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Displaying items by tag: Zeebrugge ferry disaster

#BelgiumNavy - A Belgium Navy ship is visiting Dublin Port, however the call to the capital follows a solemn occasion held on board to mark a ferry disaster that took place off Zeebrugge three decades ago.

On Monday the BNS Castor departed the naval base in Zeebrugge to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster outside the North Sea port.

On board the naval vessel was the British Ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose who laid a wreath along with Belgium officials. The ceremony part of those held also on land, was to remember the 193 passengers who died when the Herald of Free Enterprise in 1987 capsized near the coast of Zeebrugge. The day also reflected on the Belgians who helped to save many lives.

The naval visit of BNS Castor to Dublin Port sees the 2014 built Ready Duty Ship (RDS) arrive with a 15 member crew. Among the roles they have are search and rescue (SAR) and surveillance operations undertaken by the vessel in the European Economic Zone (EEZ).

Presenting a sleek profile on the Liffey was the 53m BNS Castor that was escorted by the tug Shackleton and pilot cutter Dodder. This involved the naval ship take a berth close to the city-centre along Sir John Rogersons Quay at berth No. 8. This berth is typically allocated to such foreign naval vessels, tallships and small cruiseships.

 

Published in Naval Visits

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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