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HMS ‘Illuminated’ as Aircraft Carrier’s Grey Gets a Gathering Green Glow!

30th April 2013
HMS ‘Illuminated’ as Aircraft Carrier’s Grey Gets a Gathering Green Glow!

#AircraftCarrier – During the rare visit of the Royal Navy's HMS Illustrious (R06) to Dublin Port (PHOTO's) at the weekend, the last serving 'Invincible' class aircraft-carrier was given a Gathering welcome with a showering of green light, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 22,000 displacement tons former aircraft-carrier which currently serves in the role as a High Readiness Helicopter and Commando Carrier, had called to the capital having completed Exercise Joint Warrior, a multi-national event involving several navies, off the coast of Scotland.

The 35 year old vessel which berthed at Alexandra Basin, was floodlit in green (as it happens, aptly on her starboard side) from lamps laid alongside Ocean Pier.

The special lighting effects were created by the Worshipful Company of Lightmongers with whom 'Lusty' as she is affectionately known by her 700 crew have a close affiliation to.

Niall Gibbons, CEO Tourism Ireland, said: "We were delighted to welcome HMS Illustrious to Ireland and are sure that the sailors on board received a wonderful Irish welcome during their stay."

During her visit, two members of the Ship's Company, Able Seaman Andrew Liston, 25, from Chesterfield and Able Seaman Aaron Canwell, 31, from Wembley, were both awarded certificates of Irish Heritage for having family ties to the country.

Another highlight of their 'Gathering' visit was a performance by Irish group, Ragus, who transformed the ship's hangar into a stage filled with traditional Irish music and dance.

HMS Illustrious was launched in 1978 from Swan Hunter on the Tyne and for most of her career spanning more than three decades the 209m long vessel had on board the famous 'Harrier' VSTOL jump-jets aircraft.

The Portsmouth based vessel is one of four Royal Navy core amphibious vessels, however she is due to pay off in 2014 and in her place are a pair of Queen Elizabeth class 65,000 tons aircraft –carriers currently under construction.

Until these newbuilds are delivered, HMS Ocean (L12) a helicopter carrier of 21,500 tons which has called to Dublin Port on previous occasions, is to replace the Lusty after completion of a £65m refit at Devonport Royal Dockyard early next year.

Yesterday HMS Illustrious departed Dublin Port as did all the other visiting navies which took part in Exercise Joint Warrior, except for the French Navy's oil replenishment tanker Marne which made an exodus this afternoon.

 

Published in Naval Visits
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

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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