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Government To Finalise Negotiations For Purchase Of New Naval Service Patrol Vessels

15th July 2010
Government To Finalise Negotiations For Purchase Of New Naval Service Patrol Vessels

The Minister for Defence, Mr. Tony Killeen, TD, with his cabinet colleague the Minister for Finance, Mr. Brian Lenihan, TD, were today, at the Naval Service Base in Haulbowline, Cork to welcome home the Naval Service vessel the L.E. Niamh from her ten week mission to Latin America.

This deployment was in support of the strong cultural and heritage links between Ireland and South America, to mark the celebration of the bicentenaries of independence by Mexico, Argentina, and Chile, and to promote Ireland and Irish trade links in these countries.

The Captain of the LE Niamh is Lieutenant Commander Kenneth Minehane, a native of Bantry, Co. Cork, and there were 46 crew on the mission.

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LE Niamh arrives back into Haulbowline today. Photo: Bob Bateman

Speaking on the LE Niamh in Cork Minister Killeen said "The trade and diplomatic mission to Latin America, which was undertaken by the LE Niamh, was a significant initiative from Ireland's perspective and is an example of the continued effective inter-departmental cooperation, particularly in the area of trade. The Captain and crew of the ship have carried out excellent work on behalf of the State in furthering our national interests in the region. I would like to commend them on their achievements and thank them for their service."

Minister Killeen continued "I am delighted to be able to announce today that following discussions with my cabinet colleague Mr. Brian Lenihan, T.D., Government approval has been received for the Department of Defence and the Naval Service to enter into discussions with UK based shipbuilder Babcock Marine, with a view to finalising negotiations for the purchase of two new Naval Service Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).

The decision to proceed with the final award of the contract to purchase the OPV's is subject to these negotiations reaching a satisfactory outcome. I hope to be in a position to make a formal announcement regarding the award of the contract for the new OPV's by November 2010. However, as you can appreciate, as negotiations are ongoing it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on them at this time except to wish the officials in the Department of Defence and the Naval Service well in these negotiations".

Minister Lenihan said "I am also pleased to be here in Haulbowline this afternoon with Minister Killeen for this major announcement. I am especially pleased that in agreeing the Defence Estimates for 2011 it has been possible to provide for this key defence priority."

The older naval ships have a nominal lifespan of 30 years. By 2015, all but two of the current flotilla of eight Naval vessels will be at least 30 years old (which is the normal maximum lifespan of such vessels). The continued use of older vessels is expensive in terms of both maintenance and, more importantly, loss of days on patrol. Notwithstanding increased inspections, maintenance and repair, it is not recommended that any vessel should remain in service beyond 35 years.

The three oldest vessels, LE Emer commissioned in 1978, LE Aoife commissioned in 1979 and LE Aisling commissioned in 1980, remain in service through a programme of continuous planned and preventative maintenance and inspections. These inspections have recently resulted in extensive repairs being carried out to all three vessels with holes in the hull plating of each being detected and repaired in the course of dry docking. All three vessels were out of service for approximately 6 weeks.

Minister Killeen added "The acquisition of two new modern vessels will ensure that the Naval Service continues to be fully equipped to carry out its day to day roles in enforcing the State's sovereign rights over our waters and our fisheries and meeting Ireland's obligations in the area of maritime safety and security and fisheries protection. I am acutely aware of the difficulties for Irish fishermen arising from the damage inflicted by over fishing of some key stocks off our coast. The Naval Service plays a significant role in helping to return these stocks to sustainability."

Published in Navy
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The Irish Navy Fleet

The Naval Service is the State's principal seagoing agency. The Naval Service operates jointly with the Army and Air Corps.

The fleet comprises one Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV), three Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), two Large Patrol Vessel (LPV) and two Coastal Patrol Vessels (CPV). Each vessel is equipped with state of the art machinery, weapons, communications and navigation systems.

LÉ EITHNE P31

LE Eithne was built in Verlome Dockyard in Cork and was commissioned into service in 1984. She patrols the Irish EEZ and over the years she has completed numerous foreign deployments.

Type Helicopter Patrol Vessel
Length 80.0m
Beam 12m
Draught 4.3m
Main Engines 2 X Ruston 12RKC Diesels6, 800 HP2 Shafts
Speed 18 knots
Range 7000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 55 (6 Officers)
Commissioned 7 December 1984

LÉ ORLA P41

L.É. Orla was formerly the HMS SWIFT a British Royal Navy patrol vessel stationed in the waters of Hong Kong. She was purchased by the Irish State in 1988. She scored a notable operational success in 1993 when she conducted the biggest drug seizure in the history of the state at the time, with her interception and boarding at sea of the 65ft ketch, Brime.

