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Displaying items by tag: Marine Institute

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) of the Marine Institute and Innovate UK hosted a networking reception in Dublin on Monday (15 April) to advance their joint plans to create green shipping corridors between Ireland and the UK.

The event attracted maritime industry stakeholders who are interested in responding to this research call by constructing consortia which can drive progress in this important area of research.

The call is co-funded by the Marine Institute and the UK Department of Transport and will be delivered by the IMDO and Innovate UK.

Minister for Transport, Eamonn Ryan said: “My department welcomes the launch of the joint funding call from Marine Institute, the Irish Maritime Development Office and Innovate UK. This will produce detailed and valuable feasibility studies on green shipping corridors focused on routes across the Irish Sea, between Ireland and the UK.

“The Clydebank Declaration was launched at COP26 in 2021, with Ireland as one of the initial signatories of the initiative. Clydebank was designed to drive forward to the decarbonisation targets set by the International Maritime Organization in relations to green shipping. The launch of this funding call by Marine Institute and Innovate UK represents the first step towards meeting this ambition and demonstrates an innovative and collaborative approach to solving this issue, which I commend.”

Elin Burns, deputy British ambassador to Ireland, also welcomed the research call and said: “The UK and Ireland are delighted to collaborate together to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time, climate change. The UK has ambitious net-zero targets, and transport continues to be a sector which contributes significantly to emissions.

“Green shipping corridors are key to demonstrating the development of technology, infrastructure and regulations to promote industry adoption of zero-emission technologies. The UK and Ireland’s partnership on this fund recognises our close maritime links across both trade and travel, and demonstrates our commitment to supporting green corridors between our countries.”

The call provides an opportunity for maritime industry stakeholders to consider how consortia might be formed to address the challenges of creating green shipping corridors across the Irish Sea. It also recognises the importance of trading and tourism links between Ireland and the UK and the imperative of reducing carbon emissions in the maritime industry.

Commenting at the launch, IMDO director Liam Lacey said: “We are pleased to be working with Innovate UK, supported by our respective Departments of Transport, on this joint research call that will bring green shipping corridors between Ireland and the UK closer to reality.

“The call is funded by the Marine Institute and UK Department of Transport to a value of €1m. It envisages the creation of consortia of ports, shipping companies and researchers and industry experts to undertake feasibility studies that will result in practical solutions being advanced that put shipping corridors between Ireland and the UK on a pathway to a greener future. This is an ambitious and valuable project that we expect to generate considerable industry interest and lots of innovative ideas.”

James Lovett, innovation lead for future maritime technologies at Innovate UK added: “Innovate UK is proud to be delivering this competition and is delighted to be working with the Marine Institute and the UK Department for Transport.

“These bilateral research collaborations are vital to make green shipping corridors a reality. The required technology and system developments cannot happen in isolation, which is why I’m pleased to see pioneering cooperation between the UK and Ireland. We’re looking forward to seeing the exciting research applications from UK-Ireland maritime industry consortia.”

Published in Ports & Shipping

US Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin visited the Marine Institute’s national headquarters in Galway last Friday (8 April) to celebrated the strong ties in marine science and technology that exist between the two nations.

The visit provided an opportunity for Ambassador Cronin to tour the institute’s state-of-the-art facilities and gain insights into its scientific programmes and capabilities, including research vessel operations, ocean observation and seabed mapping, marine ecosystem monitoring, climate science and scientific services supporting development of a sustainable ocean economy.

In welcoming Ambassador Cronin, the Marine Institute’s director of policy, innovation and research services, Dr Niall McDonough emphasised the institute’s commitment to fostering international cooperation and knowledge exchange, to not only advance marine research and innovation goals but to address global marine challenges.

US Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin learns more about the Marine Institute’s important marine science workUS Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin learns more about the Marine Institute’s important marine science work

“As two nations with seaboards on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland and the US share a deep commitment to exploring new frontiers of ocean science and sustainability,” Dr McDonough said.

