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Archers Make A Dash Across Irish Sea With Dragon Docking in Dublin

19th July 2017

#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.

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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