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#NATOfrigate -  A Royal Canadian Navy ‘Halifax’ frigate is to call to Dublin Port next week and which has been deployed on Operation Reasurrance for a NATO Force.

HMCS Frederiction is to join the Standing NATO Maritime Forces fleet based in the Mediterranean Sea. This is part of NATO’s assurance measures, promoting security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe.

The ship will replace HMCS Winnipeg, which has been part of Standing NATO Maritime Forces since July 2015.

HMCS Fredericton will provide Canada the flexibility to execute a range of missions across a broad spectrum of operations in support of Allied efforts in the region, including surveillance and monitoring, regional defence, diplomatic engagement and capacity building.

Operation Reasurrance is HMCS Fredericton’s second deployment in support of NATO assurance measures. It was the first modernized frigate to deploy in support of Government of Canada objectives in 2014.

The Halifax-class modernization/frigate life extension (HCM/FELEX) is a $4.3 billion program to upgrade and enhance the Royal Canadian Navy’s existing fleet of frigates.

The project includes a new Combat Management System, a new radar capability, a new electronic warfare system upgrade, and upgraded communications and missiles, as well as a new Integrated Platform Management System.

Published in Navy

#Rescue&Recovery - OPV LÉ Róisín has carried out a search and rescue (SAR) that located 111 migrants from a long rubber vessel almost 40nm north-west off Tripoli, the Libyan capital. Unfortunately, two deceased female migrants were recovered as part of a request from the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

The Naval Service rescue commenced at 06.50am and all migrants were on board by 09.40am and have received food, water and medical treatment where required.

The LÉ Róisín proceeded towards the Port of Lampedusa for the transfer of migrants to the Italian authorities.

Not including this latest task, LÉ Róisín has rescued 782 people since the OPV was deployed on SAR operations on 11 May.

Published in Navy

#GovOrderOPV - Paul Kehoe, Junior Defence Minsiter has secured Government approval to purchase another OPV vessel for the Naval Service.

This ensures that the service will continue to have at least eight ships while at the same time replacing older vessels.

Mr Kehoe told the Irish Independent last night that the Government had agreed to provide €54.3m ( €66.8m after VAT) the purchase an additional ship after reaching a contract agreement with Babcock International to build it at their headquarters in Appledore, Devon.

He said: "This is a major benefit to the State and will be a further significant enhancement of defence capability. "The acquisition of a fourth sister ship of the same class as those recently commissioned will secure crewing, training, logistical and maintenance advantages", he added.

The new ship will be delivered within two years and its purchase is in line with the maritime capability requirements set out in the government white paper on defence last year.

For more The Independent has a report here.

Published in Navy

#RescueTransfer - LÉ Róisín has transferred a total of 375* migrants on Thursday to the Sicilian east coast port of Catania, following a request from the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-Ordniation Centre. 

This follows the completion of a rescue the previous day also by LÉ Róisín of 139* migrants and the transfer of a further 236* from an NGO ship, the Aquarius.

Once all migrants were on-board the LÉ Róisín they were given food, water and medical treatment.

The Naval Service OPV ship had arrived at Catania yesterday morning where the the migrants were disembarked by 1.00pm and are now being administered by the Italian authorities.

Since the naval vessel was deployed from Ireland, to begin search and rescue (SAR) duties that began two months ago (tomorrow) so far a total of 782* people have been rescued and 683 transferred.  

The LÉ Róisín has since departed Sicilly for Valletta for refueling and resupply, while awaiting further operations.

 

 

Published in Navy

#ThirdRescue - Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe at the weekend praised the crew of LÉ Róisín under the command of her captain, Lieutenant Commander Ultan Finegan, for their continued role in assisting with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

The Minister confirmed that LÉ Róisín has completed three operations on Saturday. One of the operations involved the rescue of 123 migrants from a 12m long rubber vessel craft 28 nautical miles Northwest of Tripoli. Unfortunately during the course of the rescue one deceased male migrant was also recovered from the rubber vessel craft. The other two operations involved the transfer of 101 migrants from an Italian ship and 123 migrants from a German ship to the Irish Naval Vessel.

