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Stena Line’s recent announcement of acquiring shares in Africa Morocco Link (AML) follows another Scandinavian ferry rival, DFDS, which in January completed the process in its acquisition of a Strait of Gibraltar operator, writes Jehan Ashmore.

It was in September when Danish shipping and logistics company, DFDS announced its acquisition of FRS Iberia/Maroc. The company with a staff of 850, was a division of the German short-sea ferry company, FRS GmbH & Co. KG.

FRS had three routes running across the Strait of Gibraltar, and now DFDS can offer a new market, between Spain-Morocco through these new short-sea ferry routes. They are: Algeciras-Tanger Med, Algeciras-Ceuta, and Tarifa-Tanger Ville. This in a region where growth is expected to be supported by near-shoring of supply chains closer to Europe. In addition annual trade growth of 8% is expected between Europe and Morocco for the next five years.

The acquisition expands DFDS’ Mediterranean route network, currently connecting Europe with Turkey, Asia and Tunisia, Africa respectively.

In November of last year, DFDS passenger-freight ferry, Patria Seaways (formerly, Stena Traveller, the first ferry to serve Stena’s Dublin-Holyhead 'initial freight-only' route in 1995) was chartered by FRS, for an interim deployment on the Algeciras-Tanger Med route. The ferry has returned to this route as part of DFDS new operations between southern Spain and north Africa.

As for the agreement between Stena and AML, this is subject to approval by the Moroccan authorities, where the Tangier based AML operates a ferry route between Tanger Med-Algeciras, Spain. If approved, this would see Stena operate beyond its traditional ferry market in northern Europe by expanding into the Mediterranean Sea.

This summer, AML will also launch a new high-speed route between Tangier Ville and Tarifa. The first route is open for freight and travel customers, whereas the second one, will be a route for passengers and cars.

Afloat also highlights, should the agreement be granted, it will be full circle, as one of AML’s two-ship fleet, is the 1979 Harland & Wolff built Galloway Princess (later Stena Galloway), which serves as AML’s Moroccan Sun along with its fleetmate, Moroccan Star, the 1980 built former Danish State Railways (DSR) Rederei’s Prins Joachim.

The Galloway Princess first served Sealink/British Rail’s North Channel Larne-Stranraer and later Belfast-Cairnryan (under Stena) but ultimately became Stena Galloway following the sale of Sealink British Ferries to Stena Line in 1991. The ferry was the first of a quartet of the 'Saint' Class, but differed in design the most from the rest of the series built for other Sealink routes, including the Strait of Dover.

During its Irish Sea career, Stena Galloway in 1992 also had a stint on the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route, as a half-sister, Stena Cambria had major engine problems, leading to the North Channel ferry having to deputise on the Ireland-Wales route, supporting Stena Hibernia, and chartered ro-ro freighter Augsburg, owned by DSR Ro Ro.

This was most unusual to have a trio of vessels on the route, but arose that year due to a busy high-season coupled with a surge in freight demand.

Published in Ferry

Irish tourists looking to holiday in France next year received a welcome boost today as Ireland’s leading ferry company Stena Line announced it was introducing a second cruise ferry on its Rosslare to Cherbourg service. Providing best-in-class comfort and choice for passengers on the route in 2023, the new ship Stena Vision will increase frequency on the route to six departure days a week on the shortest, quickest, and most frequent ferry service to the European Continent, say the company.

The addition of Stena Vision to the Ireland-France route, will provide Stena Line with a significant increase in capacity operating alongside its existing vessel, Stena Horizon. Stena Vision is scheduled to begin service in June and will have space for 1,300 passengers and 485 passenger cabins, more than any other ferry current sailing from Ireland. It will offer a wide selection of accommodation ranging from standard and deluxe cabins, to suites. There’s also good news for dog owners with 42 pet cabins, so passengers can travel with their furry friends to and from France*.

Travel guests can sit back, relax and start their holiday as soon as they board the bigger and more spacious Stena Vision. The new travel experience includes a wide choice of bars and restaurants, as well as an onboard Nordic Spa. Whether passengers are going to hit the beaches on the Riviera, chill out in Provence, or party in Paris they can arrive in comfort, style and refreshed after their cruise.

