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‘Stealth’ Designed Dutch Class Frigate Calls to Dublin Port

10th September 2015

#DutchStealthFrigate - An air-defence and command frigate (LCF) of the Royal Netherlands Navy HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (F802) docked in Dublin Port today for a three-day visit, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Dutch Embassy in Ireland through Ambassador Schellekens has cordially invited the general public to an open viewing/tour on Saturday 12th September.

This offer should be recognised and welcomed given the berth location of the frigate is in the heart of the port rather than the more usual berthing of foreign naval ships at the more accessible city-centre location along Sir John Rogersons Quay.

The tour begins at 11am (noting, to book a place is on a first served basis and requiring private transport to reach Ocean Pier accessed via Alexandra Basin).

It is strongly advisable to bring a Photo ID and to carefully read for further instructions, (before emailing of this boarding opportunity) by clicking the Embassy link HERE.

The ‘Provinciën’ class fast-frigate (30 knots) which carries missiles is the leadship of a quartet commissioned in 2002.

She along with her sisters of 6,050 tonnes, have a striking stealth design technology in that the superstructure has sharp angular angles to reduce radar signature.

All of the frigates were built by Royal Schelde which completed the final newbuild in 2005 thus completing a programme to replace the ‘Tromp’ class and ‘Jacob van Heesmarck’ Class frigates.

The armament of the ‘Provinciën’ class, are as listed: Oto Breda 127mm cannon, Vertical Launch System (VLS) Mk 41 for Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) and Standard Missile (SM), Harpoon Missile (HM), Goalkeeper (rapid-fire gun), Mk. 46 Torpedo weapon system, NH-90 helicopter.

In 2013 off the US north-east coast she carried out exercises in the firing of an ESSM, a SM and two HM’s (see video above).

On her arrival to Dublin Bay, the frigate took on a pilot from cutter Camac off Howth from where she continued on into the port approach channel.

While this was taking place, the Dublin Port tug sisters Beaufort and Shackleton were awaiting within the port fairway to carry out in assisting the berthing of the 144m long frigate alongside Ocean Pier. The berth, No. 35 is located on the fairway between the West and East of the Alexandra Basins.

Upriver beyond the East-Link toll lift bridge is where another foreign navy visitor, the German Navy sail-trainee barque Gorch Fock has graced the south quays.

The three-masted ship will also be open to the public next weekend, albeit only on the following Sunday, 13th September. For further details of “Open Ship” tours click to our previous coverage here.

Also calling to the capital during the summer was the Royal Navy frigate HMS Monmouth (F235), she along with her ‘Duke’ class frigates are quite regular visitors to the port.

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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