The Minister stated "I am deeply saddened by this loss of life and I want to thank the crew of LÉ Róisín for their ongoing contribution and assistance to those in distress in the Mediterranean."

The Minister went on to say that "our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased male, the survivors and the rescuers involved in today’s operations. I would like to thank the crew of LÉ Róisín for their work in the Mediterranean and to wish them continued success in their endeavours".

The rescue today brings to 642 the number of migrants rescued by LÉ Róisín since it commenced operations on 12 May 2016.

Published in Navy

#SecondSAR - LÉ Róisín successfully searched and rescued (SAR) yesterday 274* migrants from a 18m long wooden vessel craft 39 nautical miles north-west of Tripoli, Libya. The rescue was at the request of the Italian Maritime Co-Oridnation Centre. 

Immediately following the first rescue the LÉ Róisín was re-tasked to assist with a further rescue operation of 121* migrants 29 nautical miles north north-west of Tripoli from a 12m long rubber craft.

The rescue commenced at 12.24 pm and all migrants were on board by 2.56pm and are now receiving food, water and medical treatment where required.

Both taskings have now been completed and LÉ Róisín currently has 394 migrants on-board including 78 female.

LÉ Róisín is now transferring the migrants to the port of Catania where they will be administered by the Italian authorities.

*Figures for the operation are provisional until confirmed by the Italian authorities.

The LÉ Róisín departed Naval Service Headquarters in Haulbowline, Cork to assist the Italian Authorities in the humanitarian SAR operations in the Mediterranean. The first such operation began on 11th of May.

Published in Navy

Why has no politician of any hue, Government or Opposition, of any party or of the Independents, raised concern in the Dáil about the strategic implications for the State of the threat to a fully operational Naval Service and its joint operations with the Air Corps? Scroll down to listen to the podcast below.

Why has no one questioned the Taoiseach who, in the formation of the new Government, took to his own responsibility the Department of Defence, about these issues? The Department has stated, clearly and unambiguously, in public that Naval and Air Corps joint operations, including those directed towards marine counter-terrorism, replenishment of Naval vessels at sea and other operations, are under threat.

The Haulbowline Naval Base is “an important strategic location for the Irish Defence Forces..”
“It is the only Naval Service base in Ireland..” The threat to it “cannot be an acceptable situation for the necessary functioning of a fully operational Naval Base.”

Those are not my opinions. They are those of the Department of Defence.

And yet, they do not seem to worry the members of our National Parliament.

Not a mention in the Dáil, the assembly of the duly-elected representative of the people, no concern expressed about the “strategic implications” for the country’s Navy and Air Corps.

Either the politicians have no interest in the defence of the nation or they care little about the maritime defence force and its joint operations with the Air Corps.

I live in Cork Harbour and when I look out my kitchen window I see three wind turbines powering chemical factories close by and I can see the operations of several of these plants every day from my home, so I am well used to the heavy industrialisation of the harbour. However, this is an issue of the operations of the Navy and Air Corps, identified by the Department of Defence as having "strategic implications for the State" and which, as the Department has said, makes it a nationalo, not a local issue.

This week on THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme which you should listen to here, the Managing Director of the commercial company which is posing those identified threats to the Naval Service and Air Corps, tells me that the Services should “compromise” with the operations of his company, which will co-operate with them.

In my long years of journalism, half-a-century at this stage, I have never before heard any company suggest that the nation’s defence forces should have to compromise with a commercial operation, which is not a benign, beneficent public service but an international operation with a profit motive. I had presumed that the Defence Forces are vital to the structure of a democratic nation and should be considered above such pressure from commercial interests.

