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Canadian Frigate Docks in Dublin After UK-Led NATO Exercise And Storm Ophelia

18th October 2017

#navalvisits- A Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Montréal made a morning arrival to Dublin Port yesterday having taken part in a major UK led exercise involving a large NATO fleet off Scotland last week, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The call of the 1994 'Halifax' class frigate follows Friday's visit to Ireland of Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, to the Marine Institute headquarters in Oranmore, Co. Galway. Among the topics the minister discussed was climate change and collaborations under the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

Only days later, due to the severity of Storm Ophelia, the Marine Institute decided to close the headquarters as the Red weather status storm swept across the country.

In advance of Ophelia and the Irish call, HMCS Montréal completed the exercise off Scotland and visited Glasgow from where also the Spanish frigate Álvaro de Bazán paid a call.

As Afloat previously reported, foreign naval calls to Irish ports can be very fluid including cancellation due to 'operational reasons' and this may apply to the frigate. An Italian Navy frigate however may instead be the next visitor on the Dublin Bay horizon, in the form of the FREMM class frigate ITS Luigi Rizzo.

Returning to the HMCS Montréal, the 134m Halifax class frigate role is for multi-role operations in that they are anti-submarine/aircraft and ship. Among the weapons systems are Sea-Sparrow SAM missiles. The 5,000 tonnes deep load frigate built by Canadian yard St. John Shipbuilding was commissioned into service in 1994 and has a crew complment of 225 that includes an air-wing.

Prior to the arrival of the Canadian visitor, the Irish Naval Service OPV90 class L.E. James Joyce was already docked in Dublin having sailed from Killybegs. During storm Ophelia,the OPV remained berthed at the Deepwater Quay along the south quays. This berth allocation for the Irish Navy is a first in terms of reporting on Afloat and previously other marine media.

It was within an hour's arrival of HMCS Montréal that the second of the OPV90 class sisters shifted berths in Dublin which involved L.E. James Joyce pass the visiting naval frigate. The move of berths led to the Naval Service vessel make a transit through the Tom Clarke toll-lift bridge to an upriver berth alongside Sir John Rogersons Quay.

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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