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Flotilla of Five French Navy Vessels On Visit

9th June 2018
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Sonar-towing trainee vessel Altaïr (M771) and minecounter measures Cassiopée (M642) seen on a previous call to Dublin Port. The pair are currently part of five-strong flotilla visiting the capital this weekend, though the MCM vessel is berthed downriver whereas the rest of the visitors are alongside Sir John Rogersons Quay. Sonar-towing trainee vessel Altaïr (M771) and minecounter measures Cassiopée (M642) seen on a previous call to Dublin Port. The pair are currently part of five-strong flotilla visiting the capital this weekend, though the MCM vessel is berthed downriver whereas the rest of the visitors are alongside Sir John Rogersons Quay. Photo: William Murphy -Wikipedia

#NavalVisits - A flotilla of five French Navy vessels are currently on a call to the capital following the small ships arrival into Dublin Port yesterday morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Mine counter measures (MCM) vessel Cassiopée built in 1984 is of the Éridan-class. The class otherwise commonly known as the 'Tripartite' class, berthed downriver unlike the rest of the flotilla allocated along Sir John Rogerson Quay. 

Accompanying the MCM Tripartite vessel displacing 615 tonnes are three sonar-towing training ships of the (BRS) type Antarès, the namesake of the leadship class which is in port. The remaining pair are Aldebaran and Altaïr. Each of the trio displace just 340 tonnes and were all commissioned in the 1990's. 

The fifth visitor is represented by the Chamois class auxiliary Élan which among its duties serves as an anti-pollution vessel based in Cherbourg. The 400 displacement tonnes vessel with a large aft-deck is equipped with a hydraulic crane located at the stern. The veteran vessel in April, marked its 40th year since entering service in 1978.

An even older French Navy visitor was the Paimpolaise-class sail training ship Belle-Poule. The schooner dating to 1932 made an impressive sight during last Monday's Bank Holiday 'Parade of Sail' in Dublin Bay before heading for Bordeaux.

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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