Paul Grant, Irish Sea Trade Director at Stena Line, says: “Ahead of what is expected to be a busy summer in 2023, we will be doubling our sailing frequency and tripling our passenger capacity for tourists on our Rosslare – Cherbourg service as well significantly increasing freight capacity. We’ve seen increased demand for more services and bigger vessels and are pleased to announce that from next June we will have 12 sailings weekly on the shortest and most frequent direct service between Ireland and France. We are delighted to offer more options and choice for our customers with this significant addition to our Irish Sea fleet.”

The introduction of the Stena Vision is welcome news for the freight sector, which has seen demand grow for direct services to France from hauliers since Brexit. Stena Vision will also increase driver accompanied capacity with more cabin space for freight drivers.

Stena Vision will come fresh from the Baltic Sea, where it has been operating on the busy Swedish/Polish Karlskrona to Gdynia route. It will be replaced by the Stena Line’s new larger E-Flexer Stena Ebba early next year.

Starting service in June 2023, with a choice of fares from as little as €289 for a car and driver, crossings can be secured with only a €100 deposit. Bookings can be made at stenaline.ie and stenaline.fr.

Published in Stena Line
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In the early evening of Saturday, 2nd October, Belfast Coastguard put out a MAYDAY in response to a 20ft yacht with four people on board reportedly taking on water and without power, a mile north of Corsewall Point, at the mouth of Loch Ryan on the southwest coast of Scotland.

The Stena Superfast VIII, the ro-ro/passenger ferry between Belfast and Cairnryan on Loch Ryan, passed and responded. They launched their fast rescue craft and stood by the vessel until the arrival of Portpatrick and Stranraer RNLI lifeboats. The craft was assisted to Stranraer marina by the lifeboats.

Belfast Coastguard, with Headquarters in Bangor on Belfast Lough, coordinates Search and Rescue for Northern Ireland, Southwest Scotland and North West England. They commented, "We are very grateful for the swift and professional response from Superfast VIII and at no time was the ferry or its passengers or crew in any danger".

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Duty-free shopping is making a big impact as it proves popular with passengers once again on routes between Ireland and Wales. Early sales figures show the huge potential it has to help the travel sector bounce back after the pandemic. Nowhere has the boost from duty free become more apparent than at Swedish ferry company Stena Line, where spend per passenger in its onboard shops saw a fourfold increase in August, on routes where passengers can now enjoy tax-free shopping.

With duty-free shopping back onboard it has meant lucky passengers can now access large discounts of up to 50% off on a wide range of items such as whiskeys, vodkas, gins, wines, beers and champagnes. With famous brands like Jameson, Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, Hendricks, Budweiser, and Bollinger, all available at a fraction of onshore prices.

The removal of COVID-19 travel restrictions by Ireland meant that August was the first month where full tourist and non-essential travel with Britain was permitted. The response was instant, with high demand for sailings from people desperate to travel after so long in lockdown and keen to make the most of what was left of summer. The demand for duty-free was equally high, resulting in the spend per passenger in Stena Line’s onboard shops more than quadrupling compared to pre-pandemic levels in August 2019.

Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Irish Sea Trade Director commented: “Like most travel businesses we have experienced a very difficult time over the last 18 months, but now as our passengers start to return in large numbers, we are delighted to be in a position to offer them the added benefit of duty-free shopping on our ships for the first time in over 20 years. Our expanded onboard shops now offer a great range of items from spirits to jewellery, fragrances to electrics, some at over 50% cheaper than high street prices.”

Duty-free shopping is now available to any passengers on Stena Line’s services between Holyhead – Dublin and Fishguard – Rosslare, where the company’s large, modern vessels have newly refitted and expanded shops.

The company has also reintroduced its famous low-cost duty-free return trips, known as ‘non-landers’, where people take return trips across the Irish Sea, without leaving the ferry, just to access the bargains now on offer. Duty-free return fares are only £20.

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Continuing the strengthening and expansion of its services in the Baltic Sea, Swedish ferry company Stena Line is deploying two new large and modern ferries on the route between Ventspils in Latvia and Nynäshamn in Sweden this year. The first of the two vessels, Stena Scandica, arrived in the port of Nynäshamn this morning when it completed its overnight maiden voyage from Ventspils. The vessel adds another 70% more cabins and 30% more freight capacity compared to the existing vessels and offers an attractive alternative way to travel on the Baltic Sea.

