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Naval Service Showcase L.E. Samuel Beckett at OPV Conference

30th September 2014
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Naval Service Showcase L.E. Samuel Beckett at OPV Conference

#OPVconference- L.E. Samuel Beckett (P61) is appropriately docked in Dublin Port, having arrived last night on the eve of today's start of the International Offshore Patrol Vessels Conference (30 Sept-2 Oct) held in the capital, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The €54m OPV90 class newbuild of 2,226 tonnes is berthed alongside Sir John Rogersons Quay, where a ceremony as previously reported saw her christened and commissioned into the Naval Service in May.

As the class name suggests, the OPV is 90 metres in length, which is 10 metres longer than her predecessor, L.E. Niamh (P52) the second of a pair of 'Roisin' class built for the Naval Service 12 years ago in Appledore, north Devon by Appledore Shipbuilders. The yard is now owned by Babcock Marine & Technology, one of several such facilities in the UK which forms part of Babcock International.

L.E. Samuel Beckett has a crew of 44 though this can be extended to accommodate ten more for cadet trainees. As for her main weapon, this is a OTO Melera 76mm compact gun mounted on the bow, two 20mm Rheinmetall cannon guns located on either side of the funnel casing and elsewhere four smaller machine guns. Engine power is from a pair of 6 cylinder Wartsila diesel motors driving twin shafts that propel a top speed of 23 knots.

Her presence along the Liffey's city centre quays represents the latest in OPV design. From next year she is to feature (UAV) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for surveillenace purposes as required for the role of the naval branch of the Irish Defence Forces which is in association partnering the major three-day OPV conference.

Among the speakers from the more than 20 nations representing OPV industry stakeholders, navies and shipyards is Andrew Hamilton, head of Babcock International. The same north Devon yard that built L.E. Samuel Beckett, is where her sister L.E. James Joyce is currently under construction as part of an original order for the pair. She is due for completion in the first quarter of 2015.

Last June, the Department of Defence took up the option of ordering a third OPV90 or 'Beckett' class sister from the yard for the fixed price of €54m based on 2012 prices. The yet to be revealed name given for the final member of the class is due for delivery in 2016.

Published in Navy
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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