Displaying items by tag: naval service
Standing to attention in gale force winds on Haulbowline Pier, this wasn't some cheap TV reality series designed to make us all feel fat.
There were no camera-friendly emotional breakdowns or interesting back stories.
No, these are the elite seamen vying for a coveted place on the Naval Services Diving Section.
What awaits those who succeed is not fame and fortune. Instead they will be expected to leave important family events at a moment's notice to recover bodies or tackle dangerous underwater bombs.
Each year around 50 people apply and roughly 15 of these are selected for the gruelling 11-week course.
For much more on this story, click HERE.
,#FinalPatrol - L.É. Aoife (P22) the oldest Naval Service vessel is currently on her final patrol before she bows out of her career, which is expected to end within the final week of January, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Afloat.ie has contacted the Department of Defence which at this stage cannot confirm details of her official decommissioning. A Naval Service source, however, suggests that she may be decommissioned ceremonially also later this month, in Waterford, her adopted homeport.
Following that, a timeframe for the OPV’s disposal by public auction (if not previously sold) is understood to be held in either late February or early March, though this remains to be confirmed.
The OPV built at Verolme Cork Dockyard is the second of a trio of 'Emer' class sisters. They were an improved version of the original ‘Deirdre’ class launched in 1972 and also completed by the same shipyard.
As for the removal of her armaments, the Department of Defence said these matters are being considered as part of the decommissioning process.
Viewings of the L.É. Aoife, can be made strictly by appointment only, to contact Dominic J. Daly call on 087 2550486 and for further developments, click the auctioneer's website, HERE.
Directly replacing the veteran vessel is the OPV90 class newbuild, L.É. James Joyce, which as previously reported is the second of the trio of ‘Beckett’ class ordered from Babcock Marine.
She was floated-out last November at their shipyard facility in Appledore, north Devon.
#NavalBoardings – More than 900 boarding's have been carried by the Naval Service so far in 2014.
In addition this year saw a total of 10 detentions for alleged infringements of fishing regulations during the 940 patrol days conducted by the fleet of eight vessels. Joining the fleet was newbuild OPV L.E. Samuel Beckett (P61) which entered service in May.
Infringements recorded during inspections on board a total of 31 fishing vessels ranged from incorrect boarding equipment to under recording of catch. These fishery infringements resulted in points being awarded against each vessel.
Such searches and detentions of vessels take place in a sea area that requires the Naval Service to patrols 1 million km2 of sea. The massive patrol zone equate to over twelve times the land mass of Ireland, representing 15% of Europe's fisheries.
Asides Irish and neighbouring UK fishing vessels boarded and inspected by the Naval Service, the following list of countries have also been with vessels from Belgium, Netherlands, France, Spain, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Lithuania, Faroe Islands, Portugal. Also fishing vessels from as far as Mauritania in west Africa are part of this international fleet.
As part of fishery duties the Naval Service operates the National Fisheries Monitoring Centre and strives hand in hand with the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency.
Combined these agencies are to safeguard and manage our rich fisheries for current and future generations' sustainable exploitation.
The Naval Service with the Air Corps assist the Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) in Base Lines Project to map Ireland's sovereign claim to the seas around our island for generations to come.
The contract includes OSI's ECPINS-W (Warship) software and under the terms of the deal OSI will provide engineering services, ship systems, operator training systems, and installation services.
In addition the company will install the systems throughout the entire Naval Service fleet.
According to the contractor, ECPINS-W is the only software certified by an International Association of Classification Societies approved body against the NATO WECDIS STANAG 4564.
#AoifeAuction – L.E. Aoife (P22) the Naval Service's oldest OPV unit has finally been given a timeframe for its disposal by public auction (if not previously sold) in February 2015, writes Jehan Ashmore.
According to Cork based auctioneers, Dominic J. Daly, they have been instructed by the Department of Defence to dispose of the offshore patrol vessel which entered service in November 1979. She was built at Verolme Cork Dockyard as the second of a trio of 'Emer' class sisters.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the OPV was originally scheduled to be disposed of last October, a year after the sale by auction of L.E. Emer to Nigerian interests.