“The connections between us have deepened substantially since the signing of the Galway Statement to establish the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance in 2013. We now work together as part of a growing family of Atlantic nations that seek common solutions through scientific collaboration to harness the vast potential of the Atlantic Ocean whilst safeguarding it for future generations.”

Dr McDonough is also at the forefront of Okeano, a new cross-national support group for Atlantic Ocean research and innovation, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Science
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The Marine Institute’s director of policy, innovation and research services is leading a new cross-national support group for Atlantic Ocean research and innovation.

Through a large-scale basin effort, representatives of 16 organisations from 12 countries including Ireland have joined forces to establish the Okeano Coordination and Support Action (CSA).

Funded under Horizon Europe to support the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance (AAORIA), Okeano “marks a significant milestone in the journey towards sustainable management of the Atlantic Ocean”.

Okeano follows its two successful predecessor CSAs, the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance and the All-Atlantic Cooperation for Ocean Research and innovation.

The main objective of Okeano is to provide coordination and support to the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance, ensuring effective governance, cooperation and communication among signatories, across the Atlantic Ocean, from pole to pole.

Okeano aims to facilitate dialogue and cooperation at local, national, and international levels, to consolidate existing initiatives and to tackle socio-environmental issues in the Atlantic region, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, ecosystem protection and restoration, and sustainable and inclusive ocean economies.

Signed in 2022, the AAORIA Declaration builds on the foundations of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation and the Belém Statement on Atlantic Research and Innovation Cooperation.

Furthermore, its objectives align with the EU's priorities outlined in the European Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030, the partnership for a climate-neutral sustainable and productive blue economy, the European Green Deal, and international dimension of the EU Atlantic Action Plan.

With AAORIA’s motto being ‘Connecting-Cooperating-Acting’, Okeano will serve to scale and transition the alliance to a long-term, sustainable and highly impactful international partnership, capable of delivering transformative science and innovation, and concrete benefits for Atlantic communities.

The inaugural meeting of OKEANO was held on 7-8 March at the JPI Oceans Secretariat in Brussels, with representatives from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Cabo Verde, France, Germany, Ireland, Morocco, Norway, Portugal, South Africa and Spain in attendance.

Participants at the inaugural meeting of OKEANO held on 7-8 March at the JPI Oceans Secretariat in BrusselsParticipants at the inaugural meeting of OKEANO held on 7-8 March at the JPI Oceans Secretariat in Brussels

The kick-off meeting, attended by project partners and representatives of the European Commission, focused on outlining detailed methodologies for achieving the project’s strategic objectives.

Dr Niall McDonough — director of policy, innovation and research services at the Marine Institute and coordinator of Okeano — chaired the meeting, with Dr John Bell, director of healthy planet at the European Commission outlining the vision for the next phase of the alliance.

Participants discussed the work plan for the CSA, emphasising inclusivity, international cooperation and active societal engagement. The importance of facilitating access to a diversity of relevant data, knowledge, expertise, capacities and resources was addressed, positioning Okeano as a pivotal point of contact to link scientists, researchers, public and private stakeholders, including civil society and youth.

“The Okeano project is ready to support and contribute to the goals of a growing and dynamic alliance,” Dr McDonough said. “Through its range of planned activities and strong international partnership, we are committed to reaching and empowering communities across the entirety of the Atlantic to respond to the complex challenges presented by issues such as climate change and ecosystem protection and restoration.”