“We have been carrying passengers and freight in the Baltic Sea region for almost ten years. During this period, we have experienced a strong yearly growth. Furthermore, we have more than doubled our operations from one vessel and 10 departures per week in 2012 up to two vessels and 24 departures per week for passengers and freight in 2021. Our expansion is driven by an increased demand for sea travel and the requirement for additional freight capacity from our customers on the Baltic Sea. We are now strengthening our position and customer offer further with two new modern and bigger vessels that will add extra 30 % freight capacity and provide an attractive onboard experience on both our routes to and from Latvia during 2021,” says Johan Edelman, Trade Director Baltic Sea North.

Stena Scandica is 222m long and has a capacity of 200 cabins, 970 passengers and 2,875 freight lane meters, plus an extra car deck – adding another 30% freight capacity and 70% more cabins on the route. The vessel is fitted with several sustainable features and fuel efficiency improvements, such as hybrid scrubbers, ballast water cleaning systems, twisted leading edge rudder and others to offer a more sustainable transportation across the Baltic Sea. The larger tonnage also means a lower emission per transported unit.​ The interior includes new cabin categories, spacious shop with great deals and well-known brand products, lounge areas and several dining facilities, as well as a sundeck.

“We see RoPax as our key competitive advantage and an integral part of our success story, therefore, we will continue to combine freight and passengers. These two new vessels represent a fantastic addition to the fleet for our customers, and it is just a first step towards our ambitious plan to double the number of passengers on the Baltic Sea route in 3 years,” highlights Johan Edelman.

Ventspils – Nynäshamn is the shortest route between the Baltics and Scandinavia. When Stena Scandica and Stena Baltica take over the route Ventspils – Nynäshamn and they will replace the Stena Livia and Stena Flavia, which will then be redeployed on the route Liepāja – Travemünde.

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In 2015 Stena Line made history by converting one of the largest RoPax ferries in the world, the 240-metre Stena Germanica, to become the world’s first methanol powered ferry. Now the Swedish ferry company has achieved another world first, by powering Stena Germanica with methanol recycled from residual steel gases.

This week Stena Line took the next step on their sustainable journey towards achieving zero carbon when the Stena Germanica travelled from Sweden to Germany powered by recycled methanol. The new fuel dubbed ‘Blue Methanol’, is recycled from residual steel gases, a by-product of the steel production industry and helps reduce the ferry’s reliance on diesel, thus lowering the vessel’s carbon emissions further.

By making Stena Germanica blue the new fuels helps the vessel become greener! This week’s journey is another milestone in this ground-breaking project, which launched in 2015 when the dual-fuel system onboard Stena Germanica was converted to allow the vessel to run on both methanol and diesel fuel. It is the world’s first methanol powered RoPax (passenger and freight) ferry, which operates on the Gothenburg – Kiel route.

Stena Line developed it with several partners, including Methanex, Wärtsilä and EU's Motorways of the Seas project. The conversion project was the first of its kind in the world and was so unique that it established methanol as a marine fuel for the first time ever.

"It is exciting to be part of our sustainable journey and try out another new sustainable fuel. I can confirm that we sailed with the new fuel from Gothenburg to Kiel on June 22 and it worked very well,” says Peter Holm, Chief Engineer Stena Germanica.

While methanol is a fossil fuel, it is much cleaner than traditional marine fuel. Sulphur and particulates are reduced by 90% and nitrogen by 60%. The steel industry and the maritime sector are two of the world’s biggest emitters of CO2, accounting for 6-8% and 2.5% of all CO2 emissions respectively. The FReSMe project, funded by H2020 EU program, aims to demonstrate the whole process that enables the CO2 captured from the steel industry to produce methanol fuel that will be used as fuel in the ship transportation sector.

“This collaboration between the steel and the maritime sectors is the first of its kind and demonstrates that by working together companies from different backgrounds can greatly improve their effect on the climate. For Stena Line this is another successful proof of concept for our methanol conversion ferry and a further bridge towards our aim of fossil free shipping,” says Erik Lewenhaupt, Head of Sustainability Stena Line Group.

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Despite the ongoing pandemic, ferry company Stena Line has achieved another important milestone in its major new fleet investment programme with the ‘launching’ ceremony of the first new extended E-Flexer vessel in Weihai, China. The vessel was ordered in 2018 and the delivery is expected in 2022. For now, the name of the new vessel and the route on which it will operate are being kept a closely guarded secret by Stena Line.

