#navyVisitors – The P2000 ‘Archer' class fast inshore patrol boats from the UK Royal Navy that docked in Dublin Port yesterday, however berthed downriver and not as stated closer to the city centre, writes Jehan Ashmore.
HMS Dasher accompanied by HMS Express (each capable of 25 knots), arrived in the afternoon to moor abreast alongside the Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club’s marina pontoon downriver in Ringsend.
The facility is close to the Tom Clarke toll-lift bridge that delineates where the working port lies to the east and the ‘Docklands’ quarter to the west where routine shipping ceased until the early 1990’s. The end of that era was marked by the Guinness tankers that loaded the 'black stuff' from Sir John Rogersons Quay.
It was during a visit yesterday overlooking the marina that the distinctive ‘Dragon’ representing the national symbol of Wales was observed on the funnel of HMS Express. The pair of inshore craft belong to 14 sisters commissioned originally for the Royal Navy Reserve (RNR).
There current role is in the First Patrol Boat Squadron. Among the Archer’s duties are fishery protection and safeguarding the integrity of the UK's territorial waters. In addition as training boats with a crew of 12, they also serve in the support role of the University Royal Naval Units (URNU).
HMS Express given her funnel provides a clue to her identity in that the craft is based at Penarth Marina in Cardiff Bay. The 54 displacement tonnes craft is affiliated with the Wales University Royal Navy Unit with undergraduates drawn from Cardiff and Swansea Universities, University of South Wales and University of Wales Institute Cardiff.
As for fleet companion, HMS Dasher, she is also based on the Bristol Channel as a training vessel for that city’s University through the URNU.
Both 20m craft provide the opportunity for students to spend time at sea, with weekends spent at sea and longer deployments during university breaks.
Beforehand of this call to Dublin, Afloat has identified that HMS Express (thanks to its pennent number of P163) had been a visitor to the Port of Barrow-in-Furness. On Sunday last the English north-west port on the Irish Sea celebrated a 150th anniversary and in the establishment of the Cumbrian town.
The event will be reported on Afloat and also to highlight further Irish-UK port shipping links as Barrow is where operator James Fisher Everard has its origins. They operate a fleet of tankers providing to the marine, oil and gas sectors.