Focus areas of Okeano include:

  • Enhancing governance and coordination — led by the Marine Institute (Ireland): Providing professional support and coordination for the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance governance, organisation, monitoring and outreach activities.
  • Facilitating dialogue across stakeholders — led by the AIR Centre (Portugal): Fostering collaborations with different organisations, and facilitating structured dialogue and coordination at local, national, international and multilateral levels between AAORIA and relevant stakeholders.
  • Supporting and consolidating existing initiatives — led by IFREMER (France): Supporting and consolidating existing AAORIA initiatives, including capacity building for early-career ocean professionals (ECOPs) and youth to promote sustainability and community engagement along the Atlantic Ocean shores.
  • Development of a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda — led by KDM (Germany): Developing an All-Atlantic Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda aligned with the priorities identified in the AAORIA Declaration to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and benefit to local communities across the Atlantic.
  • Maximising impact through communication and outreach — led by JPI Oceans (Belgium): Maximising the impact of the Okeano CSA and supporting communication of AAORIA through effective dissemination, exploitation, and communication measures.
  • Co-design and implementation of All-Atlantic Fora — led by the Marine Institute (Ireland): Co-designing and implementing international All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Fora to strengthen scientific cooperation and shared goals as outlined in the AAORIA Declaration.

Looking ahead, Okeano aims to foster a robust All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation community, promoting cooperation, innovation and sustainable development across the Atlantic basin. By leveraging the collective expertise and resources of its diverse consortium, Okeano believes it is poised to support AAORIA in continuing as a long-lasting and robust community.

Published in Marine Science

The Marine Institute has published its Year in Review 2023, a snapshot of some of the organisation’s many highlights during what it says was a busy and productive year.

Published on Wednesday (27 March), the 24-page document presents key achievements across the institute during the year, along with a selection of key figures, facts and photographs.

In 2023, the Marine Institute embarked upon the first year of its new corporate strategy, Ocean Knowledge that Informs and Inspires, which identifies eight strategic priorities for the next five years.

Other highlights presented in Year in Review 2023 include the continued scientific advice and services provided to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and other Government departments, agencies and stakeholders, including the public.

The institute says these services are essential to achieving a sustainable ocean economy, protecting and managing our marine ecosystems, and meeting EU obligations.

Some 6,409 square kilometres of seabed was mapped by the Marine Institute in 2023 as part of the INFOMAR programme, in partnership with Geological Survey Ireland. The RV Celtic Explorer and RV Tom Crean — the latter enjoying its first full year in service — completed 596 survey days in 2023.

Climate change continued to be an important focus area for the institute during the year, as it worked with climate stakeholders in defining the climate services they need for the marine domain, and continued its support for Ireland’s climate change research with a significant number of surveys and projects.

The Irish Ocean Climate & Ecosystem Status Report 2023 was a major publication during the past year, coordinated by the Ocean Climate and Information Services (OCIS) service area and with input from a wide range of Marine Institute and external audiences.

The organisation’s Research Funding Office administered €12.3 million in new research investments awarded under the Marine Research Programme during 2023. This included funding ship-time on the research vessels and remotely operated vehicle, and the funding of wide ranging and impactful research projects.

Throughout 2023, the Marine Institute carried out analysis and provided support on a wide range of topics affecting the fishing and aquaculture sectors, and delivered the annual Stock Book to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, providing the latest scientific advice on 74 Irish stocks exploited by the Irish fishing fleet.

The Shellfish Safety team provided support and advice to the competent authorities in Ireland and at a European level on microbiological and marine biotoxins food safety issues associated with bivalve shellfish. A wide range of testing was carried out, which ensures a high level of consumer confidence and protection, and supports the integrity, quality and reputation of Irish shellfish and its industry.

Last year was a challenging one for the shipping industry with traffic volumes across all maritime transport modes affected by the difficult economic environment. The Irish Maritime Development Office worked to address and overcome challenges for the maritime industry and to support the blue economy.

The institute’s commitment to being a sustainable organisation continued in 2023 with its first Climate Action Roadmap undergoing an annual review, and a number of key sustainability developments to reduce its carbon footprint and impact on the environment.

Other key events and initiatives during 2023 included partnering on the OCEANS 2023 conference; launching the INFOMAR Bluescale Map Series; supporting the implementation of marine environmental and spatial planning legislation; continuing the institute’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion; and celebrating 10 years of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation.

