The latest OPV90 class otherwise known as the ‘Samuel Beckett’ series named after the leadship, has been in Irish waters since July following a delivery voyage to Cork Harbour from UK shipbuilder, Babcock Marine. At the time of launch, the Naval Service announced “preparatory work for the contract extension to build a fourth OPV was well underway with production due to start in August.”
As reported yesterday LÉ William Butler Yeats was alongside Dun Laoghaire's Carlisle Pier, where almost a year ago second sister, LÉ James Joyce was named at the same quay. L.É. Samuel Beckett is currently returning to the Mediterranean to replace L.É. James Joyce. She is heading back home next Friday after a three month migrant search and rescue deployment at sea.
Adjacent of the Carlisle Pier is the East Pier, easily the more popular of Dun Laoghaire's two piers, where strollers could see the 1,900 displacement tonnes vessel. The newcomer which has a crew of 44 personal and is equipped notably with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). They are used for a variety of tasks, among them covert drug interdiction duties and pollution detection.
In addition the OPV's 90m long hull is to improve sea keeping characteristics, to cope when patrolling the more exposed Atlantic Ocean. At the stern there is a derrick crane and additional space for deck cargo, i.e. TEU sized containers (for stores, supplies and equipment), varying to what is required when on deployment.
The OPV90 trio represent phase one of a modernisation/ vessel replacement programme that has led all ageing ‘Emer’ OPV class decommissioned, though the disposal of LÉ Aisling remains to be seen. With the entry of LÉ William Butler Yeats, she along with her sister make up the largest of the same class out of fleet of eight, that includes a similar pair of the ‘Roisin’ class OPV80 sisters.
Next month, a twinning ceremony of LÉ William Butler Yeats is to be held next month Galway. The City of the Tribes is the adopted homeport of her direct predecessor, LÉ Aisling.
The veteran vessel likewise of her older sisters was built by Verolme Cork Dockyard, with LÉ Aisling commissioned in 1980. She would serve a 36 year career until this summer when she was decommissioned.