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The Royal Navy's HMS Portland (F79) a 4,900 tonnes displacement Type 23 Duke –class frigate built as the last of fifteen such vessels a decade ago is on a weekend visit to Dublin Port, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Launched in 1999 at the shipyard of the then Marconi Marine at Scotstown on the Clyde, she then entered service two year later. During her contractor's sea trials she achieved a top speed of 30.8 knots and claims this as a record across the entire class.

She measures 133m (436ft) long and on a beam of 16.1m (52.9ft) and has a crew compliment of 185 in total. An array of highly sophisticated arnament is packed on board in addition she can convey a Lynx helicopter. Propulsion is derived from a combined use of diesel and gas (CODLAG) .To read more about the penultimate Type 23 class and her sisters click HERE

Published in Navy
In recognition of her service to the sea and Britain's maritime heritage, record-breaking British yachtswoman Dee Caffari MBE has been appointed by the Royal Navy as an Honorary Commander.

Caffari, who set her third world record earlier this year by sailing non-stop around the planet more times than any other woman in history, joins the likes of adventurer Bear Grylls and fellow British yachtswoman Dame Ellen McArthur who have both received similar naval distinctions. On receiving the news that her appointment had been approved by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a delighted Caffari said:

"It is an honour to be recognised for my achievements and support of the armed forces. I have enjoyed the links I have established and maintained with the Royal Navy and look forward to being presented with my uniform! Having not worn a uniform since school, I am excited about preparing for my role at Dartmouth, being fitted with a uniform and learning to salute correctly"

One of the main links Caffari has with the navy is through her work as an ambassador for the tri service initiative, Toe In The Water. The volunteer based charity uses competitive sailing as a direct extension of the rehabilitation programmes carried by the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Headley Court to re-inspire profoundly and traumatically injured service personnel to explore life beyond their injuries. Caffari first competed with Toe in the Water at the Dartmouth Regatta in 2009 and has continued to work closely with them since them, racing alongside many injured and able-bodied Royal Navy and Royal Marines crew members, as well as soldiers and airmen.

Director General of Army Medicine and Toe in the Water Chairman, Major General M von Bertele OBE commented:

"Dee has been a great inspiration to many of our injured servicemen and women and her energy, genuine enthusiasm and commitment to the work we do is invaluable. It's great to see her dedication and passion recognised in this way."

Caffari's next goal is to compete in the Vendée Globe 2012 with the intention of securing a podium position and the search for a new title sponsor to support her on-going sailing campaign continues.

Published in Offshore
This weekend's 'Foyle Days' in the north-west city is set to welcome two offshore patrol vessels (OPV) the Naval Service LE Emer (P21) and the Royal Navy's HMS Severn (P 283), writes Jehan Ashmore.
The maritime event includes a variety of sailing organisations and accompanying craft to include the 96ft tall-ship schooner Johanna Lucretia. In addition the festival's star visitor attraction will be the inaugural call of the 68ft yacht Derry-Londonderry which is to take part in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.

On the naval front, LE Emer was built in Cork's Verolme Dockyard in 1978. She represents the oldest of the eight-strong fleet and is designed from the Naval Service's first purpose built patrol vessel OPV LE Deirdre (P20) but was modified to improve her stability and speed. This vessel was decommissioned several years ago and was converted into a private yacht.

The original BOFORS 40mm L60 gun of the LE Emer was recently upgraded to a BOFORS 40mm L70 to improve range and accuracy of her main armament. She alongside her 65m sisters LE Aoife (P22) and LE Aisling (P23) where all built primarily to patrol the Irish section of the European Economic Zone (EEZ).

During their careers the 'Emer' class vessels have also completed numerous re-supply missions to Irish troops serving overseas with the United Nations and in particular in the Lebanon. A crew compliment of 46 (5 officers) operate the vessels which are all now in their fourth decade of service.

OPV HMS Severn is the third of four 'River' class offshore patrol vessels and like her Irish counterpart is deployed on fishery duties. The 1,677 displacement tonnes vessel was built in 2001 in the UK'S south coast port of Southampton at Woolston Docks. Her home port for the 30 crew is at HM Naval Base in neighbouring Portsmouth.

She becomes the fifth ship to bear the name and with sisters HMS Mersey (P 282) and HMS Tyne (P 281) they are assigned to the Fishery Protection Squadron. Click the ship's diary to follow the ship news. The final member of the River class HMS Clyde (P 257) serves as a Falklands Islands Patrol Vessel (FIPV).

