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French Flotilla Meet Finnish Flagship For Break in Dublin

27th May 2017
Leadship of namesake class, Léopard is one of five sister training ships visiting Dublin this weekend  Leadship of namesake class, Léopard is one of five sister training ships visiting Dublin this weekend Photo: Marine Nationale

#Flotilla – A French Navy flotilla all consisting of training vessels are visiting Dublin where also in port is the Finnish Navy’s flagship, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The small training ships that arrived yesterday belong to the Léopard class which were commissioned into service from 1982 and the following year. In fact almost all the class are in the capital given that five of the eight training ships are making the four-day call. 

Leadship and class namesake, Léopard is visiting along with Chacal, Guépard, Tigre and Panthère. Each vessel is just 335 displacement tonnes and have a length of 43.0m on a beam of 8.30m. In addition to the training cadets, the class are used to carry out anti-pollution duties.

As for the Finnish Navy’s flagship, FNS Hämeenmaa, this is the first caller to the capital undertaken by the Nordic nation. The minelayer of 1,300 displacement tonnes had arrived on Wednesday direct from Funchal, Madeira.

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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