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#Navy - The latest Irish Naval Service newbuild, LÉ George Bernard Shaw was floated-out for the first time from a UK shipyard, writes Jehan Ashmore.

LÉ George Bernard Shaw costing €67m, is the fourth of the offshore patrol vessel (OPV90 / 'Samuel Beckett') class sisters to be built by Babcock Marine & Technology shipyard in Appledore, north Devon. The shipyard group which has several facilities throughout the UK won the contract to build the vessel last year. 

The OPV was towed by the stern from the building hall in Bidna on the Torridge Estuary near Bideford. The operation which took place last Friday involved the 90 metre newbuild to be towed to the yard's fitting-out quay which was completed as daylight appeared.

Following sea trials the 2,256 tonnes LÉ George Bernard Shaw which will have a crew of 44, is due to be handed over to the INS later this summer.

The Naval Base on Haubowline Island in lower Cork Harbour is where LÉ George Bernard Shaw will join fleetmates, among them LÉ William Butler Yeats. This is the last sister completed by Babcock and Afloat has drone footage capturing the carefull berthing of the OPV at her homeport with the aid of a tug.

A pennant number of (P64) adorns the bows of the sleek looking LÉ George Bernard Shaw which was named in honour of the Irish playright at a keel-laying ceremony last year.

The newbuild follows sisters all named after fellow literary giants: the leadship LÉ Samuel Beckett delivered in 2014, LÉ James Joyce in 2015 and the last to enter service the aforementioned LÉ William Butler Yeats which was commissioned in 2016.

The new patrol vessel will have a comprehensive command, control and communications package along with a main weapon of a bow-mounted 76mm gun. At the time of the float-out this armament had yet to be fitted in addition the mainmast (lying on the fit-out quayside) had yet to be installed. 

As for speed the twin-screw OPV will reach 23 knots and a 6,000 miles range is based on a cruising speed of 15 knots. Accommodation for the 44 crew will also cater for an additional 10 trainee berths.

A suite of three rigid inflatable boats on board will serve a variety of tasks for the LÉ George Bernard Shaw which will be able to act as a mother ship.

When LÉ George Bernard Shaw is commissioned into service, the OPV will become the sixth OPV built ship for the current INS fleet. The introduction of the 'Playrights' is part of a vessel replacement /modernisation programme that has seen all of the ageing 'Emer' class OPV's disposed in recent years. 

The rest of the fleet comprises of a pair OPV80 class offshore patrol vessels, two coastal patrol vessels and a single helicopter patrol vessel.

Published in Navy

About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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