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Navies from EU Member States On Visit to Dublin Port

13th April 2019
File photo of the French Navy's High-Sea Patrol / Patrouilleur de haute-mer (PHM) Lieutenant de vaisseau Le Hénaff (F 789) a corvette which called to Dublin Port in recent years at Sir John Rogersons Quay. A sister, PHM Premier maître l'Her (F 792) is currently on a visit to the port but berthed downriver in the main port located beyond the Tom Clarke (East-Link) bridge. File photo of the French Navy's High-Sea Patrol / Patrouilleur de haute-mer (PHM) Lieutenant de vaisseau Le Hénaff (F 789) a corvette which called to Dublin Port in recent years at Sir John Rogersons Quay. A sister, PHM Premier maître l'Her (F 792) is currently on a visit to the port but berthed downriver in the main port located beyond the Tom Clarke (East-Link) bridge. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

#navalvisitors - Navies from three EU member states have become the first foreign naval visitors of the year to call to Dublin Port having taken up berths since mid-week, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Over the previous two days, French, British and Dutch navies in that order have arrived to the capital and which has led to berths occupied at Ocean Pier, the marina at the Poolbeg Y&BC and at the North Quay Wall Extension. Next to the pier's Extension is the Tom Clarke (East-Link) bridge from where it should be possible to view all five visiting vessels.  

As these naval vessels have occuppied berths within the more secure corden of the port's main estate located beyond the East-Link, they will not be open to public visits. Subsequent naval visitors, however may instead arrive to berth upriver along the Liffey Quays and hold public tours (or not as the case can be). Along this river bank is Sir John Rogersons Quay where such tours have been held and is convenient for the public to access given the close proximity of the capital's centre. 

On this current call of naval visitors, the berth at Ocean Pier is where the French Navy's high-sea patrol vessel Premier maître l'Her is docked. The corvette is of the Estienne d'Orves class. Among its armoury is a SIMBAD anti-aircraft missile system. A sister Lieutenant de vaisseau Le Hénaff visited the port in 2017 but on that occasion headed upriver to berth along Sir John Rogersons Quay as pictured above. 

Opposite of Ocean Pier on the south bank of the Liffey is the Poolbeg Marina, where the UK's Royal Navy presence consists of a trio of P2000 Archer class fast inshore patrol boats. The leadship of the class HMS Archer is joined by HMS Example and HMS Explorer.

These small craft provide training and maritime experience for University Royal Naval Unit students. In addition the URNU also provide support to wider Fleet tasking and exercises around the UK and Europe waters.

As for the waters of Dublin Port, the Royal Nederlands Navy is represented on this visit by HNLMS Van Speijk. This is the last ship of eight Karel Doorman-class multi-purpose frigates serving the Dutch navy and which was commissioned in 1995. Likewise of the French visitor, this frigate includes missiles in the form of the Sea Sparrow system.

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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