John Ahern, Managing Director of Indaver Ireland, whose incinerator proposed for Ringaskiddy, close to the Naval Base, has been described by the Department of Defence as posing those unacceptable strategic implications for the Navy and Air Corps, agreed to be interviewed by me on this specific issue. He had extended the invitation to interview him. In the course of it he expressed respect for the Navy, but told me that the State, in regard to his company’s proposals, had two tasks – management of waste and operation of the Naval Service. I expressed surprise that he equated the two and reminded him that, during an accident causing explosion and fire at the Indaver plant at Antwerp Port earlier this year, all those in the vicinity were told to “stay indoors.” Was he suggesting that the Navy would have to “stay indoors” in the event of an accident at his plant? There is only one road servicing the Naval Base on Haulbowline, which the proposed incinerator would be built alongside. He accepted that there is no guarantee against accidents, even though his company theoretically maintains that there would be none which would impact on the Navy and he indicated that it would be a matter for the Naval Service to decide its response if there was an accident. He said his company had suggested an alternative escape route through nearby premises of the National Maritime College/IMERC, though he also said that people in that area, just across the road from the proposed incinerator site, might have to be told to “stay indoors” in the event of an accident.
We did not agree, as I believe that the Naval Service should be of priority importance to the nation and its operations should not be subject to any threat from commercial interests and that there should be no strategic implications for it and the Air Corps, which has said that incinerator operations will cause a ‘no fly zone’ to be imposed over the Naval Base.
I was overly concerned with Naval Service operations, in his view.
I do not agree.
Mr. Ahern appeared confident of gaining approval from Bord Pleanala, the national planning board, to proceed with the incinerator construction after a public hearing which has concluded and a decision is awaited.
Can it be that this Board, unaccountable to anyone, now has the power to decide on future Naval Service and Air Corps operations?
Can this be acceptable in an independent nation, that a planning board and not the Government, should have the power to decide on the future operations of Defence Forces?
Also on the programme, the President of the Nautical Institute, the world representative organisation for professional seafarers, says that Ireland needs a strong maritime voice. I agree with this view expressed by Captain Robert McCabe
Regrettably, it seems that a strong voice of concern about the “strategic implications” for the “fully operational” maritime defence force, the Naval Service and it Air Corps operational partners, is not present in Dáil Eireann.

Listen to the podcast below.

Published in Island Nation

#FirstRescue - The crew of LÉ Róisín under the command of her captain, Lieutenant Commander Ultan Finegan, were praised by Minister of State for Defence, Mr Paul Kehoe, T.D.in assisting with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

The Minister commenting yesterday stated that "the Naval Service completed their 1st successful rescue mission this morning with the rescue of 125 migrants approximately 40 nautical miles North East of Tripoli. The 125 migrants comprising 107 men and 18 women were retrieved from an inflatable craft earlier today. “

The Minister went on to say that " the Government have approved the return of the Naval Service to the Mediterranean to assist the Italian authorities in tackling this very difficult humanitarian crisis. I would like to thank the crew of LE Róisín for their outstanding work in the Mediterranean today and to wish them continued success in their endeavours".

The operation demonstrates clearly the value of our participation in this important humanitarian response.

Published in Navy

#Roisin2Med - Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Conveney, T.D., announced today that L.É. Róisín will depart the Naval Base, Haulbowline on Sunday, 1st May 2016, to assist the Italian authorities in the search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean.

Earlier this month the Government approved the despatch of an Irish Naval vessel to the Mediterranean. Following the Government Decision the Minister commented “The humanitarian crisis arising in the Mediterranean as a result of the Migrant crisis continues to be of great concern to Ireland and to our EU partners”.

L.É. Róisín will be despatched with a crew comprising some sixty (60) personnel of the Permanent Defence Force under the command of her captain, Lieutenant Commander Ultan Finegan. The Government anticipate that the Naval Service will be deployed in the Mediterranean until mid-July, dependent on the operational demands and requirements arising, and may then be followed by further deployments.

The Minister went on to say “I believe that we should continue to support Italy in a practical manner as far as possible and the Italian authorities have indicated that ongoing support is welcome”.
The Minister added “L.É. Róisín is ready to continue the remarkable work carried out by L.É. Eithne, L.É. Niamh and L.É. Samuel Beckett in 2015. During the course of their deployments a total of 8,592 migrants were rescued.”

Published in Navy

#OPVtoMed - Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney through the approval of the Government is to despatch the Naval Service OPV L.É. Róisín to the Mediterranean.

