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Finland 100: Naval Flagship Minelayer to Visit Dublin

22nd May 2017
OPEN SHIP: Finnish Naval flagship FNS Hämeenmaa will be open to public tours on Wednesday 24th May (17.00-18.30hrs) in Dublin along Sir John Rogersons Quay. OPEN SHIP: Finnish Naval flagship FNS Hämeenmaa will be open to public tours on Wednesday 24th May (17.00-18.30hrs) in Dublin along Sir John Rogersons Quay. Photo: STX Europe

#FinnishFlagship - Finnish Navy flagship FNS Hämeenmaa will be visiting Dublin Port as part of celebrations to mark the centenary year of the Nordic nation’s independence, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The visit of the minelayer flagship to the capital this week (24th-27th May) is to follow the Finnish Navy´s annual training exercises held in the Baltic Sea, North Sea and the Atlantic.

There will be a unique opportunity to visit the Finnish Naval ship as an ‘open ship’ event is organised for this Wednesday, May 24th between 17.00 and 18.30. The flagship will be docked at Sir John Rogerson's Quay.

The Finnish Navy has bases in Turku, Kirkkonummi, Raseborg and the capital, Helsinki with a combined crew of around 1400. The theme of the Finnish Defence Forces' Finland 100 Jubilee Year is National defence is everybody's business.

FNS Hämeenmaa is the leadship of her namesake class of a pair of 77m minelayers, the sister is FNS Uusimaa. The flagship which has a crew of 60 was built in 1992 by Finnyards, Rauma in south-west Finland. Only last year the 1,300 displacement minelayer was modernised. The yard is currently under ownership of STX Finland Cruise Oy.

Both minelayers during the mid 2000's underwent a major upgrade at Aker Finnyards (now part of STX) that had yards in Rauma, Turku and Helsinki. The Aker group was contracted by ICG parent company of Irish Ferries, to build the cruiseferry Ulysses. The Irish Ferries flagship entered the Welsh service to Holyhead in 2001.

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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