack

#PIRATES– On 28 November, the Royal Navy vessel, RFA Fort Victoria was patrolling in an area approximately 420 nautical miles from the Seychelles and 350 nautical miles from the Somali coast as part of NATO's counter piracy task force 508.

Early that morning, she received information that a Spanish fishing vessel operating to the north of their position had come under attack from a group of pirate vessels to the North of their position. The ship's Lynx helicopter was quickly despatched to investigate.

Once at the scene, the helicopter identified two suspect vessels, a whaler and a skiff, in the vicinity of the fishing vessel. The faster of the two, a skiff, sped away at over 25 knots as the helicopter gave chase. When the skiff ignored orders to stop, the Lynx helicopter fired warning shots ahead of the fleeing vessel which stopped and the suspected pirates onboard were then transferred to Fort Victoria via boat.

pirate

RFA Fort Victoria was approached by a pirate skiff at speed as they attempted to board her, However after Fort Vic laid down warning shots using their Miniguns the pirates had a sudden change of heart and started to make a run for it. Fort Vic gave chase and launched her boarding teams to stop them.

Fort Victoria's Royal Marines boarding team then boarded the whaler and another skiff in the vicinity. As a result of the day's action, a total of seven suspected pirates were detained onboard Fort Victoria along with their whaler as evidence, with no injuries being sustained by either side.

Captain Gerry Northwood Royal Navy, embarked in Fort Victoria said:

"It has been a long but rewarding operation with many complex aspects. Operating under NATO tasking and in consultation with our headquarters in the Middle East and in the UK, we utilised a range of national and international assets to bring these events to a satisfactory conclusion. Fort Victoria has once again demonstrated that multinational coordination can be successfully deployed to disrupt piracy in this area in order to protect international merchant shipping."

Published in Ports & Shipping
20th November 2011

Anglo-Irish Relationships

#NAVAL VISITS- HMS Tyne (P281) the leadship of four River-class Fishery Protection Vessels is due to dock in Dublin Port tomorrow, in the meantime her allocated berth is currently taken by a former Royal Navy (RN) vessel now serving in the Irish Naval Service (INS), writes Jehan Ashmore.

The INS L.É. Ciara (P42) docked at Sir John Rogersons Quay (berth No.8) yesterday evening after spending the previous day with a call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour's St. Michaels Wharf. Tomorrow she is due to depart in advance of HMS Tyne's morning arrival.

Unusually she and her three sisters are leased to the RN from BAE Systems (who retain responsibility for any major maintenance and upkeep) and shipbuilding partners, Vosper Thornycroft, Southampton which built all of the River-class. To read more about the quartet click HERE.

L.É. Ciara was originally launched as HMS Swallow (P242) at Hall Russell Shipyard, Aberdeen and in 1984 was commissioned for the RN, forming one of five 'Peacock' class coastal patrol vessels (CPV). She served her entire RN career with sisters designed specifically for the Hong Kong Squadron.

In 1988 the INS purchased her alongside a sister HMS Swift (P243) and the pair set sail from the UK colony for Cork Harbour. L.É. Ciara and her sister which became L.É. Orla (P41) were commissioned into the service after a ceremony performed by An Taoiseach C.J. Haughey at the Naval Base in Haulbowline.

Amongst the eight-strong INS fleet is L.É. Emer (P21) commissioned in 1978, an improved version of the Deirdre-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV). She appeared along with a sister of the River-class ship, HMS Severn in the Irish language river series 'Abhainn' which returned to our screens on RTE 1 last month, during the episode about the River Foyle /An Feabhal. The naval vessels were attending 'Foyle Days' in May as previously reported on Afloat.ie

Published in Navy
Page 4 of 6

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