The OPV with a crew of approximately sixty personnel of the Permanent Defence Force are to undertake humanitarian search and rescue tasks in the region, subject to finalisation of operational arrangements.

Following the Government Decision the Minister commented “The humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean continues to be of great concern to Ireland and to our EU partners. I am anxious that we would resume support to Italy in the search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean”.

The Minister went on to say that “Subject to finalisation of operational arrangements, a Naval Vessel will be despatched to the Mediterranean within the next month.”

The proposed deployment will involve naval vessel rotation. Subject to the operational demands and requirements of the mission, it is intended that there will be two rotations (i.e. 3 Naval Service vessels deployed) with each deployment lasting approximately 12 weeks. 

The Minister went on to say “The despatch of an Irish naval vessel represents a tangible and valuable Irish national contribution to assisting with the continuing migration crisis in the Mediterranean.”

Published in Navy
Page 7 of 23

Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's 4th Blue Light service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

Introduction

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions around 2000 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues and 200 times to carry out aeromedical HEMS missions on behalf of the HSE), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 1000 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 950 times
  • evacuate medical patients off our Islands to hospital on 100 occasions
  • assist other nations' Coast Guards about 200 times
  • make around 6,000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users
  • carry out a safety on the water campaign that targets primary schools and leisure craft users, including at sea and beach patrols
  • investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

List of Coast Guard Units in Ireland

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin
  • Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

The roles of the Irish Coast Guard

The main roles of the Irish Coast Guard are to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction.

Each year the Irish Coast Guard co-ordinates the response to thousands of incidents at sea and on the cliffs and beaches of Ireland. It does this through its Marine Rescue Centres which are currently based in:

  • Dublin
  • Malin Head (Co Donegal)
  • Valentia Island (Co Kerry).

Each centre is responsible for search and rescue operations.

The Dublin National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) provides marine search and rescue response services and co-ordinates the response to marine casualty incidents within the Irish Pollution Responsibility Zone/EEZ.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia and MRSC Malin Head are 24/7 centres co-ordinating search and rescue response in their areas of responsibility.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Ballycotton and Clifden.

MRSC Malin Head is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle.

MRCC Dublin is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Carlingford Lough and Ballycotton.

Each MRCC/MRSC broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and, in some cases, MF radio in accordance with published schedules.

Maritime safety information that is broadcast by the three Marine Rescue Sub-centres includes:

  • navigational warnings as issued by the UK Hydrographic Office
  • gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings as issued by the Irish Meteorological Office.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

The Coast Guard can contract specialised aerial surveillance or dispersant spraying aircraft at short notice internationally.

Helicopter tasks include:

  • the location of marine and aviation incident survivors by homing onto aviation and marine radio distress transmissions, by guidance from other agencies, and by visual, electronic and electro-optical search
  • the evacuation of survivors from the sea, and medical evacuees from all manner of vessels including high-sided passenger and cargo vessels and from the islands
  • the evacuation of personnel from ships facing potential disaster
  • search and or rescue in mountainous areas, caves, rivers, lakes and waterways
  • the transport of offshore fire-fighters (MFRTs) or ambulance teams (MARTs) and their equipment following a request for assistance
  • the provision of safety cover for other search and rescue units including other Marine Emergency Service helicopters
  • pollution, casualty and salvage inspections and surveillance and the transport of associated personnel and equipment
  • inter-agency training in all relevant aspects of the primary role
  • onshore emergency medical service, including evacuation and air ambulance tasks
  • relief of the islands and of areas suffering from flooding or deep snow

The secondary roles of the helicopter are:

  • the exercise of the primary search, rescue and evacuation roles in adjacent search and rescue regions
  • assistance to onshore emergency services, such as in the evacuation of high-rise buildings
  • public safety awareness displays and demonstrations
  • providing helicopter expertise for seminars and training courses

The Irish Coast Guard provides aeronautical assets for search and rescue in the mountains of Ireland. Requests for Irish Coast Guard assets are made to the Marine Rescue Centres.

Requests are accepted from An Garda Síochána and nominated persons in Mountain Rescue Teams.

Information courtesy of Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (July 2019)

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