Published in Navy
An Irish fishing vessel was detained for alleged breaches of the fishery regulations by the navy's OPV L.E. Niamh (P52) some 65-miles off the west Galway coast, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The detention took place just after midnight on Wednesday and the trawler was escorted into Castletownbere and handed over to the Gardai.
The LE Niamh is an offshore patrol vessel (CPV) that was built in 2001 by Appledore Shipbuilders near Bideford. Her elder sister LE Roisin (P51) was also built at the north Devon shipyard in 1999. 

Less then a month ago the Naval Service detained a Northern Irish registered fishing vessel the Lynn Marie seven miles east off Bray Head. Onboard was a crew of 4 UK nationals who were taken into custody to the Gardai after the trawler was escorted by the CPV L.E. Orla to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. To read more about this detention click here.

Ironically the L.E. Orla was a former Royal Naval vessel, HMS Swift (P241) which was deployed on her first assignment to the Hong Kong Patrol Squadron for a four-year period. In 1988 Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party Government disposed HMS Swift and HMS Swallow (P242) to the Irish Naval Service. The pair were built by Hall Russell Shipyard of Aberdeen as part of an eight 'Peacock' class coastal patrol vessel (CPV).

The 'Peacock' pair were commissioned into the Naval Service and renamed L.E. Orla (P41) and L.E. Ciara (P42) in a ceremony attended by An Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey at the Naval Base in Haulbowline, Cork Harbour.

This weeks' detention is the second conducted by the Naval Service in 2011. Last year the Naval Service carried out 1,666 vessel boardings which resulted in 70 warnings and eight detentions.

Published in Navy
One of the of first officers appointed to the Irish Naval Service, Cdr Liam Ahern passed away last week in Cork aged 90. Ahern was recruited into the new Irish Naval Service which had been established in 1947 following the running down of the Marine and Coastwatching Service at the end of World War II.
He was posted onto the corvettes L.É. Macha and L.É. Maeve and became a lieutenant in 1956 and rose to the position of commander in 1968. After a career at sea he moved to a shorebased position within the navy's dockyard engineering service and retired as senior marine engineer officer.

Following his retirement in September 1980 he worked with Irish Shipping Ltd for a further five years during the construction of the state-owned company ships at the Verolme Cork Dockyard. At the same dockyard, he had also been closely involved in the design and commissioning of the Naval Service's helicopter patrol vessel L.É. Eithne, its largest vessel which was built in 1984.

To read more about the distinguished career of Cdr Liam Ahern and also his wartime role in the Royal Navy, his obituary is published in today's Irish Times.

Jehan Ashmore adds that the L.É. Eithne arrived into Dublin Port this morning to dock at Sir John Rogersons Quay next to the French Navy minehunter Cassiopée (M642) and mine-route survey craft Altaïr, which have been on a visit to the capital for the St. Patrick's festivities.

At 1,760 tonnes the L.É. Eithne is not only the largest vessel of Ireland's eight-strong fleet but is also the last ship of any type built in the Republic of Ireland. For a photo of the 27-year-old ship seen off Cobh (where Cdr Ahern was born) click here.

The 80m vessel has a crew of 85 (9 Officers and 77 ratings). Her main armament is a Bofors 57mm anti-aircraft gun with a LIOD fire control system and two 20mm Rheinmetals.

In 1986 L.É. Eithne made a historic visit as the first Irish Naval Service ship to cross the Atlantic, where she sailed to the United States, visiting Hamilton, New York and Boston. A decade later she became the first Irish Naval ship to tour the continent of South America.

Published in Navy

The Royal Naval frigate HMS Cumberland (F85) departed Malta today, to conduct a second evacuation mission of stranded nationals in Libya. In the early hours of this morning, HMS Cumberland had arrived into the Grand Harbour, Valetta, Malta with 207 stranded people, after departing the port of  Benghazi on Thursday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Onboard the 5,300 displacement vessel (see photo) were 68 British nationals and 138 passengers from other nations who were rescued after the frigate docked at Benghazi, the second city of Libya. During the turmoil, 12 Irish citizens also managed to escape by boarding one of two vessels involved in assisting foreign nationals at the port which included HMS Cumberland.

According to the Commanding Officer, Captain Steve Dainton, said: "The ship's company have responded magnificently. Ten days ago we were off the coast of Somalia conducting counter-piracy operations. I think it gives an indication of the flexibility and the versatility of a British warship and indeed of the ship's company onboard."

Following the first evacuation, HMS York was expected to arrive in the vicinity of the Libyan coast, should further assistance be required by HMS Cumberland. To read on the latest developments click here and this link too.