The Marine Institute also has three new board members, with the appointments announced yesterday by Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Science

The Minister for Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has announced the appointment of Ms Pauline Cronin, Ms Kate Burns, and Prof. Tim McCarthy to the Board of the Marine Institute.

The Minister said they have each been appointed for a period of five years following a competitive selection process run by the Public Appointments Service (PAS).

Commenting on today’s announcement, Minister McConalogue said: "I am delighted to announce the appointments of Pauline, Kate, and Tim to the Board of the Marine Institute. I am confident their backgrounds and individual skill sets will bring a wealth of professional experience to the Board of the Marine Institute.

Dr Rick Officer, CEO of the Marine Institute said, “Last year the Marine Institute launched our new five-year corporate strategy, Ocean Knowledge that Informs and Inspires which sets out a roadmap to enable Ireland to deliver on national and EU policy goals on sustainable seafood production, ocean science and management, environment and biodiversity, maritime transport, offshore renewable energy and climate action. This makes it an exciting time to welcome Pauline, Kate and Tim to the board and their contributions to delivering the Institute’s strategic priorities along with the existing board members.”

Published in Marine Science
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The Marine Institute has launched an updated edition of the Explorers Education Programme’s Wild About Wildlife on the Seashore workbook, which has also been translated into Irish, and is being used as a key teaching resource for student teachers at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick.

All second-year B.Ed students and postgraduate Masters in Education (PME) students have completed an ocean literacy workshop, delivered by staff from the Explorers programme.

Specialist workshops were organised for third- and fourth-year students completing specialisms in primary geography and sustainability.

Lecturer Dr Anne Dolan congratulated the Explorers team on their dedication to produce new fit-for-purpose teaching resources for educators, teachers and children.

“Working with Cushla Dromgool-Regan and Dr Nóirín Burke of the Explorers programme for nearly five years now has been an important element of encouraging student teachers to include marine biodiversity in their lesson plans,” Dr Dolan said. “The marine-themed resources can be used for cross-curricular teaching and to help teachers easily integrate and forge new experiences in and outside the classroom.

“The workshops held at Mary Immaculate College also inspire and engage student teachers to learn about our local environments and marine species, and are key to helping promote rich, flexible, creative learner-centred environments.”

With the new Primary School Curriculum Framework (2023) now introduced into schools, teachers have the responsibility to provide children with the skills they need for communication and critical decision-making.

Subjects taught as part of social and environmental education, STEM, the arts and languages all provide opportunities for children to develop their skills, and to make informed decisions about how to mitigate climate change and ocean pollution, and to protect our natural biodiversity.

These resources are freely available to download from www.explorers.ie. Included are short films, posters and workbooks, art templates, species profiles and presentations for teachers and children to use in the classroom.

“We are so lucky to be working in collaboration with Dr Anne Dolan and Dr Jennifer Liston who are both recognised leaders in education,” said Dr Noirin Burke, Explorers delivery and team manager. “Promoting creative and flexible approaches to bringing the ocean into the classroom and across school content, is key to ensuring we create positive changes to protecting and using our marine resources in a sustainable way.”

The programme is funded by the Marine Institute, the State agency for marine research and development, and is managed by Camden Education and Galway Atlantaquaria.

Published in Marine Science

Good news – there is a sustained trend towards improvement in fish stocks in Irish waters, the Marine Institute’s new chief executive, Dr Rick Officer says.

Speaking to Wavelengths, he says “huge credit” is due to Irish fishers for weathering hard decisions taken some time ago, which have paid off with this increased sustainability.

It’s a trend, he emphasises, and it dates back to 2012. “There is no incentive for fishers to destroy the resource that they rely on,” he pointed out.

In his interview, Dr Officer, who has come from a senior post at the Atlantic Technological University, discussed whether responsibility for marine leisure should return to the institute.

