#navy - Patrol ship captains of the Irish Naval Service are being forced to seek ‘volunteers’ to crew their vessels due to decreasing numbers available.
The Irish Examiner has learned the Naval Service is desperately trying to crew a nine-ship fleet with numbers which cannot service seven.
A common practice is emerging where personnel, assigned to specific ships, are being asked to fill gaps on other ships which primarily conduct fishery patrols. And, despite the shortage, the Government is still pressing ahead with plans to purchase a new ultra-modern multi-role vessel (MRV) which could cost up to €200m.
Chronic shortages, however, exist in many sections of the Naval Service. According to the Defence Forces, the minimum number of personnel required to run the Naval Service is 1,044.
But the official and latest figures show a total of 974 which includes 195 personnel engaged in professional qualification (PQ) training who cannot serve at sea. They include recruits and officer cadets who are undergoing basic training, technical trainees, and Ordinary to Able Rate (OARs) trainees.
Further reading on this crew-shortage story can be seen by clicking this link.