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French Navy Support Ship Calls to Cork City Quays While Ambassador Visits Naval Base

14th March 2023
A French Navy ship FNS Garonne is nearing the end of a visit to Cork City Quays. The offshore specialist support ship is the newest of the four ‘Loire’-class with the leadship namesake (above) underway in the Mediterranean Sea.
A French Navy ship FNS Garonne is nearing the end of a visit to Cork City Quays. The offshore specialist support ship is the newest of the four ‘Loire’-class with the leadship namesake (above) underway in the Mediterranean Sea. Credit: MarineNationale-twitter

Cork City Quays is where a French Navy ship is berthed having arrived from a naval base in Brest, Brittany to the Munster city for an extended weekend port of call, writes Jehan Ashmore

After a voyage of two days in the Celtic Sea, the FNS Garonne (A605) arrived to Cork Harbour on Friday morning.

The foreign naval ship passed the Irish Naval Service Naval Base in Haubowline in lower Cork Harbour when en-route to the city via Lough Mahon.

In 2020 the FS Garonne became the final unit of a quartet of custom-built 'Loire' class specialist offshore support and assistance ships to enter commission and serve the requirements of the French Navy.

The ship was ordered in 2016 to the Kership shipyard and is based on the design of a civilian class Multi Purpose-Supply Vessel (MPV) with the standard large aft-stern deck for supplies and towing duties.

Among the roles is support diving operations and dealing with pollution in the aftermath of a spillage at sea. In addition to assisting submarines and surface ships, including salvage operations.

On the same day of the 70m auxiliary vessel's arrival at North Custom House Quay, the Ambassador of France to Ireland, Vincent Guerend made a visit to the Naval Base.

The ambassador was received by the honour guard and was briefed by Commodore Malone about the Naval Service. In addition the role of both neighbouring nations on the Atlantic arc of north-west Europe where co-operation of maritime operations is key.

In addition the ambassador was welcomed on board L.É. George Bernard Shaw (P64) the newest of the quartet of Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV)/P60 class which entered service in 2018.

FNS Garonne is to remain in port overnight and where on the adjacent quay to the south, is Cork City Marina which is conveniently located close to facilities and tourist attractions.

Likewise, the city is where the 17 personnel have had crew rest and recreation before the naval visitor is scheduled to depart tomorrow morning.

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.