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Displaying items by tag: naval service

#YeatsFinalJourney – Peter Murtagh of The Irish Times writes of a long forgotten record of the return to Ireland of the remains of WB Yeats.

The records emerged from the Military Archives and is available online to coincide with the 150th anniversary on Saturday of the poet's birth.

The body of the poet, who died in January 1939 and was buried at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in south-eastern France, was brought by sea from Nice to Galway in September 1948 for reinterring in Drumcliffe Churchyard in Co Sligo. It was transported by the LE Macha, the first overseas deployment of a ship of the Naval Service.

The operation was overseen by the then minister for external affairs, Sean McBride, son of Maud Gonne-McBride, the subject of unrequited, but poetically inspiring, amour from the poet.

The rediscovered record of the repatriation includes just over 30 minutes of film - silent, grainy and mostly black and white footage of the Macha's mission; more than 80 black and white photographs; the ship's log; and five informal letters to the first head of the Naval Service, Captain HJ Jerome, from an officer on board the Macha, Commander Thomas McKenna, who in due course succeeded Capt Jerome to lead the service.

To this has been added a recording of the only surviving member of the crew, former Petty Officer Patrick Campbell, who is now aged 90 but has a clear recollection of the mission.

"When we docked in Nice there was great excitement because it was the first Irish ship [there flying the] tricolour. We did get a good reception," Mr Campbell told a researcher at the Archive after his daughter, Antonette, contacted the Defence Forces earlier this year saying her father had a story to tell.

For much more, The Irish Times reports here.

Published in Naval Visits

#EithneMedRescue - LÉ Eithne (P31) the Navy Service flagship writes the Independent.ie, has rescued more than 500 men, women children and infants desperately attempting to cross the Mediterranean this weekend.

Yesterday morning the ship rescued 310 migrants from a barge floating in the Mediterranean 40km north of Libya.

Then at 5pm the LÉ Eithne located and rescued migrants on two inflatable craft -this time with 89 persons on board - some 75 kilometres north of Libya. Conditions at the time were good and the operation took two hours.

There are now 399 rescuees on board the Irish ship who owe their lives to the skilled Irish naval services. They number 280 men, 78 women and 41 children in total and will be transferred to other vessels to bring them safely to shore.

On Friday, the LÉ Eithne rescued another 113 migrants adrift on a rubber inflatable dinghy north of Tripoli. They were all given food and water once they were safely on board and then transported to shore.

The LÉ Eithne has now saved more than 1,000 people since it left Cork three weeks ago on May 16 (as previously reported on Afloat.ie)- sailing to assist the Italian authorities in the ongoing search- and-rescue mission in the southern Mediterranean waters.

For more on the story click here.

Published in Navy

#SixServiceFleet - The deployment of LÉ Eithne (P31) on a humanitarian mission to the Med, the fate of 'Aoife' and delays of newbuild OPV James Joyce, sees the Naval Service fleet reduced to 6 patrol vessels operating within Irish waters, writes Jehan Ashmore.

In recent years the Naval Service had a 8-strong fleet with the inclusion of LÉ Emer (P21) and sister LÉ Aoife (P22), however the former Offshore Patrol Vessel was sold overseas to Nigerian interests in 2013. This year the 'Emer' was transferred to the west African state's navy.

The 'flagship' LÉ Eithne commissioned as a Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV) made a transit of the Strait of Gibraltar this Tuesday heading for an Italian base port, yet the issue surrounding the decommissioned Aoife remains unresolved. This followed an Irish Government proposal to 'donate' the OPV to Malta but rebuffed by certain quarters of the island state's military as to her unsuitability in migrant SAR duties.

Afloat.ie has asked the Department of Defence for an update which responded with the same reply as previously reported (see report Aoife's almost full-circle role) in that the 'Department are in discussions with the Maltese authorities in relation to the modalities to be agreed in relation to the transfer of ownership of the decommissioned LÉ Aoife'.

As for the second newbuild Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) 90 class, James Joyce, she remains at the Babcock Marine & Technology Shipyard, Appledore in north Devon. As previously reported a month ago the newbuild had 'technical' issues following her first sea-trials that took place in March off Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel.

The Department however added that further trials of the James Joyce have since taken place. 

It was also then reported last month that the €54m James Joyce would make her delivery voyage within weeks followed by a commissioning ceremony due this month. Whenever this ceremony takes place James Joyce will officially be designated with the ship's name prefix L.É. that means Long Éireannach or Irish Ship.

Currently the fleet that is in Irish waters comprises of a pair of 'Peacock' class coastal patrol vessels (CPV), three OPV's in the form of the sole remaining 'Emer' (modified Deirdre class) and a pair of 'Roisin' class OPV80s. The final unit is made of one Large Patrol Vessel (LPV) that been an enhanced version of the 'Roisin' class in the form of the 'Beckett' OPV90 class.

The Naval Service fleet of 7-strong patrol vessels are listed below.