He also spoke about the “spatial squeeze” posed by offshore wind farms and designation of marine protected areas, and climate change impacts.

As an “Aussie”, he says the size of Ireland’s offshore area makes for more of an “opportunity” than a problem in relation to sharing that space.

The institute is “well positioned to be the trusted advisor of data that supports good decision-making”, he says.

Listen to his interview with Wavelengths below

Published in Wavelength Podcast

The Marine Institute has announced that it will lead a major €14.5m Europe-wide project called Aquatic Research Infrastructure Services for the health and protection of our unique oceans, seas, and freshwater ecosystems (AQUARIUS). This 48-month project aims to provide free access to state-of-the-art research facilities across Europe to enable collaborative marine and freshwater research.

AQUARIUS will provide a comprehensive suite of integrated research infrastructures to address significant challenges for the long-term sustainability of oceans, seas, and freshwater ecosystems. This project will bring together a diverse range of 57 research infrastructure services such as research vessels, mobile marine observation platforms, aircraft, drones, satellite, sensors, fixed freshwater and marine observatories and test sites, experimental facilities, and sophisticated data service infrastructures.

For the first time, diverse research infrastructures will be combined in a single project to facilitate the work of researchers and key stakeholders focused on challenges and opportunities for both marine and freshwater systems. All data collected within the project will be fed into central European data infrastructures to inform future policy and decision making at a European and national level.

The project will include training for third-level students, and it will support the development phase of the EU Mission to Restore our Ocean and waters by 2030, the Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership, the European Green Deal, and international climate initiatives. It will also be an essential component in achieving the European Digital Twin of the Ocean and the UN Decade for Ocean Sciences.

The AQUARIUS project, funded under the HORIZON Europe Research & Innovation Action call for access to research infrastructures, will provide funded access to Marine Institute infrastructures free of charge to European and international researchers. It will also provide the opportunity for national researchers to access other European state-of-the-art technologically advanced infrastructure facilities, thus broadening the knowledge and skill set across disciplines.

According to Dr. Rick Officer, CEO of the Marine Institute, leading this pan-European program puts the Marine Institute and Ireland in a leadership role in the research infrastructure sector in Europe. Such collaborative research initiatives are vital to enable researchers to gather data, which can inform policy and decision-making and contribute to international marine management, conservation, and policy.

The AQUARIUS project provides the ideal platform from which the Marine Institute can invest in and optimize its infrastructure, including vessels, laboratories, and other facilities and equipment, to improve the way it does its work and provide the national and international research community with access to state-of-the-art, technologically advanced infrastructure.

Aodhán Fitzgerald, Research Vessel Operations Manager at the Marine Institute and AQUARIUS Project Coordinator, said that the project would enable access to an unprecedented number and combination of research infrastructures. With a fleet of 18 state-of-the-art research vessels, aircraft and drones, as well as mobile and fixed operational platforms, this is an extremely exciting project for European and international marine and freshwater researchers as they now have opportunities to work together to access integrated infrastructures in the Baltic and the North Sea Basins, Black Sea, Atlantic/Arctic, and Mediterranean Sea along with their associated rivers.

The needs of researchers will be met through a robust and transparent system of transnational access funding calls, facilitated by a centralized user-friendly access portal. The Call program will be informed through stakeholder engagement and brokerage events aligning with the EU Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030 Lighthouse Regions. AQUARIUS invites collaboration and engagement from researchers, industrial communities, citizen science groups, and SMEs through a highly focused outreach programme.

Published in Marine Science
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The Marine Institute welcomed Mari Skåre, the Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland, on an official visit to the Marine Institute’s headquarters in Galway on Tuesday (5 March).

Commenting on the visit, Dr Rick Officer, chief executive of the Marine Institute said: “We are delighted to welcome H.E. Ambassador Skåre to the Marine Institute. Ireland and Norway have long shared a commitment to marine research and development. Today’s visit provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress we’ve made on collaborative projects under Horizon Europe, and an opportunity to look to the future and new areas for further cooperation.”