Stena Line is well underway in modernising its large European fleet of ferries and has not let the ongoing pandemic affect these ambitious plans. The new vessel that took to the water for the first time on 24 May is the fourth out of five new next-generation E-Flexer vessels that are designed and built in collaboration with the sister company Stena RoRo at the CMI Jinling Weihai Shipyard in China. The vessels are among the world's most modern and efficient RoPax vessels. The three first vessels have already started to operate on the Irish Sea during 2020 and 2021.

”The E-Flexer vessels represent an important part of our sustainable growth journey for the future and we look forward to welcoming two more vessels to our fleet next year. The first three vessels are making waves with our appreciative customers across the Irish Sea and both their flexibility and efficiency has already made them great assets for the company during the pandemic and following Brexit” says Niclas Mårtensson, Managing Director of Stena Line.

”Despite the challenges connected to the pandemic we have been able to deliver our new buildings in time and thereby enabling Stena Line to perform their fleet renewal program as planned, says Per Westling, Managing Director of Stena RoRo.

The fourth and the fifth vessel will be 240 meters long with a load capacity of 3,600 length meters, compared to the first three which are 214 meters long and have a load capacity of 3,100 length meters. In total, the larger vessels also get 50 % more cabins and beds, 30 % increased passenger capacity and an additional 15% cargo capacity. The name of the new vessel and the locations where it will operate will be announced later this year.

Among the distinguishing features are:

  • Efficient loading and unloading with drive-through lanes on the two levels.
  • Up to 30 % more energy efficient than existing vessels in the fleet, thanks to optimum design of the hulls, propellers, bulbs and rudders.
  • All five vessels are delivered gas-ready, to allow conversion to methanol or LNG fuel.
  • The two longer vessels will be equipped to use shore power during port calls to reduce emissions. The electricity connection also enables a conversion to battery hybrid in the future.
  • Stena Lines’ Scandinavian heritage is clearly visible on the interior and the design is spacious and light, with amazing panoramic views.
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With the expectation that travel restrictions between Ireland and Britain will be removed soon, ferry company Stena Line is bringing its new vessel Stena Estrid back to its key Holyhead – Dublin route.

It will replace the Stena Horizon, which will return to its former role serving Rosslare – Cherbourg.

The ships had swapped due to increased freight demand on direct routes to France and low travel volumes between Holyhead and Dublin. The end of lockdowns have resulted in freight volumes increasing again, so the company needs to switch the vessels back to their pre-lockdown roles.

Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Trade Director says: “With huge pent up demand for travel between Ireland and Britain, and the added bonus of Duty Free, now’s the right time to switch Stena Estrid back.

Stena Horizon will again operate alongside Stena Foreteller on Rosslare – Cherbourg, offering 12 sailings per week to France. We’ve doubled our frequency on our direct services to the Continent.”

The last sailing of the Stena Estrid to France will be the 15:00hrs departure from Cherbourg on 23rd May; the ship will then reposition for the 20:30 departure from Holyhead to Dublin on 24th May.

The last sailing of the Stena Horizon from Dublin to Holyhead will be the on 14:45hrs departure on 24th May. The vessel will then return to join the Stena Foreteller on the Rosslare – Cherbourg route, where Stena Line has doubled frequency post-Brexit and offers freight customers the most frequent and shortest service to North West France. Stena Horizon’s first departure from Rosslare to Cherbourg will 21:00hrs on 25th May.

Stena Estrid will provide two daily return crossings each way between Holyhead and Dublin. Where it is expected that onboard Duty-Free sales, now available after Brexit, will become very popular.

Stena Line offers the most comprehensive choice of services on the Irish Sea, with 6 routes from Ireland to Scotland, England, Wales and France, and more than 220 sailings weekly.

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Irish Ferries and Stena Line, the two key players in Ireland’s ferry industry, are today calling for the reopening of the Common Travel Area (CTA) at the earliest opportunity. They also welcome comments made last week by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, when he talked about the possibility of restoring the Common Travel Area (CTA) between Ireland and Britain as an “initial first step” for the travel and tourism sectors.

With virus levels now low in Ireland and the UK, and vaccination programmes progressing in both countries, Irish Ferries and Stena Line are calling on Ministers and industry stakeholders to urgently look at restoring the long-standing CTA agreement for Irish and UK citizens, and permit unrestricted travel between Britain and the island of Ireland.

