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Displaying items by tag: HMS Mersey

#NAVAL VISIT- Having visited Cork last month, The Royal Navy's River class offshore patrol vessel OPV HMS Mersey (P283) is currently moored in Dublin Port, the ship belongs to a trio of sisterships purchased in a £39m deal, writes Jehan Ashmore.

HMS Mersey along with OPV's Severn and Tyne have for nearly the last decade served the Fishery Protection Squadron while on 'loan' to the Royal Navy. They had operated on a rolling five-year term lease from the shipbuilder-owners, Vosper Thornycroft, now part of BAE Systems.

The lease was due to be renewed in 2013 but rather than face having to pay more to rent the trio of vessels for £7m a year, the UK government signed the contract to buy the ships outright, keeping them in service with the Royal Navy for the next ten years.

The Portsmouth based OPV's known as the 'Cod' squadron are hard-working vessels, where each vessel conducts fishery patrol duties for 275 days annually. In addition they are assigned to perform tasks such as maritime security, counter terrorism, tackling smuggling, fire-fighting and SAR missions.

Published in Naval Visits

#NAVAL VISIT- The Royal Navy's River class patrol vessel HMS Mersey (P283) is currently moored in Cork City, at the South Quay on the River Lee, having arrived yesterday, writes Jehan Ashmore

The vessel which has crew of 45, is employed on enforcing UK and EU fishery protection law while out on surveillance duties, which can be at least 275 days annually. Boarding parties are sent out from the ship to inspect fishing vessels to make sure they have the right nets, the right log books and the right licences.

The patrol vessel was built by Vosper Thornycroft in Southampton, and she can be also used for anything from fire-fighting to disaster relief operations.

Published in Naval Visits

#COBH TITANIC 100  - Following President Michael D. Higgins visit to Cobh to commemorate the centenary call of RMS Titanic to Queenstown, the town yesterday hosted a Naval Service review that included the Royal Navy's HMS Mersey.

The President as supreme commander of the Defence Forces boarded the Naval Service 'flagship' L.E. Eithne which passed the guest-ship, a River class patrol vessel which headed a line of vessels which lay at anchor of Cobh's waterfront, they were the L.E. Aoife, L.E. Aisling and L.E. Niamh

The historic event which marked the pinnacle of the Titanic 100 Cobh centenary week will continue as part of a year-round programme of events. For information visit www.titanic100.ie. On the homepage the L.E. Niamh features again, where on this occasion marine photographer Jehan Ashmore captured the vessel underway as she powered her way at high-speed through a misty Dalkey Sound.

Among the many places throughout Cobh where thousands of tourists have flocked since the Balmoral docked on Monday to retrace the liner's maiden voyage, has been the White Star Line pier.

From this pier were the last passengers to depart Queenstown on board the tenders PS Ireland and PS America to the ill-fated Titanic that struck an ice-berg. On her Irish call 123 passengers were transferred to the Titanic which lay outside Cork Harbour, while 7 passengers disembarked from the liner and headed ashore.

What remains of the pier which is not accessible to the public and is in danger of collapsing, there has been calls to raise funds to save the structure, as previously reported.

Also in attendance during yesterday's historic proceedings, was the excursion passenger tender Spirit if the Isles which is operating on her second season since starting Cork Harbour cruises last year. They run between Cork city quays and downriver along the Lee to Cobh.

In the 1980's the tender then named Ingot ran excursions from Dun Laoghaire Harbour into Dublin Bay and likewise of L.E. Niamh, she too transited Dalkey Sound as part of her sightseeing tours.

Published in Titanic
This weekend's 'Foyle Days' in the north-west city is set to welcome two offshore patrol vessels (OPV) the Naval Service LE Emer (P21) and the Royal Navy's HMS Severn (P 283), writes Jehan Ashmore.
The maritime event includes a variety of sailing organisations and accompanying craft to include the 96ft tall-ship schooner Johanna Lucretia. In addition the festival's star visitor attraction will be the inaugural call of the 68ft yacht Derry-Londonderry which is to take part in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.

On the naval front, LE Emer was built in Cork's Verolme Dockyard in 1978. She represents the oldest of the eight-strong fleet and is designed from the Naval Service's first purpose built patrol vessel OPV LE Deirdre (P20) but was modified to improve her stability and speed. This vessel was decommissioned several years ago and was converted into a private yacht.

The original BOFORS 40mm L60 gun of the LE Emer was recently upgraded to a BOFORS 40mm L70 to improve range and accuracy of her main armament. She alongside her 65m sisters LE Aoife (P22) and LE Aisling (P23) where all built primarily to patrol the Irish section of the European Economic Zone (EEZ).

During their careers the 'Emer' class vessels have also completed numerous re-supply missions to Irish troops serving overseas with the United Nations and in particular in the Lebanon. A crew compliment of 46 (5 officers) operate the vessels which are all now in their fourth decade of service.

OPV HMS Severn is the third of four 'River' class offshore patrol vessels and like her Irish counterpart is deployed on fishery duties. The 1,677 displacement tonnes vessel was built in 2001 in the UK'S south coast port of Southampton at Woolston Docks. Her home port for the 30 crew is at HM Naval Base in neighbouring Portsmouth.

She becomes the fifth ship to bear the name and with sisters HMS Mersey (P 282) and HMS Tyne (P 281) they are assigned to the Fishery Protection Squadron. Click the ship's diary to follow the ship news. The final member of the River class HMS Clyde (P 257) serves as a Falklands Islands Patrol Vessel (FIPV).

Published in Navy

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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