The delay on disposal as previously reported on Afloat.ie hinged on the progress in constructing her replacement the newbuild OPV 90 class James Joyce which in recent days was floated-out at Babcock Marine's shipyard in Devon.
Viewings of the L.E. Aoife can be made strictly by appointment only by contacting the auctioneer on 087 2550486 and for more info click HERE.
The newbuild OPV90 class James Joyce is expected to be delivered to the Naval Service in early 2015.
#AoifeAuctionUpdate – L.É. Emer (P21) which was sold at public auction this day last year to Nigerian interests for €320,000, was to be followed 12 months later with the disposal of sister L.É. Aoife (P22) however this has been postponed, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Commenting to Afloat.ie as to the decision to defer the auction date this autumn, the Naval Service said that they are planning for the decommissioning process of L.É. Aoife. However, no firm date has been set for this event which will be dependent on progress made on the build of the L.É. James Joyce. It is the responsibility of the Department of Defence reference the sale of L.É. Aoife thereafter.
In the meantime L.É. Aoife, the second of the trio of 'Emer' class OPV's is undergoing dry-docking at Cork Dockyard Ltd. The shiprepair site at Rushbrooke was the former Verolme Cork Dockyard which completed the 1,019 tonnes displacement vessel for the Naval Service. She was commissioned 35 years ago when she joined the naval fleet on the 29 November 1979.
The auction of L.É. Aoife is part of a programme to replace the ageing series. Her successor L.É. James Joyce is the second of three OPV90 or so called 'Beckett' class on order from Babcock Marine in the UK.
When L.É. Aoife is eventually sold this will leave L.É. Aisling (P23) as the final unit to be disposed. She will be replaced by a third newbuild again costing €54m and due for delivery in 2016.
#navy – Ten new recruits to the Naval Service Reserve completed their training in a ceremony in the Naval Base on Haulbowline yesterday. The 10 recruits, 9 from Cork and 1 from Dublin endured 3 weeks of intense training where they covered a range of subjects such as foot and arms drill, marksmanship, sea survival, fire-fighting, military law and an introduction to military customs, traditions and way of life.
This is a milestone as it marks the first integrated Naval Service Reserve recruit class since the inception of the Single Force Concept which is a key element of the 2012 Defence Forces Reorganisation. The training was shared between members Naval College and the Naval Service Reserve. The Naval Service Reserve will soon be seeking a total of 25 potential recruits in its Cork (2), Dublin (5), Limerick (8) and Waterford (10) units.
The role of the NSR is to augment Naval Service seagoing strength through provision of trained personnel whilst at unit level providing the capability for an armed Naval Element afloat with local shore support and expert local maritime knowledge and intelligence in support of PDF Operations at and from the sea in the main trading ports in support of maintenance of National Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC).
The Naval Service is an integral part of Óglaigh na hÉireann / Defence Forces and operates jointly with the Army and Air Corps. The Naval Service protects Ireland's interests at and from the sea. Currently, the Naval Service is tasked with a broad range of maritime defence, security and other roles. Routine patrols are multi-tasked to encompass national and maritime security, ocean governance, fishery protection, safety and surveillance, port security, drug interdiction, pollution control and search and rescue.
The Service also supports Army operations in the littoral and by sea lift. It provides support on Aid to the Civil Power and Aid to the Civil Authority operations, including inter alia maritime security cordons, and possesses the primary diving team in the State. The Fisheries Monitoring Centre ( FMC) at the Naval Base is the designated national centre with responsibility for monitoring all fishing activity within the Irish Exclusive Fishery Limits and all Irish fishing vessels operating around the world. In addition, Naval Service Vessels have undertaken supply and reconnaissance missions to overseas peace support operations and participated in foreign visits in support of Irish Trade and Diplomacy.
