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UK Royal Navy Minehunter Makes A Much Overdue Visit

15th October 2021
The UK Royal Navy's HMS Grimsby, a Mine Counter Measures Vessel (MCMV) is making a visit to an Irish Port (Dublin) the first RN vessel to do so since Covid-19 struck more than 18 months ago.  The Sandown class minehunter (launched in 2008) with crew of 38 departed from the Firth of Clyde with an overnight crossing through the Irish Sea. The UK Royal Navy's HMS Grimsby, a Mine Counter Measures Vessel (MCMV) is making a visit to an Irish Port (Dublin) the first RN vessel to do so since Covid-19 struck more than 18 months ago. The Sandown class minehunter (launched in 2008) with crew of 38 departed from the Firth of Clyde with an overnight crossing through the Irish Sea. Credit: HMS Grimsby -twitter

HMS Grimsby (M108) became the first UK Royal Navy vessel to visit an Irish Port since the pandemic started, when the minehunter sailed overnight from Scotland to arrive in Dublin Port this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Royal Navy Minehunter HMS Grimsby, is home to the First Mine Countermeasures Squadron Crew 2 and the call by the Sandown class minehunter to the Irish capital, will enable a weekend of engagements. In addition an opportunity for the Ship’s company to experience their first Covid-Safe overseas run ashore in quite some time.

Less than a fortnight ago was the notable visit by the Royal Netherlands Navy which marked the first foreign navy to call to Ireland with visits taking place in Dublin and Cobh, Cork Harbour. 

Afloat yesterday morning tracked HMS Grimsby in the waters of Glasgow anchorage when off Greenock on the Firth of Clyde. Prior to that, HMS Clyde had sailed from HMS Clyde, the Naval Base at Faslane on Gare Loch which is the homeport of the UK's nuclear deterrent submarines.

On arrival to Dublin Bay this morning, a pilot boarded HMS Grimsby with the vessel heading up the River Liffey to berth at the North Wall Quay Extension next to the Tom Clarke (East-Link) bridge.

Before this occurred the UK (Exeter) registered cement-carrier coaster Ronez, yesterday vacated the same berth. This involved the small ship shift berths downriver to the Deepwater 'Coal' Quay where cement product exports take place.

A further pair of Sandown-class ships, HMS Blyth and HMS Ramsey which in 2016 paid a 'NATO' flotilla visit to Dublin Port, are no longer in service as both vessels in August were decommissioned at Rosyth. The pair however were transferred to the Ukrainian Navy to serve in the Black Sea.

Both these minehunters formed part of an original fleet of 12 Sandown class and as Ships Monthly (October issue) reports, together they had also served in the Arabian Gulf.

The UK Royal Naval remains with a permanent minehunting presence in the Middle East to ensure international shipping lanes remain safe and open.

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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