In addition the US authorities had chartered a fast-ferry catamaran to bring back stranded US nationals and other nationalities from Tripoli, the capital of Libya. The fast-craft vessel arrived in Valetta last night.

As the crisis was unfolding in Libya, HMS Cumberland was returning to the UK via the Suez Canal after completing a four-month operation in the Gulf, where her duties included helping to protect Iraqi oil platforms. The installations account for nearly 90% of Iraq's national income.

A sistership of HMS Cumberland, the 1986 built frigate, HMS Chatham (F87) was the last Royal Naval visitor to call at Dublin in late November
(click here and for photo). 

At the time of HMS Chatham's visit to the capital, the 1988 built frigate had recently returned to UK waters, after also been engaged on anti-piracy duties, while off Somalia.

When HMS Cumberland has completed duties off Libya, the frigate, as originally planned is due to resume her voyage home to UK waters. The British Ministry of Defence are to decommission the 23-year old vessel.

Both frigates are 'Broadsword' Type 22 Frigates (Batch 3) along with HMS Campeltown (F99) HMS Cornwall (F86). All four frigates were launched during the mid 1980's and have a crew of 250-sailors.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Manchester is on its last visit to Liverpool, prior to its decommissioning. The Type 42 destroyer is currently berthed at the Liverpool Landing Stage, where she will be open to the public tomorrow (Sunday) between 12 noon and 4 pm.

One of the most notable actions of the warship's three decades in service was during the Gulf War in 1991. The destroyer was engaged in the Persian Gulf. This was primarily to uphold the trade blockade imposed on Iraq during that country's invasion of neighbouring Kuwait.

Special River-Explorer Cruise's run by Mersey Ferries are scheduled for tomorrow. The cruises will provide an opportunity to sail close to the HMS Manchester, which is berthed alongside the Liverpool Landing Stage.

The cruises are scheduled to run between 11 am to 4pm and they include a live commentary from a Blue Badge Guide. On these cruises the normal ticket price applies. For further information contact Mersey Ferries for timetable and ticket fares on 0151 330 1000 or logon to www.merseyferries.co.uk

Published in Boating Fixtures

The Royal Navy's Type 22 frigate HMS Chatham (F87) which recently returned to UK waters after a seven month deployment on anti-piracy duties off Somalia, visited Dublin Port last weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

HMS Chatham was the lead vessel for NATO's 'Operation Ocean Shield' as part of a multi-national task force in the seas off the African state that in recent years has become notorious for piracy.

HMS_Chatham_3

HMS Chatham departs Dublin Bay and the rocks off Dalkey Island. Photo: Jehan Ashmore /ShipSNAPS

The frigate departed Dublin on Monday afternoon and set an easterly course off the Baily Lighthouse, but surprisingly the 5,300 tonnes vessel returned into the bay. HMS Chatham then crossed the bay towards Sandycove. From there the 148m vessel which has a draft of 6.7m veered in a south-easterly direction, to sweep past off the rocky outcrop, to the north of Dalkey Island and continued southbound off The Muglins.

In mid-November the frigate visited her namesake port on the Medway to mark the 20th anniversary since the vessel's commissioning at Chatham in 1990. The occasion was also the first time that such an event had taken place outside a Royal Navy establishment. 

Built in 1988, the vessel was launched from the Swan Hunter shipyard on the Tyne and is normally based in her homeport of Devonport, Plymouth.

Published in Dublin Bay

Lifeboat crew with Red Bay RNLI put their first aid training into practice this afternoon when a man collapsed while out walking in Boulder Field at Fair Head in County Antrim.  The two lifeboat crew had to scale 150 feet of rocky headland to reach the two men who had been out walking and to administer first aid to the casualty.

Red Bay RNLI lifeboat was launched at 3.55pm to the incident and on arrival at the scene the lifeboat crew were able to locate the two men among the rocks. Two lifeboat volunteers left the lifeboat with first aid equipment to give assistance to the casualty.  However to reach the men they had to climb 150 feet up the rocky terrain.   The Royal Navy helicopter Rescue 177 from Prestwick arrived a short time later with a paramedic and was able to stabilise the casualty and winch both him and the other man aboard and bring them both to Coleraine Hospital.

Commenting on the callout Red Bay RNLI lifeboat helm Paddy McLaughlin said, " Thankfully we are very familiar with this area and two of our lifeboat crew were able to use their first aid training and go to the assistance of the casualty.  This is not an easy area to access and the two men had been out walking since breakfast."

Last August Red Bay RNLI lifeboat crew brought a brother and sister to safety when they got into difficulty among the rocks at Fair Head.