#OPVconference- L.E. Samuel Beckett (P61) is appropriately docked in Dublin Port, having arrived last night on the eve of today's start of the International Offshore Patrol Vessels Conference (30 Sept-2 Oct) held in the capital, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The €54m OPV90 class newbuild of 2,226 tonnes is berthed alongside Sir John Rogersons Quay, where a ceremony as previously reported saw her christened and commissioned into the Naval Service in May.
As the class name suggests, the OPV is 90 metres in length, which is 10 metres longer than her predecessor, L.E. Niamh (P52) the second of a pair of 'Roisin' class built for the Naval Service 12 years ago in Appledore, north Devon by Appledore Shipbuilders. The yard is now owned by Babcock Marine & Technology, one of several such facilities in the UK which forms part of Babcock International.
L.E. Samuel Beckett has a crew of 44 though this can be extended to accommodate ten more for cadet trainees. As for her main weapon, this is a OTO Melera 76mm compact gun mounted on the bow, two 20mm Rheinmetall cannon guns located on either side of the funnel casing and elsewhere four smaller machine guns. Engine power is from a pair of 6 cylinder Wartsila diesel motors driving twin shafts that propel a top speed of 23 knots.
Her presence along the Liffey's city centre quays represents the latest in OPV design. From next year she is to feature (UAV) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for surveillenace purposes as required for the role of the naval branch of the Irish Defence Forces which is in association partnering the major three-day OPV conference.
Among the speakers from the more than 20 nations representing OPV industry stakeholders, navies and shipyards is Andrew Hamilton, head of Babcock International. The same north Devon yard that built L.E. Samuel Beckett, is where her sister L.E. James Joyce is currently under construction as part of an original order for the pair. She is due for completion in the first quarter of 2015.
Last June, the Department of Defence took up the option of ordering a third OPV90 or 'Beckett' class sister from the yard for the fixed price of €54m based on 2012 prices. The yet to be revealed name given for the final member of the class is due for delivery in 2016.
#OPVconference- A major three day conference on the Offshore Patrol Vessels industry will be held in Dublin starting tomorrow.
Among the delegates speakers of the International Offshore Patrol Vessels Conference (30 Sept-2 Oct) now in its 9th year will be Rear Admiral Mark Mellett of the Irish Defence Forces who also are hosting the event as associate partners.
The conference which takes place in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, will enable opportunities for face-to-face meetings to discuss cost-effective solutions for offshore asset protection and enhanced maritime security with military, OPV shipbuilders and industry stakeholders from the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
The new Samuel Beckett-class OPV as previously featured on Afloat.ie is also discussed by Mellett in Defence IQ (click here for podcast, available through registration).
The Rear Admiral also discusses the construction of the vessel with an eye towards climate change, cost-efficiency in a complex maritime environment, meeting emerging threats, and reveals his key to working effectively with industry partners and shipyards.
On a related note, Babcock Marine & Technology the shipyard which built L.E. Samuel Beckett (and a pair of sisters on order), will be represented at the conference by speaker delegate Andrew Hamilton of Babcock International.
Also attending the conference will be Flag Officer Commanding Commodore Hugh Tully of the Naval Service.
For more details on the conference: www.offshorepatrolvessels.com/Default.aspx
#islandnation – The sea moulds the Irish coastline, it lubricates the nation's economy, its exploration is a resource for scientific investigation, it provides adventure and leisure.
The sea which surrounds us also has the potential to be a cradle for national resources, with the power to feed and provide energy.
A national strategy, "Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth," was launched in 2012, intended to position Ireland to gain advantages from the global marine market, particularly for seafood, tourism oil and gas, ocean energy, to a predicted value of €1.2 billion. The Naval Service has got a new ship, another is under construction. There is a National Maritime College and the Beaufort Centre of IMERC, the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster, on the College Campus will "promote Ireland as a world-renowned research and development location, that will unlock Ireland's maritime and energy potential," according to its own description. These are some of the positive developments.
So has the Government overcome the "sea blindness" which has pervaded national policy for many previous years?
Benjamin Franklin wrote of a "little neglect" creating greater problems and, though his remarks were aimed at other than maritime affairs, they are apposite to quote in relation to marine matters.
