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Farewell LÉ Aisling: Former Naval Service OPV Departs Irish Waters for Final Time

24th April 2017
Farewell Aisling: The former Naval Service OPV passes off Cobh, Cork Harbour for the final time last night, Sunday under tow to the Netherlands. Farewell Aisling: The former Naval Service OPV passes off Cobh, Cork Harbour for the final time last night, Sunday under tow to the Netherlands.

#FarewellAisling! - The former LÉ Aisling which was sold at public auction this date last month departed Cork Harbour for the final time last night marking an end of an era, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 36 year old Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) was sold by auctioneer, Dominic Daly at public auction for €110,000 to Dick van der Kamp Shipsales B.V. They plan to refurbish the 65.2m ship renamed Avenhorn as previously reported on Afloat.

The refurbishment is to take place in the Netherlands to where she is bound while under tow of the tug Ocean Bank.  The pair having departed the basin of the Naval Base on Haulbowline Island opposite Cobh. 

On completion of these works, the Belize registered Avenhorn is to be re-sold by the Dutch shipbroker.

LÉ Aisling represented the sole surviving ‘Emer’ class that totalled three that were commissioned by the State for the Naval Service. In 1979 the OPV was completed by Verolme Cork Dockyard and she entered service the following year.

Notably, LÉ Aisling made history in the Naval Service as the first to be commanded by a female officer, Lieut Cdr Roberta O'Brien. This took place in 2008. Also significant is that O'Brien became the first woman to enter the ranks of the Naval Service. 

It was in Galway Docks in June 2016, that LÉ Aisling was officially decommissioned in a ceremony in the mid-west port to where strong links were made given the ship was twinned with the city.

Among the highlights of her career, LÉ Aisling intercepted and arrested the trawler Marita Ann for smuggling arms for the IRA in 1984.

The OPV in the following year was on the scene of the Air India disaster that took place 120 miles off the south west coast of Ireland. Several crew members were decorated for bravery, having entered shark-infested waters to recover victims of the bombing.

In addition to performing routine fishery patrols that involved 5,579 vessels and in the detention of 222 vessels for infringements in Irish waters.

 

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