Paul Grant, Trade Director for the Irish Sea, at Stena Line said: “COVID-19 infections are now at low levels and vaccination levels are increasing significantly in both countries. In the UK for example 66% of adults have now received their first dose and 30% have had both, so there is now a real need to focus on solving some of the economic impacts of the pandemic, and an obvious starting point are the hard-hit tourist, hospitality and travel sectors. With the restoring of travel between the islands of Ireland and Britain, we can start to rebuild these sectors locally in advance of the full resumption of international travel, which may take more time to agree and deliver.”

Andrew Sheen, Managing Director for Irish Ferries commented: “The ferry industry has played a key role in helping to keep vital food and medical supply lines open during the height of the pandemic. With the current UK infection rate of 48 cases per 100,000 population comparable to the lowest in Europe, we need to acknowledge the shared land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and eliminate the discrepancies and loopholes on travel restrictions on the island. Irish Ferries and Stena Line welcome the Tánaiste’s recent comments on the possibility of restoring the CTA in advance of the full resumption of international travel and would urge the Irish Government to prioritise its implementation.”

The issue with the CTA has arisen due to differing approaches by the Irish and UK governments. The Irish Government requires passengers from Britain to have a negative PCR test and they must also quarantine for 14 days on arrival. The UK Government has never imposed requirements for testing or quarantine for people travelling from anywhere on the island of Ireland to Britain. The Northern Ireland Assembly also has never imposed testing or quarantine on anyone travelling from Britain.

Both companies are also stressing that they need time to prepare for the resumption of travel. Urgent clarity is needed regarding dates so that the ferry companies can ensure they are ready from an operational perspective.

Published in Ferry
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Swedish ferry company Stena Line’s revenue from its onboard shops for the first quarter of the year has shown a large increase on its routes between the UK and the EU compared to the same period last year. The growth is due to 'Duty-Free' sales, which exceeded the company's expectations. It shows the huge potential the onboard retail sector has to provide a much-needed boost to the travel industry after lockdown.

Following Brexit, 'Duty-Free' sales are permitted onboard ferry routes between the UK and the EU. Passengers can make 'huge' savings, sometimes of up to 60%, compared to high street prices on alcohol, cigarettes and cosmetics, which can all be purchased tax-free.

Sales figures from the first three months of 2021 are far outstripping 2020, despite having only half the passengers travelling onboard the company’s ferries. Overall sales on UK – EU routes were 34% higher in Q1 2021, than they were in Q1 2020. These figures were even higher on the Irish Sea where they were up 53%, while they were 14.6% higher on the North Sea. Duty tends to be higher in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, than on the Continent, so there is more incentive to buy tax-free.

Stena Britannica

However, it is the amount that each passenger is spending that is showing the largest increases. On average the amount spent in Stena Line’s onboard shops per person has risen an impressive 80%, as people snap up bargains on the likes of Jameson Whisky, Absolut Vodka and Amber Leaf tobacco.

Stephen Bryden, Stena Line’s Head of Onboard Sales and Services, said: “‘we have invested heavily in revamping and, in some cases, extending our onboard shops so the response is very positive and has outstripped our expectations. Following the large demand that we are experiencing from people eager to enjoy the savings they can make onboard, the company will now be extending our sales offering even further. The ferry sector has suffered worse than many other sectors as we have remained fully operational 24/7 during pandemic, despite having lower passenger and freight levels, so the boost from 'Duty Free' is a welcome side-effect of Brexit not only for us but for all our passengers too.”

Sales of alcoholic drinks highest with popular brands leading the way. For instance on the Irish Sea sales of Jameson Whiskey for the first quarter of this year have outstripped sales for the whole of 2020, despite the much lower passenger levels.Figures are gathered from sales data on Stena Lines four UK routes where 'Duty Free' is currently permitted, these include routes from Wales to the Republic of England and the four routes between England and The Netherlands (see full list below).

Stena Line’s routes where 'Duty Free' is permitted

  • Holyhead – Dublin
  • Fishguard – Rosslare
  • Killingholme – Hook of Holland
  • Killingholme – Rotterdam Europoort
  • Harwich – Hook of Holland
  • Harwich – Rotterdam Europoort
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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.