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Royal Navy aircraft-carrier HMS Illustrious On Rare Visit to Dublin Port

26th April 2013
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HMS Illustrious
HMS Illustrious arriving into Dublin Port with Poolbeg Light in the foreground. Photo: Jehan Ashmore
Royal Navy aircraft-carrier HMS Illustrious On Rare Visit to Dublin Port

#Aircraft-Carrier- The Royal Navy's HMS Illustrious (RO6) which is the High Readiness Helicopter and Commando Carrier made a rare visit to Dublin Port when the 22,000 tonnes former aircraft-carrier docked at noon today, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The last of the 'Invincible' class of aircraft-carriers commissioned for the Royal Navy is in the capital as part of an international naval flotilla which are arriving at various stages today, having just completed a major multi national warfare exercise off the coast of Scotland.

Captain Martin Connell, Commanding Officer said: "We are really delighted to be visiting Dublin, especially during the period of The Gathering."

To mark her visit to Ireland during the Gathering, HMS Illustrious will be floodlit in green. Captain Connell added "we have been kindly donated some high powered green lighting. We are all looking forward to seeing the end effect."

HMS Illustrious which otherwise is known affectionately by all aboard as 'Lusty' – which used to carry 'Harrier' VSTOL jump-jet aircraft is due to pay off after 32 years sterling service in 2014 to make way for the next-generation aircraft carriers.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, on the other side of the Irish Sea, she made a call to Liverpool in February on what was likely to be her last call to that city as part of a farewell UK tour of ports.

As regards HMS Illustrious's last call to Dublin Port, this was back in 2005 where she docked along the south quays, whereas on this occasion she is moored in Alexandra Basin, facing opposite the Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club marina in Ringsend.

She is to remain in the port over the weekend and depart on Monday.

 

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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