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A 'Daring' Destroyer Takes Up Cork Harbour's Only Suitable Available Berth at Marino Point

23rd November 2018

#NavalVisitors - A UK Royal Navy 'Daring' class destroyer that arrived into Cork Harbour today notably took up a rather strange place to berth at Marino Point, the site of the former IFI plant, writes Jehan Ashmore.

HMS Defender (D36) is a fifth Type 45 destroyer which makes up the backbone of the Royal Navy. The 152m air-defence destroyer which has weapons and equipment consisting of a MK8 Gun along with Sampson, Phalanx and Sea Viper systems.

Yesterday, the 8,000 displacement tonnes destoyer departed Plymouth Sound. At noon today, HMS Defender was tracked off the entrance to Cork Harbour from where the destroyer proceeded passed the Irish Naval Service Base on Haulbowline Island, opposite Cobh.

When Afloat contacted the Port of Cork, the following reason was given for the berthing of HMS Defender as the jetty at Marino Point was the only suitable berth available throughout the harbour able to accommodate the vessel. Normally, when visiting naval vessels call, they tend to be allocated berths at Cobh or upriver along the city's central quays. 

The offer of this berth at Marino Point, where once stood the Irish Fertiliser Industries (IFI) plant was taken up by HMS Defender. The 10,129 gross tonnage destroyer having entered the harbour rounded Rushbrooke and headed upriver through the narrow neck of Cork Harbour to berth opposite Passage West. Adjacent to this town is The Victoria Dockyard site Afloat previously reported with a private wharf remains up for sale. It is here where commercial cargoships use this facility.

The purpose of the naval visit is for the crew of HMS Defender to take up rest and recreation during the weekend. 

The 2011 built destroyer recieved a refit in Portsmouth that were completed this year. This was to significantly upgrade equipment along with a 'Duke' class frigate HMS Kent (F78) also a specialist submarine-hunter. Both vessels' command and control systems and weaponry over the last 18 months form part of the UK Ministry of Defence's £179 billion equipment programme.

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.