Additional report from HM Coastguard

TWO MEN STUCK ON CLIFF AT FAIR HEAD
At 3.50 pm this afternoon, Coleraine Police were in touch with Belfast Coastguard earlier this afternoon to inform them about two men stuck on a  cliff at Fair Head in Northern Ireland.

Both were wearing high visibility jackets whilst one man is aged 46, the other 52. The first informant, the younger man, suggested that the elder of the two men was in a state of collapse with vertigo and needed urgent attention.

The Ballycastle Coastguard Rescue Team were immediately turned out along with the Red Bay RNLI inshore lifeboat. A rescue helicopter – R177 – from Prestwick was also scrambled.

The position of the two men was given as near Murlough Cottage Caravan Park and that they were halfway up the rocks.

The weather was cold with high and clear skies at the time. When rescue units arrived on scene the two men could be seen wearing warm jackets and spotted halfway between the cliff base at Fair Head and the shore in heather and rocks. They were in a sheltered position.

By 4.30 two RNLI lifeboat crew had come ashore and made contact with the two and was administered first aid to the older man, and by 5.15 both casualties had been taken in to the helicopter, one by stretcher, and were transferred to Coleraine hospital.

The hospital landing site was also manned by the Coleraine Coastguard Team to assist in a quick transferal of the casualties into A&E.

Belfast Coastguard Watch Manager Steve Carson said

"We understand that the two men were out for a walk and became disorientated. Fortunately one of them had a phone on him and was able to get a signal to alert the emergency services.

"Do please check the weather before you set out and make sure you have sufficient supplies if planning an extended trip. For any emergencies on the cliffs, rocks beaches and seas around the Northern Ireland coastline please dial 999 and call the Coastguard."

Related Safety posts

RNLI Lifeboats in Ireland


Safety News


Rescue News from RNLI Lifeboats in Ireland


Coast Guard News from Ireland


Water Safety News from Ireland

Marine Casualty Investigation Board News

Marine Warnings

 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
An Irish cargo-vessel, Red Duchess got into difficulties when the ship broke down off the Isle of Rhum on Tuesday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 1,285grt coaster owned by Coast Lines, was bound for Stornoway with a cargo of coal when the incident occurred. Onboard the vessel was 27 cubic metres of diesel oil and 400 litres of lube oil.

Despite the lack of engine-power, the vessel maintained electricity capacity but was unable to use anchor while drifting in 20m waters and over a rocky seabed. The vessel continued to drift in Force 7-8 conditions, close to the islands in Harris Bay. Fortunately the Mallaig lifeboat was able to get a line onboard the 1969 built Red Duchess to halt further drifting closer to the shore.

This brought some extra time for the stricken vessel until the UK Maritime & Coastguard Safety Agency (MCA) deployed their ETV (Emergency Towing Vessel) Anglian Prince (1980/1,641grt) to the scene.

In the interim period a coastguard rescue helicopter moved to Rhum to be on standby in the event of having to evacuate the crew. This was not required as the Anglian Prince managed to secure a line and safely tow the Red Duchess to Stornoway.

The Red Duchess is a veteren vessel in the coastal trade, regularly trading throughout Irish Sea ports and in particular for many years has been engaged in the carriage of timber logs between Scotland and Youghal, Co. Waterford.

As for the ETV Anglian Princess, she was involved only a fortnight ago in the high-profile rescue of the Royal Navy's HMS Astute, described as the newest, largest and stealthiest attack class submarine. The £1.2 billion submarine was believed to be undergoing sea trials when it went aground off the Isle of Skye. Anglian Princess successfully pulled free the submarine from a shingle bank.

Ironically hours before the the submarine's grounding, the Anglian Princess and three other ETV vessels were announced by the British Government to be withdrawn funding from the nation's (ETV) Emergency Towing Vessel service. The charter of the fleet of four ETV's from owners Klyne Tugs (Lowestoft) Ltd to the UK's Maritime & Coastguard Safety Agency (MCA) was expected to last with the current contract expiring in September 2011.

Since 2001, KTL's fleet of powerful tugs are on charter to the (MCA) for use in pollution control incidents and for towing vessels which are in difficulty in coastal waters.

The fleet are based in strategic locations around the UK, with two covering in Scottish waters, at Stornoway, the Western Isles and Lerwick in the Northern Isles (Shetland and Orkney). The other pair of ETV's cover the south of England at Falmouth in Cornwall and Dover in Kent. The Dover station is funded jointly with French maritime authorities.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 5 of 6

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