#SamuelBeckett – At first glance L.E. Samuel Beckett (P61), the first of a pair of longer (90m) newbuild OPV's which was floated-out at Babcock Marine's Appledore shipyard in November, displays a notably larger mast compared to her predecessors, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Images of the €49m L.E. Samuel Beckett reported on the North Devon Gazette, show her leaving the enclosed shipyard on 3 November and berth alongside the tidal quay of the north Devon facility. It is understood that work on her sister, L.E. James Joyce (P62) started the following day.
Since these photos of L.E. Samuel Beckett were taken, the fitting of the mast between the funnel and the wheelhouse has been added (see photo) and this this mainmast is covered in rather than the lattice structure of L.E.Niamh (P52) see photo. She is the last ship built for the navy and is seen berthed at the Naval Service base at Haulbowline, Cork Harbour.
L.E. Samuel Beckett has new state-of-the-art technology features among them robotic submersibles and a historic first for the navy, drones or "unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles".
She is an enhanced version of the 78m long 'leadship' class the L.E. Roisin (P51) and sister L.E. Niamh (P52) which are themselves based on a design from STX Canada Marine (formerly Kvaerner Masa Marine).
The all-steel hull (see L.E. Niamh in rough weather) is based on the Mauritian Vigilant patrol vessel launched in 1995, but without the helicopter deck and hangar facilities. The newbuilds are designed with longer hulls for better sea-keeping qualities so to cope better in rough sea states particularly those in the Atlantic.
As of previous reports, L.E. Samuel Beckett was then expected to be delivered to the Naval Service base in Cork this month or at least within the first quarter of 2014.
In the meantime, her direct predecessor, the former OPV L.E. Emer (P21) which was decommissioned last year following a service of more than 35 years, still remains in Cork Dockyard for new Nigerian owners, Uniglobe Group who plan to use her on the Niger Delta.