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Dutch Naval Flotilla Head for Dublin Port Visit

25th June 2012
Dutch Naval Flotilla Head for Dublin Port Visit

#DUTCH NAVAL VISIT – A torpedo training ship HNLMS Mercuur (A 900) is one of four vessels of the Royal Netherlands Navy based in Den Helder which are scheduled to visit Dublin Port next weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

During the four-day call, the HNLMS Mercuur and the Alkmaar class minehunter HNLMS Vlaardingen (M 863) will be open to the public on the Saturday and Sunday between 2pm-4pm. All the vessels will be berthed alongside Sir John Rogersons Quay.

HNLMS Mercuur is fitted with a maintenance shed for torpedoes and as a target ship for submarines to fire dummy torpedoes. She has an armament of 1 underwater launch tube for Mk. 48 torpedoes. The 64.8m vessel has a crew of 39 and the vessel which displaces 1,400 tonnes is powered by a 2 x MAN 6L-20/27 diesels (1,632 hp total) which deliver 14 knots.

The 41.5m long navy training ship (MOV) Van Kinsbergen (A902) is used for practical nautical training, a task for which it was specifically built and equipped. In addition to the navigation bridge, the MOV Van Kinsbergen has a second, fully equipped training bridge. There are five-crew and also the same number of civilian crew.

A second Alkmaar class vessel HNLMS Zierikzee (M862) forms the final member of the flotilla. Each of the 51.5m long vessels which weigh 534 tonnes has a crew ranging between 28-38 personnel. The Alkmaar class origin is a joint design of the Netherlands, Belgium and France navies.

The Dutch constructed the propulsion system, the Belgiums provided the electronics and the French built the mine-hunting equipment. To reflect the cooperation between the three countries, the international name of this class of ship, are referred as the Tripartite class.

Published in Naval Visits
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Naval Visits focuses on forthcoming courtesy visits by foreign navies from our nearest neighbours, to navies from European Union and perhaps even those navies from far-flung distant shores.

In covering these Naval Visits, the range of nationality arising from these vessels can also be broad in terms of the variety of ships docking in our ports.

The list of naval ship types is long and they perform many tasks. These naval ships can include coastal patrol vessels, mine-sweepers, mine-hunters, frigates, destroyers, amphibious dock-landing vessels, helicopter-carriers, submarine support ships and the rarer sighting of submarines.

When Naval Visits are made, it is those that are open to the public to come on board, provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate up close and personal, what these look like and what they can do and a chance to discuss with the crew.

It can make even more interesting for visitors when a flotilla arrives, particularly comprising an international fleet, adding to the sense of curiosity and adding a greater mix to the type of vessels boarded.

All of this makes Naval Visits a fascinating and intriguing insight into the role of navies from abroad, as they spend time in our ports, mostly for a weekend-long call, having completed exercises at sea.

These naval exercises can involve joint co-operation between other naval fleets off Ireland, in the approaches of the Atlantic, and way offshore of the coasts of western European countries.

In certain circumstances, Naval Visits involve vessels which are making repositioning voyages over long distances between continents, having completed a tour of duty in zones of conflict.

Joint naval fleet exercises bring an increased integration of navies within Europe and beyond. These exercises improve greater co-operation at EU level but also internationally, not just on a political front, but these exercises enable shared training skills in carrying out naval skills and also knowledge.

Naval Visits are also reciprocal, in that the Irish Naval Service, has over the decades, visited major gatherings overseas, while also carrying out specific operations on many fronts.

Ireland can, therefore, be represented through these ships that also act as floating ambassadorial platforms, supporting our national interests.

These interests are not exclusively political in terms of foreign policy, through humanitarian commitments, but are also to assist existing trade and tourism links and also develop further.

Equally important is our relationship with the Irish diaspora, and to share this sense of identity with the rest of the World.

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