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#[email protected] – Representing the Naval Service at the 1916 Easter Rising centenary parade held in Dublin were personnel from the navy and a related fishery patrol aircraft, writes Jehan Ashmore.

In a rare Air Corps Fleet Fly Past display totalling 17 aircraft, this included the largest aircraft, a Casa CN 325 Maritime Fisheries Patrol craft.

The fly-over of the capital’s main thoroughfare of O’Connell Street, is where the General Post Office (the G.P.O.) in 1916 formed the headquarters of the rising and was too the focal point of Easter Sunday's historic State centenary commemoration.

The blue painted Casa aircraft, in which there are two, works in close conjunction with the Naval Service to provide an aerial platform for patrolling the Irish Economic Zone. The area of this zone is approximately 132,000 square miles or 16% of the total EU sea fisheries.

Also in the capital over the Easter weekend were docked the Naval Service coastal patrol vessel, CPV LÉ Ciara along with the larger offshore patrol vessel, OPV LÉ Samuel Beckett. Both vessels had arrived on the Good Friday and were opened to the public to visit.

The pair were berthed at Sir John Rogersons Quay, where almost a hundred years this stretch of the Liffey water saw HMY Helga shell key rebel positions during the rising. The Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) Harbour based vessel that was dispatched to Dublin, would later became the Irish Free State’s fishery research vessel Muirchu and also a career in the fledging navy as the LÉ Muirchu.

Easter Sunday’s parade involved more than 3,700 personnel from the Defence Forces including the Army and Emergency Services and respectively involving 78 vehicles. Among those marching were military bands and colourful flag parties. On that note lifeboat crew members representing stations nationwide of the RNLI were accompanied by a trailer-towed new Atlantic 85 lifeboat.

Returning to vessels on the water, it was the LÉ Ciara that was first to return to patrol duties following the conclusion of the parade.

The leadship of the current batch of ‘Beckett’ OPV90 class vessels along with LÉ James Joyce is to be joined by a third and final sister, LÉ William Butler Yeats which was floated-out of a UK shipyard hall before St. Patrick’s Day. At that stage the OPV was without a mainmast which can be seen (see photo) at the fitting-out quay of Babcock Marine & Technology located in Appledore, north Devon.

Published in Navy

#PresidentTribute - Naval Service members were paid tribute by President Michael D Higgins for rescuing migrants trying to get to Europe by crossing the Mediterranean, writes The Irish Times.

About 200 members of the Naval Service, and others from the Defence Forces, were invited to a special St Patrick’s Day reception at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Personnel that crewed the LÉ Eithne, LÉ Niamh and LÉ Samuel Beckett, and who took in excess of 8,000 migrants from waters attended. For more click here.

Two of the naval vessels, Afloat adds, OPV's LÉ Niamh and LÉ Samuel Beckett berthed in Dublin yesterday along the Liffey quays. Also berthed in close proximity the French Navy OPV Flamant which in on a visit to the capital for the festivities. 

Published in Navy

#ThirdOPV90 - According to NavalTechnology.com, the Naval Service has reportedly floated out the third and final OPV90 / Samuel Beckett-class newbuild LÉ William Butler Yeats (P63).

A total of two Samuel Beckett-class OPVs were ordered by Ireland's Department of Defence under a £81m contract from Babcock Marine in October 2010, with the option of a third vessel.

In June 2014, the department exercised the option under the original contract to place an order for the third OPV, which was scheduled for delivery in the middle of this year.

Float out of L.É. William Butler Yeats time lapse video

Float out of L.É. William Butler Yeats time lapse video

Posted by Irish Naval Service on Friday, 11 March 2016

Designed by Vard Marine, the OPVs replace three earlier vessels, the 'Deirdre' Class LE Emer, LE Aoife and LE Aisling, which were commissioned with the Irish Naval Service between 1978 and 1984. To read more click here.

Afloat adds the second 'Beckett' class OPV90 LE James Joyce (P62) was last year commissioned into service and named in a joint ceremony held in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Published in Navy

#RoisinRefugees - The Naval Service confirmed that LÉ Róisín is to be deployed to the Mediterranean Sea at the end of this month to resume humanitarian missions, writes The Irish Examiner.

A Naval Service spokesman said that plans had been drawn up some months ago to dispatch the vessel.

Earlier this week at a meeting in Brussels, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told other EU leaders Ireland would resume humanitarian aid operations through the naval service supporting Italian navy rescue ships.

The 258 ft-long ship will be captained by Lieutenant Commander Ultan Finegan and carry a crew of 57, including several specialist units.

The normal complement for the ship for routine off-shore patrols is 44 but additional personnel, such as diving teams and medics, will be dispatched on the proposed mission. For more on the story,click here.

Published in Navy

#1916women - Female sailors,soldiers, and airwomen of the Defence Forces took part in the International Women's Day event yesterday in Royal Hospital Kilmainham. The event  included a 30 woman, tri-service Captain's Guard Of Honour led by Captain Danielle Murphy, to commemorate the role of women in the events of the 1916 Rising.

Lieutenant Colonel Mary Carroll, Officer Commanding An Chéad Cathlán Choisithe (1st Infantry Battalion) and a member of the Ireland 2016 'Women's Workshop' said; 'Today we are honouring the role of women in 1916. Considering universal suffrage was not wide place at the time, they broke the mould for women with their bravery. Margaret Skinnider, who lead men in combat during the Rising said "they were fighting for the same right to risk their lives as the men." When I first started in the military in 1982 there was so few of us. Aside from the Medical Corps, the first female Cadets and Recruits started in 1980. While other militaries do not permit women in front line roles, the Irish Defence Forces have had female bomb disposal officers, snipers, pilots, APC Commanders. Women have held appointments as Ship's Captains and Infantry Units overseas. We are moving forward positively.'

Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM, who also attended the event, said; ''This is a fantastic day for the women of Óglaigh na hