#ReadyDutyShip – Afloat has an update to the Belgium Navy ship which docked in Dublin Port earlier this week having carried out a commemorative service on Monday. This was to mark the 30th anniversary of a UK-Zeebrugge serving ferry that capsized off the Belgium port.
The naval vessel BNS Castor, designated as a Ready Duty Ship (RDS) is one of the most modern of the Belgium Navy is based in Zeebrugge. It was from the country's main naval base that BNS Castor had departed to make an arrival in Dublin Port on Wednesday morning. The sleek 53m long BNS Castor built in 2014 has a maximum speed of 22 knots which is generated from diesel engines.
BNS Castor berthed on the Liffey along Sir John Rogersons Quay where one of the 15 crew members spoke to Afloat to emphasise the visit to Dublin was for an extended shore leave. The length of the crew and recreation leave away from routine North Sea patrols is for four days. Accompanying the naval visitor to the capital's port was L.E. Ciara which had berthed astern.
Among the duties of BNS Castor are search and rescue duties, surveillance of EEZ waters, illegal fishing control and fight against trafficking and pollution.
To assist these tasks, BNS Castor has a pair of RHIB craft, one 9m in length and the other measures 7.5 m. They are positioned towards the stern of the RDS where a cradle docking area has fast release equipped to enable rapid response during deployment missions. The vessel also features a panoramic (360°) bridge and an FN Herstal SeaDeFNder 12.7 mm remotely operated machine gun.
BNS Castor was commissioned by the Belgiam Navy to a French shipyard SOCARENAM for the RDS program for two vessels. BNS Castor was delivered in July 2014 and was followed by sister BNS Pollux in the first half of 2015.