Why is it that an island nation does not have a dedicated maritime department of government and that aspects of the marine sphere are spread around so many departments that the high level which marine affairs should be at has been so diffused? This, despite pre-election promises by Coalition parties, that maritime affairs would have the highest priority and all of them would be brought under one Department.
That would seem to indicate that pre-election promises are just political guff by those who "say anything, comment on anything," to get into power and stay there!
Over 95 per cent of all exports and imports to this island are moved by sea and every import and export has to cross the sea, even the small percentage carried by air. Nothing can enter or exit the country without crossing over the sea.
So why is the marine sphere not a primary focus of national policy?
The power to feed from the sea was given away by failures at the highest levels of political and civil service to realise how important the fishing industry should be to the future of the nation, when the vast wealth and resources of Ireland's waters in fishing were conceded to the power of the European Union.
Two natural gas finds, at Kinsale Head and the Corrib, have not and do not show signs of, producing wealth for the Irish people. From Kinsale, Ireland did get supplies of natural gas and a supply network, but the nation - the people of Ireland - paid for it while profits from the finds went to the exploration companies. The same looks like happening in the Corrib. The Government does appear to have changed its attitude, with new requirements announced for any future offshore discoveries of oil or gas, but it has come somewhat late to acceptance of the depth and breadth of Irish marine resources.
Raising public awareness about the maritime sphere in Ireland is crucial. This is relative to all aspects of the marine sphere from commercial, industrial, employment potential to leisure.
"Sea blindness" has pervaded political life for many years.
But it was not evident amongst early leaders of the nation. Arthur Griffith argued for a strong fishing industry and emphasised how vital it and the marine sphere would be to Ireland in the future. The Government during World War Two, realised the accuracy of that summation when, isolated despite being a neutral nation, it had to establish a national shipping company to supply vital needs. The liquidation of that company, the abandonment of seafarers, the disaster visited upon the fishing industry and coastal communities by the failures to realise its importance, neglect of ports and safety policy for many years were and in some cases remain as indicators of State neglect.
The fine weather has underlined the importance of the sea, as people went to the seaside; the problems of pollutants from landward into the sea and rivers has caused difficulties and perhaps given people some increased appreciation of the importance of the sea and protecting it.
Public awareness of the sea is crucial, to pressurise politicians, a group which, in the main, has failed to contribute positively in this regard. National media coverage of maritime affairs is abysmal, apart from tragedies and controversies.
There are Irish politicians who should be ashamed of themselves for their attitude to the marine sphere in past years. I cannot forget doing an interview with one of them, who came from a family with a long political heritage and who had just been appointed Minister for the Marine and who told me, as he thought in avuncular fashion and that it was a joke: "I'm the Minister for fish and ships, but we have to suffer a bit in political life to get on." When I asked if he would repeat that comment on the record, he got rather nasty and didn't like when I said that I respected seafarers and fishermen, but doubted his attitude, from what he had said about his department which seemed, to me like disrespect of the importance of maritime matters.
"Well, it's not the highest appointment I could have got," was the huffy reply.
I have attempted to make the case for an Irish Maritime Foundation, which would be founded to raise awareness of marine matters, encompassing all strands of interest, which would be a maritime platform, with public, private and State involvement.
Ireland's maritime resources, our maritime heritage, the island nation in which we live, deserve this.
There should be a dedicated Department of the Marine, encompassing all aspects of the marine sphere and the Minister of that Department should be regarded as a major posting in Government.
That would recognise that Ireland is "an island nation."
The public have a role as the guardians of Ireland's marine resources.
I wrote a few weeks ago about my interview with David Lovegrove, President of the Irish Sailing Association and the review of sailing and if the association which he is leading. He impressed me with his fresh, innovative thinking and determination. Sailing also needs higher public awareness.