HPV L.É. Eithne (P31) flagship (currently on overseas deployment)
CPV L.É. Orla (P41)
CPV L.É. Ciara (P42)
OPV L.É. Aisling (P23)
OPV L.É. Roisin (P51)
OPV L.É. Niamh (P52)
LPV L.É. Beckett (P61)

Each vessel is equipped with state of the art machinery, weapons, communication's and navigation systems.

In addition the Naval Service have on contract with Babcock Marine for a third and final sister of James Joyce which is due for delivery in 2016.

Published in Navy

#EithneEntersMed - Naval Service flagship LÉ Eithne (P31) this evening entered the Strait of Gibraltar on her way to assist in the Mediterranean's migrant crisis, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The deployment of the 1,800 tonnes HPV is to enable in the search and rescue (SAR) of refugee migrants from mostly small craft that face the danger of sinking and loss of life.

She had departed her Naval Base homeport of Haulbowline, Cork Harbour on Saturday. Since her departure three days ago at the naval base is where Minister of Defence Simon Coveney was joined by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. to meet the crew of 70 in total. Two crew members are from the Army Medical Corps to assist refugees in an ever worsening migrant crisis.

The Cork built flagship dating from 1984 was commissioned originally as a Helicpoter Patrol Vessel (HPV) hence the extensive aft-deck space and adjoining hanger which will be used by boarding migrants.

It is also understood that the three RIBs will provide rapid reaction launch missions to assist in SAR operations. The need for such RIB craft will step up efforts as the growing numbers of refugees flee north Africa having fled war-torn regions of the Middle East and swathes of northern Africa.

The RIBS will be launched to aid sinking craft laden with refugees. Many of these unseaworthy craft used by people-traffickers are then abandoned except for the 'human-cargo'  left to drift.

LÉ Eithne is expected to reach Italy this weekend (if not before) and to where the countries authorities will preside in the overall running of humanitarian operations.

This is the first time that an Irish Naval Service vessel has been involved in a humanitarian role overseas.

The base port to where LÉ Eithne is assigned has not been disclosed by the Department of Defence for operational security reasons. It is reported that the deployment duration in the Mediterranean is for two months and then the 80m flagship will be relieved by another Irish patrol vessel.

Published in Navy

#EithneMedCrisis – It has been confirmed LÉ Eithne (P31) is to depart Cork Harbour this morning on a humanitarian mission to the Mediterranean as previously reported on Afloat.ie following discussions held between Irish and Italian authorities, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The deployment of the 1,800 tonnes 'flagship' is for a period of six months by the Minister of Defence Simon Coveney T.D. was recently given approval by Government. Joining the Minister this morning in the Naval Base Haulbowline, Cork Harbour was An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. who met the crew before the HPV vessel departs for the Mediterranean.

At the ceremony, the Minister stated that "The humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean is of great concern to Ireland. The quick response by the Irish Government in deciding to despatch a Naval Vessel highlights our commitment to assist with efforts to prevent further tragedy and loss of life at sea."

The Minister further stated that "The despatch of an Irish naval vessel represents a tangible and valuable Irish national contribution to assisting the Italian authorities in the humanitarian search and rescue operation."

A crew of 68 personnel from the Permanent Defence Force and 2 medical staff from the Army Medical Corps will assist Italian authorities in the carrying out of humanitarian search and rescue of refugees subject to the operational demands and requirements. 

It is understood this is the first time in almost 60 years that an Naval Service vessel is to be deployed for humanitarian purposes.

The Minister concluded by saying "I wish to commend the Defence Forces on their efficient operational and logistical planning for this deployment. I want to wish each and every crew member of L.É. Eithne, under the command of Commander Pearse O'Donnell, a safe and successful mission. You will be in our thoughts throughout the duration of your tour of duty."

The 31 year-old L.E.Eithne was launched in 1984 as a Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV) which used to carry a 'Dauphin' helicopter on the extensive aft- deck. Next to the aft-deck is an adjoining hanger which will further assist in her new role in the rescue of refugees.

Note to the left of the twin funnels (abreast) with the hanger area below is a RIB and associated derrick (click photo from previous report) which was not part of the original ship when completed by Verolme Cork Dockyard. It is understood this RIB that rests on a cradle structure brings to three RIB craft onboard. 

As the numbers of fleeing migrant refugees rises from war-torn regions in the Middle East and throughout northern swathes of the African continent, the EU has stepped up its efforts to assist authorities.

Among the nations already involved are the UK which has its 'flagship' HMS Bulwark carrying out rescue of refuges using the amphibious vessels fleet of landing craft.

Published in Navy

#EithneMedCrisis - Minister for Defence, Simon Conveney, T.D. has been given approval by the Government today (12 May) for the deployment of a Naval Service vessel to undertake humanitarian search and rescue missions as previously reported on Afloat.ie in the Mediterrranean.

The last Irish built naval service vessel L.E.Éithne (P31) dating from 1984 whose career was also previously reported will have a crew of around 65 personnel of the Permanent Defence Force are to undertake the task. The decision is subject to finalisation of appropriate arrangements with the Italian authorities.