International cooperation is essential to developing knowledge of the Atlantic Ocean, its dynamic systems and its interlinkages with the Arctic region. Such collaboration is both necessary and urgent as society adapts to climate and environmental changes taking place around the world, the institute says.

Ireland already collaborates with Norway on over 50 marine and maritime projects through Horizon Europe and collaborative networks such as the Joint Programming Initiative for Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans) and the Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership.

These research projects range thematically from biodiversity to marine ecosystem services, marine pollution, circular economy, blue carbon, coastal resilience, citizen engagement projects, maritime navigation and important cooperation on marine research infrastructure projects.

Ambassador Skåre and Dr Officer also discussed the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), a global initiative to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation that can reverse declines in the state of the ocean system while catalysing new opportunities for sustainable ocean use.

Dr Officer added: “From our shared Atlantic coastlines, to our rich maritime histories, Ireland and Norway share a profound commitment to advancing marine research and sustainable development. A more resilient and prosperous maritime future will be to the betterment of both nations and the global marine ecosystem, as a whole.

“From exploring sustainable fisheries to studying oceanography and climate change impacts, both of our nations remain dedicated to understanding and protecting our oceans for future generations.”

Published in Marine Science
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A major new European project aims to improve our understanding of how the bycatch of fisheries impacts protected, endangered and threatened species (PETS) in the Atlantic Ocean, and develop methods for better monitoring and mitigating these impacts.

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme, Marine Beacon (Monitoring and elimination of bycatch of endangered and conserved species in the NE and high seas Atlantic region) will address gaps in current understanding of how bycatch impacts PETS.

It will also work with fisheries, policy and conservation stakeholders to develop and test innovative tools and techniques for better monitoring of important species and mitigating risks of bycatch, to ensure healthier seas and more sustainable fisheries.

Bycatch — the unintentional capture of non-target marine wildlife during fishing — is recognised as a major threat to marine species globally, particularly marine mammals, seabirds, turtles and sensitive fish species, as well as the ecosystems that rely on these creatures.

Yet monitoring of these species and their interactions with fishing in such a dynamic and challenging environment has often been ineffective.

Advancements in bycatch mitigation and elimination have lagged behind the urgency of the issue, with many proposed solutions failing to adequately take into account the differing realities of diverse fisheries and lacking sufficient input from relevant industry and policy stakeholders.

In order to address the issue of biodiversity decline in our Atlantic regions and help the recovery of these ecosystems and their services, Marine Beacon brings together 21 research, technology, and fisheries partners from nine countries.

Together they will work across our regional seas to identify significant gaps in our monitoring and understanding of bycatch, and to introduce innovative knowledge and tools to better understand bycatch risk and vulnerability.

By inclusively collaborating with key stakeholders in the fisheries, policy and conservation sectors, Marine Beacon aims to ensure that new, cutting-edge monitoring and mitigation tools are effective and feasible, providing long-term applicability and impact beyond the lifetime of the project.

The project has six key objectives:

  • Engage with key stakeholder groups to build mutual understanding on how to effectively mitigate against the bycatch of PETS.
  • Improve our knowledge of how PETS intersect with bycatch and identify how improved survey and monitoring design can fill gaps in data.
  • Evaluate the specific risk posed by fisheries bycatch to the vulnerability status of PETS.
  • Advance next generation monitoring solutions, design optimal monitoring programmes and accelerate EU monitoring programmes to better achieve EU biodiversity strategy 2030 targets for eliminating or reducing PETS bycatch.
  • Develop state of the art mitigation solutions that reduce bycatch and where possible eliminate associated mortalities.
  • Create integrated bycatch management decision support tools to help Member States’ respective management programmes achieve their objectives.

