#EmerSailsAway – As previously reported, M.V. Emer which departed Cork for the final time yesterday, has set a course bound for Nigeria, to begin a first-time change in her career since commissioning into Naval Service in 1978, writes Jehan Ashmore.
She no longer has her naval prefix of L.É. (Long Éireannach -'Gaelic' for Irish Ship) nor indeed P21 boldly across her bows, however her owners, Uniglobe International Service (UIS) which acquired the former OPV last Autumn have retained her original name.
The origins to the vessels name of Emer are to the principal wife of Cúchulainn and the daughter of a chieftain. Her owners cite it would be a shame to change her name after all these years in a career which spanned almost 35 years.
Numerous patrol duties were carried out in Irish waters and to those carried far out into the Atlantic and often in stormy seas. Over the years she was upgraded with advances in technology yet the passage of time saw her life-span reach to a stage requiring replacement.
This is where newbuild OPV L.É. Samuel Beckett (P61) is designed to cope in worsening sea-states and in patrolling considerably larger sea areas zones from that of the era of Emer's debut in the late 1970's.
In addition, the demands of the navy's remit in carrying out multi-task duties will see use of state of the art technology. Notably through the deployment of drones will greatly improve performance operability.
As she was the oldest in the Naval Service fleet, L.É. Emer served the nation carrying out not just routine fishery patrol duties of the EEZ, but the wide variety of tasks in which this arm of the state has proven to be vital in terms of not just governing our sovereignty but also assisting those abroad in troubled regions.
L.É. Emer and her sisters, Aoife (P22) to be sold at auction and Aisling (P23) carried out re-supply missions to Irish troops, among them Lebanon during UN mandated missions.
On her final patrol as previously reported was under the command of Lt Cdr Alan O'Regan, Officer Commanding and this saw her make farewell calls to sevarel ports last September. Among them the capital after the Dublin FlightFest event, in which she acted as a co-ordination centre as well to host ship duties.
This will contrast to her new career in which her role will be in entering the charter market in the oil-field industry which will involve transferring technicians and workers to platforms. In addition to transporting inspector's and auditors to installations and others associated in the energy and exploration industry.
In the meantime, her delivery voyage to waters off the mid-western African state, will involve a slow steaming-fuel efficient passage taking approximately 3 weeks to complete.
As depicted in our last report, the photograph of Emer shows her in lower Cork Harbour, off the Whitegate Oil Refinery, before she made bid her final farewell off Roches Point Lighthouse.
Take a closer look to her reveal another hint of her new identity as the owners name is abbreviated to 'UIS' which can be seen on the funnel casing.
While the grey superstructure and hull remain however the vessel will be in very unfamiliar waters. From the Atlantic seaboard to that off the continent of Africa.