Following the Government Decision the Minister commented "subject to finalisation of arrangements with the Italian authorities, the L.É. Eithne will be despatched to the Mediterranean without any delay. Operational and logistics planning for the deployment have been completed and the 80m vessel which has a range of 7,000nm at 15 knots is ready to deployed. The humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean is of great concern to Ireland and to our EU partners. I am anxious that we commence search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean as soon as it is feasible to do so".

The Minister went on to say that "discussions are at an advanced stage with the Italian authorities on arrangements covering a number of issues relating to the deployment of the Vessel. I expect that the Ship should depart the Naval Base in Haulbowline on Saturday, subject to confirmation of the proposed arrangements by the relevant Italian authorities".

Ireland will deploy L.É. Eithne to the Mediterranean for a period of up to six months over the summer period, subject to the operational demands and requirements arising in the theatre of operations, to assist the Italian authorities in the humanitarian search and rescue operations.

The Minister highlighted the Government's commitment to continuing Ireland's strong tradition of peacekeeping and stated that "the proposed deployment of an Irish Naval Service vessel to the Mediterranean will bring the number of Defence Forces personnel deployed overseas to approximately 500 Irish personnel."

 

Published in Navy

#CorkHarbour - Marine Minister Simon Coveney last Friday (1 May) officially re-opened the newly remediated Haulbowline Island Bridges at Cork Harbour.

The bridges have undergone extensive repairs and upgrades as part of the early preparatory phase of the Haulbowline Island Remediation Project.

This long-delayed project is set to transform the former Ispat/Irish Steel site on the island into a major public amenity area.

When completed, it will also provide a potential future development location for the Naval Service, which is headquartered on the island.

It is not yet known, however, whether future plans for the island will also include an 'Ocean Racing Yacht Hub' within the Naval Service base.

Reopening of the bridges, which represents the sole land-based road access point to the island, allows for the core remediation of the island's East Tip and the former factory site to proceed later in 2015 – a year after the EPA granted the necessary waste licence.

"The completion of this significant piece of infrastructural work, apart from being a major engineering achievement in its own right, paves the way for the long awaited core remediation work to proceed," said Minister Coveney.

"Once completed this project will usher in an entirely new phase of this island’s long and distinguished history and represents tangible evidence of the Government’s commitment to Cork Harbour and to the wider marine sector."

The minister commented Cork County Council, consultants RPS Consulting Engineers and contractors LM Keating Ltd for carrying out the work within a relatively tight timeframe and within budget.

He also paid tribute to the Naval Service for facilitating the refurbishment and for ensuring that its day-to-day work was not impacted throughout the busy construction phase. 

The upgrade was financed as part of a €40 million package signed off in October 2011 to clean up the toxic waste site at the former steelworks. Full details of the planned work are available at www.corkcoco.ie.

Published in Cork Harbour

#EithneMedCrisis - Naval Service HPV LÉ Eithne (P31) writes The Irish Times is to be dispatched to the Mediterranean Sea to participate in an EU search and rescue mission for migrants fleeing north Africa, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine has said.

Simon Coveney told RTÉ radio this Tuesday morning he hoped the LÉ Eithne would be ready to leave for the Mediterranean by (this) Friday, May 8th.

He said the vessel was being prepared in Haulbowline naval base in Cork harbour so that it could "successfully save people and drop them to local ports in the vicinity of the Mediterranean".

Mr Coveney said the Taoiseach was anxious to respond to the crisis in southern Europe by providing " humanitarian and emergency rescue response capacity".

The European Union has been struggling to forge a united response to the migration crisis currently sweeping across the Middle East and north Africa as desperate migrants flee their homes for refuge in Europe.

No decision has yet been made on Ireland's participation in a European pilot resettlement programme for migrants.

 

Published in Navy

#NavyMedCrisis - For first time Ireland is to participate in an EU search and rescue mission, following the Government's decision to send a fully crewed ship to the Mediterranean to help with the rescue of migrants fleeing north Africa.

The ship could be dispatched within weeks, officials said, and will work alongside Triton, the EU's search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean.

EU leaders have agreed to triple the funding allocated to Triton, with German chancellor Angela Merkel pledging to commit more money if necessary, in order to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean.

"If we need more money we will put up more money. We will not fail because of lack of funds," the German chancellor said in Brussels.

For much more on this story, The Irish Times reports HERE.

Published in Navy

#OPVJamesJoyce – The Naval Service lastest newbuild James Joyce is currently dealing with technical issues, though the Department of Defence in response to Afloat.ie say the OPV is due for delivery in the coming weeks, writes Jehan Ashmore.

She is the second of a trio of OPV90 class newbuilds that were ordered from Babcock Marine in the UK that saw L.E. Samuel Beckett (P61) enter service last year.

The north Devon shipyard is working on addressing the technical issues of James Joyce following recent completion of sea trails, noting the first sea-trials took place last month. 

Previously it was understood that the newbuild was to make a delivery voyage to Cork Harbour last month.

James Joyce is a direct replacement of the former 'Aoife' which was decommissioned last January after a career spanning 35 years.

Published in Navy
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