Marine Beacon was launched on Wednesday 21 February and will run for four-and-a-half years. It is coordinated by Ireland’s Marine Institute and comprises an expert team from Belgium, Denmark, France, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the UK. For more information, follow on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter) at @MarineBEACON_EU.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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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 sealift, 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.

The Irish Naval Service 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

Irish Navy FAQs

The Naval Service is the Irish State's principal seagoing agency with "a general responsibility to meet contingent and actual maritime defence requirements". It is tasked with a variety of defence and other roles.

The Naval Service is based in Ringaskiddy, Cork harbour, with headquarters in the Defence Forces headquarters in Dublin.

The Naval Service provides the maritime component of the Irish State's defence capabilities and is the State's principal seagoing agency. It "protects Ireland's interests at and from the sea, including lines of communication, fisheries and offshore resources" within the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The Naval Service operates jointly with the Army and Air Corps as part of the Irish defence forces.

The Naval Service was established in 1946, replacing the Marine and Coastwatching Service set up in 1939. It had replaced the Coastal and Marine Service, the State's first marine service after independence, which was disbanded after a year. Its only ship was the Muirchú, formerly the British armed steam yacht Helga, which had been used by the Royal Navy to shell Dublin during the 1916 Rising. In 1938, Britain handed over the three "treaty" ports of Cork harbour, Bere haven and Lough Swilly.

The Naval Service has nine ships - 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.

The ships' names are prefaced with the title of Irish ship or "long Éireannach" (LE). The older ships bear Irish female names - LÉ Eithne, LÉ Orla, LÉ Ciara, LÉ Roisín, and LÉ Niamh. The newer ships, named after male Irish literary figures, are LÉ Samuel Beckett, LÉ James Joyce, LÉ William Butler Yeats and LÉ George Bernard Shaw.

Yes. The 76mm Oto Melara medium calibre naval armament is the most powerful weapon in the Naval Services arsenal. The 76mm is "capable of engaging naval targets at a range of up to 17km with a high level of precision, ensuring that the Naval Service can maintain a range advantage over all close-range naval armaments and man-portable weapon systems", according to the Defence Forces.

The Fleet Operational Readiness Standards and Training (FORST) unit is responsible for the coordination of the fleet needs. Ships are maintained at the Mechanical Engineering and Naval Dockyard Unit at Ringaskiddy, Cork harbour.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

The Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service (FOCNS) is Commodore Michael Malone. The head of the Defence Forces is a former Naval Service flag officer, now Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett – appointed in 2015 and the first Naval Service flag officer to hold this senior position. The Flag Officer oversees Naval Operations Command, which is tasked with the conduct of all operations afloat and ashore by the Naval Service including the operations of Naval Service ships. The Naval Operations Command is split into different sections, including Operations HQ and Intelligence and Fishery Section.

The Intelligence and Fishery Section is responsible for Naval Intelligence, the Specialist Navigation centre, the Fishery Protection supervisory and information centre, and the Naval Computer Centre. The Naval Intelligence Cell is responsible for the collection, collation and dissemination of naval intelligence. The Navigation Cell is the naval centre for navigational expertise.

The Fishery Monitoring Centre provides for fishery data collection, collation, analysis and dissemination to the Naval Service and client agencies, including the State's Sea Fisheries Protection Agency. The centre also supervises fishery efforts in the Irish EEZ and provides data for the enhanced effectiveness of fishery protection operations, as part of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. The Naval Computer Centre provides information technology (IT) support service to the Naval Service ashore and afloat.

This headquarters includes specific responsibility for the Executive/Operations Branch duties. The Naval Service Operations Room is a coordination centre for all NS current Operations. The Naval Service Reserve Staff Officer is responsible for the supervision, regulation and training of the reserve. The Diving section is responsible for all aspects of Naval diving and the provision of a diving service to the Naval Service and client agencies. The Ops Security Section is responsible for the coordination of base security and the coordination of all shore-based security parties operating away from the Naval base. The Naval Base Comcen is responsible for the running of a communications service. Boat transport is under the control of Harbour Master Naval Base, who is responsible for the supervision of berthage at the Naval Base and the provision of a boat service, including the civilian manned ferry service from Haulbowline.

