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First Foreign Naval Ships Since Pandemic Begun Call to Irish Ports

3rd October 2021
The visiting Dutch Navy's HNLMS Karel Doorman today arrived in Cork Harbour alongside Cobh's Deepwater Quay (as above) marking the second of two naval ship calls to Irish Ports, the other been Dublin Port. The visiting Dutch Navy's HNLMS Karel Doorman today arrived in Cork Harbour alongside Cobh's Deepwater Quay (as above) marking the second of two naval ship calls to Irish Ports, the other been Dublin Port. Credit: Port of Cork -twitter

Foreign naval ships have called to Irish Ports for the first time since the pandemic begun, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Royal Netherlands Navy's largest ship HNMLS Karel Doorman, displacing 27,800 tonnes, arrived in Cork Harbour this afternoon to berth at Cobh, having sailed from Greenock, Scotland.

HNLMS Karel Doorman is a joint logistic support ship designed and built by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) and was officially named and commissioned in March 2014. The 204m vessel can carry helicopters and can be used for multiple naval support missions.

Whereas the shorter 166m HNLMS Rotterdam arrived in Dublin Port yesterday afternoon and berthed at the North Wall Extension next to the Tom Clarke (East-Link) toll-bridge.

The leadship 'Rotterdam' class vessel is a Landing Platform Dock (LPD) amphibious warfare ship of 12,750 tonnes and was also built by DSNS and commissioned into service in 1998.

Prior to the arrival of HNLMS Rotterdam, Afloat observed in Dublin Bay the ship's landing craft in the vicinity of the vessel while offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The landing craft are accommodated in the ship's aft dock and above the hull in the superstructure is equipped a large helicopter deck for related operations.

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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