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Naval Visits

#NavyVisits - HNLMS Walrus which is one of the world's most sophisticated submarines arrived in Cork City yesterday for a courtesy visit this weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The non-nuclear powered submarine is the leadship of the 'Walrus' class which was commissioned in 1992 for the Royal Netherlands Navy. In total there are four of the class and they are the only submarines of the Dutch Navy but play a pivotal role in operations.

HNLMS Walrus entered Cork Harbour in the afternoon. From within the expanse of the lower harbour, the 68m submarine navigated further upriver through Lough Mahon before making the final leg to the city's central quays.

According to the Dutch Embassy the visit to Cork is for the purpose of crew rest. Embarkation of the 50 submariners is from J.J. Horgan's Wharf on the north bank of the River Lee. 

On this occasion, the Dutch Navy will not be on training exercises as previously conducted by a pait of fleetmates, albeit surface ships that visited Dublin last month. This involved a Landing Platform Dock (LPD) amphibious warfare ship and a frigate that took part in exercises off the east coast with the Irish Naval Service OPV L.É. William Butler Yeats.

The diesel-electric powered HNLMS Walrus has 4 torpedo tubes incorporated within the stealth designed submarine. Such technology is to make it more difficult to be detected by ships, aircraft or other submarines when deep under the ocean waves.

At 2,650 tonnes displacement (when submerged) HNLMS Walrus can remain under the water surface for long periods to enable missions. On overseas deployments, this can include patrolls in the Caribbean Sea with calls to Williamstad, the capital of Netherlands Antilles.

On this side of the Atlantic, the berth allocated in Cork for the submarine's visit as alluded above is where a sister HNLMS Dolfijn paid a call in 2016. That submarine did take part in exercises witht the Naval Service. 

HNLMS Walrus will remain in port until Monday morning. 

Published in Naval Visits

#CrewRest – The Dutch embassy has contacted Afloat.ie to say the submarine that docked in Dublin Port was not in directly for repairs but for a crew rest and recreational call to the capital, writes Jehan Ashmore.

HNLMS Walrus had sailed into Dublin Bay on Sunday. The submarine dating to 1992 is the leadship of the 'Walrus' class quartet. They are regarded as one of the most advanced non-nuclear attack submarines in the world.

The 68m long HNLMS Walrus (ship's prefix refers to: His Netherlands Majesty's Ship) is to depart tomorrow on King's Day, where in the Netherlands the day celebrates King Willem Alexander’s official birthday. The annual celebration is marked with parties, street markets, concerts and special events for the royal family.

In neighbouring Belgium, a flotilla of navy vessels from that country are due to dock in Dublin Port on Friday.

Published in News Update

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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