I was in Carrigaline Library in County Cork when a man approached and told me how he very much wanted his son to go on an ISA Training Course, but he could not afford the club membership which would be necessary before his son wold be accepted and that, coupled with the cost of the course itself and, perhaps, a boat to use, it was all beyond his resources. His young lad, of 11, was with him. He had been at a football summer camp, which cost €80.00 and his father wondered why sailing clubs did not provide something similar and not just the courses which he considered expensive.
I did explain about courses at sailing schools and about the costs which clubs had to meet to run courses, but his experience does make a point. Is there any prospect of a 'summer camp" approach without high costs, for those who would like to be involved, but can't afford formal training courses in these present times?
A related point is for those who would like to crew on boats, but cannot afford club memberships and probably would not use a club facilities for other than on one night's racing a week.
These are aspects which could be looked at to address declining numbers.
As this man said to me: "You say that sailing is a sport for all, but I don't see that."
Affordability is an issue because other sports are cheaper to become involved in.
I hope that this will be addressed when the result of David Lovegrove's work is revealed later this summer. I gather that also discussed by the ISA board have been how sailing can be given a 'community involvement' aspect, preserving the 'lifelong sport' approach which, in my view, should be a major attractive point and sailing's unique capacity for family involvement; how to relate cruising and racing, the fragmentation of the sport into so many classes of boats; and how to relate club and local sailing with high performance.
There are a lot of issues, another of which of course is the media attitude towards the sport. It remains noticeable how little regular, concentrated attention, it is given by the national media.
FIRST WORLD ANGLING MEDAL FOR IRELAND
It is good to see another Irish marine success, a historic achievement for Irish coarse anglers. 125 anglers from 25 countries were in Coachford, County Cork, for the World Feeder Fishing Championships. Going into the competition the English team was the favourite. They had visited the venue a number of times in advance of the competition as part of their preparations! "The Irish finish was especially satisfying," Paul Bourke of Inland Fisheries Ireland told me, "as it is the first team medal in a world championships." Congratulations go to Francis McGoldrick, Richard Pratt, Tony Kersley, Paul Leese, Nigel Houldsworth, Ken Ince, Brenton Sweeney– Captain and Roger Baker– 2nd Captain.
Though I am more involved in being "on the water" rather than in it and prefer things that way, I appreciate the under-the-surface beauty of Irish waters and the sport of diving, amongst the fraternity of which I have many contacts. The deaths of six recreational underwater divers since June have been of deep concern. It is not an emerging trend of fatalities in the sport, according to the Irish Underwater Council which has urged diving enthusiasts to ensure that they are medically fit to dive and that their equipment is serviced at regular times and is in good working condition.
MARVELLING AT THE OPPIES
I remember one night at the RCYC when there was a discussion about whether it was a night to go sailing as the rain fell and it seemed the wind would be increasing.
I looked out from the clubhouse and there was the Optimist fleet, with the young sailors putting out for their racing/training. That ended the discussion and off we went! There are times when I look with appreciation and some awe at what conditions the Oppies can handle. Sometimes I wonder if they are being exposed to too much, as I did in the cold and wet at Baltimore in West Cork earlier this year in what seemed like mid-Winter days when there were Oppies from, it seemed, all over the country for a training session. But the Oppies seem to manage it all.
There is just over a week to go until the closing date for entry to the Optimist National Championships at the RCYC. Doug Howlett will officially open the CH Marine-sponsored event which will start on Thursday, August 14. Details on www.oppienationals.com or by emailing [email protected]
GREENPEACE FOLLOWING COSTA
Greenpeace has been following the towing of the Costa Concordia from Giglio to Genoa, because of its passage through what it has described as "one of Europe's largest marine sanctuaries."
"We're particularly concerned about impacts on the Pelagos sanctuary, which protects whales and other marine life in the area," said Greenpeace.
The Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals is a protected area of 87,500 square kilometres in the north-western Mediterranean covering much of the towage course. The decision to tow the Costa Concordia to Genoa was approved by the Italian Government prior to the start of the re-floating operation and was based on that port's ability to perform the demolition work.
NEXT THIS ISLAND NATION RADIO PROGRAMME HERE ON AFLOAT: August 7.