Naval Service ships have undertaken trade and supply missions abroad, and personnel have served as peacekeepers with the United Nations. In 2015, Naval Service ships were sent on rotation to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean as part of a bi-lateral arrangement with Italy, known as Operation Pontus. Naval Service and Army medical staff rescued some 18,000 migrants, either pulling people from the sea or taking them off small boats, which were often close to capsizing having been towed into open water and abandoned by smugglers. Irish ships then became deployed as part of EU operations in the Mediterranean, but this ended in March 2019 amid rising anti-immigrant sentiment in the EU.

Essentially, you have to be Irish, young (less than 32), in good physical and mental health and with normal vision. You must be above 5'2″, and your weight should be in keeping with your age.

Yes, women have been recruited since 1995. One of the first two female cadets, Roberta O'Brien from the Glen of Aherlow in Co Tipperary, became its first female commander in September 2020. Sub Lieutenant Tahlia Britton from Donegal also became the first female diver in the navy's history in the summer of 2020.

A naval cadet enlists for a cadetship to become an officer in the Defence Forces. After successfully completing training at the Naval Service College, a cadet is commissioned into the officer ranks of the Naval Service as a Ensign or Sub Lieutenant.

A cadet trains for approximately two years duration divided into different stages. The first year is spent in military training at the Naval Base in Haulbowline, Cork. The second-year follows a course set by the National Maritime College of Ireland course. At the end of the second year and on completion of exams, and a sea term, the cadets will be qualified for the award of a commission in the Permanent Defence Force as Ensign.

The Defence Forces say it is looking for people who have "the ability to plan, prioritise and organise", to "carefully analyse problems, in order to generate appropriate solutions, who have "clear, concise and effective communication skills", and the ability to "motivate others and work with a team". More information is on the 2020 Qualifications Information Leaflet.

When you are 18 years of age or over and under 26 years of age on the date mentioned in the notice for the current competition, the officer cadet competition is held annually and is the only way for potential candidates to join the Defence Forces to become a Naval Service officer. Candidates undergo psychometric and fitness testing, an interview and a medical exam.
The NMCI was built beside the Naval Service base at Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, and was the first third-level college in Ireland to be built under the Government's Public-Private Partnership scheme. The public partners are the Naval Service and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and the private partner is Focus Education.
A Naval Service recruit enlists for general service in the "Other Ranks" of the Defence Forces. After successfully completing the initial recruit training course, a recruit passes out as an Ordinary Seaman and will then go onto their branch training course before becoming qualified as an Able Body sailor in the Naval Service.
No formal education qualifications are required to join the Defence Forces as a recruit. You need to satisfy the interview board and the recruiting officer that you possess a sufficient standard of education for service in the Defence Forces.
Recruit training is 18 weeks in duration and is designed to "develop a physically fit, disciplined and motivated person using basic military and naval skills" to "prepare them for further training in the service. Recruits are instilled with the Naval Service ethos and the values of "courage, respect, integrity and loyalty".
On the progression up through the various ranks, an Able Rate will have to complete a number of career courses to provide them with training to develop their skills in a number of areas, such as leadership and management, administration and naval/military skills. The first of these courses is the Naval Service Potential NCO course, followed by the Naval Service Standard NCO course and the Naval Service senior NCO course. This course qualifies successful candidates of Petty officer (or Senior Petty Officer) rank to fill the rank of Chief Petty Officer upwards. The successful candidate may also complete and graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership, Management and Naval Studies in partnership with Cork Institute of Technology.
Pay has long been an issue for just the Naval Service, at just over 1,000 personnel. Cadets and recruits are required to join the single public service pension scheme, which is a defined benefit scheme, based on career-average earnings. For current rates of pay, see the Department of Defence website.