Type Coastal Patrol Vessel
Length 62.6m
Beam 10m
Draught 2.7m
Main Engines 2 X Crossley SEMT- Pielstick Diesels 14,400 HP 2 Shafts
Speed 25 + Knots
Range 2500 Nautical Miles @ 17 knots
Crew 39 (5 Officers)

LÉ CIARA P42

L.É. Ciara was formerly the HMS SWALLOW a British Royal Navy patrol vessel stationed in the waters of Hong Kong. She was purchased by the Irish State in 1988. She scored a notable operational success in Nov 1999 when she conducted the second biggest drug seizure in the history of the state at that time, with her interception and boarding at sea of MV POSIDONIA of the south-west coast of Ireland.

Type Coastal Patrol Vessel
Length 62.6m
Beam 10m
Draught 2.7m
Main Engines 2 X Crossley SEMT- Pielstick Diesels 14,400 HP 2 Shafts
Speed 25 + Knots
Range 2500 Nautical Miles @ 17 knots
Crew 39 (5 Officers)

LÉ ROISIN P51

L.É. Roisin (the first of the Roisín class of vessel) was built in Appledore Shipyards in the UK for the Naval Service in 2001. She was built to a design that optimises her patrol performance in Irish waters (which are some of the roughest in the world), all year round. For that reason a greater length overall (78.8m) was chosen, giving her a long sleek appearance and allowing the opportunity to improve the conditions on board for her crew. 

Type Long Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 78.84m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 X Twin 16 cly V26 Wartsila 26 medium speed Diesels
5000 KW at 1,000 RPM 2 Shafts
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)
Commissioned 18 September 2001

LÉ NIAMH P52

L.É. Niamh (the second of the Róisín class) was built in Appledore Shipyard in the UK for the Naval Service in 2001. She is an improved version of her sister ship, L.É.Roisin

Type Long Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 78.84m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 X Twin 16 cly V26 Wartsila 26 medium speed Diesels
5000 KW at 1,000 RPM 2 Shafts
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)
Commissioned 18 September 2001

LÉ SAMUEL BECKETT P61

LÉ Samuel Beckett is an Offshore Patrol Vessel built and fitted out to the highest international standards in terms of safety, equipment fit, technological innovation and crew comfort. She is also designed to cope with the rigours of the North-East Atlantic.

Type Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 90.0m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines and Power Take In, 2 x shafts, 10000kw
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)

LÉ JAMES JOYCE P62

LÉ James Joyce is an Offshore Patrol Vessel and represents an updated and lengthened version of the original RÓISÍN Class OPVs which were also designed and built to the Irish Navy specifications by Babcock Marine Appledore and she is truly a state of the art ship. She was commissioned into the naval fleet in September 2015. Since then she has been constantly engaged in Maritime Security and Defence patrolling of the Irish coast. She has also deployed to the Defence Forces mission in the Mediterranean from July to end of September 2016, rescuing 2491 persons and recovering the bodies of 21 deceased

Type Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 90.0m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines and Power Take In, 2 x shafts, 10000kw
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)

LÉ WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS P63

L.É. William Butler Yeats was commissioned into the naval fleet in October 2016. Since then she has been constantly engaged in Maritime Security and Defence patrolling of the Irish coast. She has also deployed to the Defence Forces mission in the Mediterranean from July to October 2017, rescuing 704 persons and recovering the bodies of three deceased.

Type Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 90.0m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines and Power Take In, 2 x shafts, 10000kw
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)

LÉ GEORGE BERNARD SHAW P64

LÉ George Bernard Shaw (pennant number P64) is the fourth and final ship of the P60 class vessels built for the Naval Service in Babcock Marine Appledore, Devon. The ship was accepted into State service in October 2018, and, following a military fit-out, commenced Maritime Defence and Security Operations at sea.

Type Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 90.0m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines and Power Take In, 2 x shafts, 10000kw
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)

Ship information courtesy of the Defence Forces

About the Irish Navy

The Navy maintains a constant presence 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout Ireland’s enormous and rich maritime jurisdiction, upholding Ireland’s sovereign rights. The Naval Service is tasked with a variety of roles including defending territorial seas, deterring intrusive or aggressive acts, conducting maritime surveillance, maintaining an armed naval presence, ensuring right of passage, protecting marine assets, countering port blockades; people or arms smuggling, illegal drugs interdiction, and providing the primary diving team in the State.

The Service supports Army operations in the littoral and by sea lift, has undertaken supply and reconnaissance missions to overseas peace support operations and participates in foreign visits all over the world in support of Irish Trade and Diplomacy.  The eight ships of the Naval Service are flexible and adaptable State assets. Although relatively small when compared to their international counterparts and the environment within which they operate, their patrol outputs have outperformed international norms.

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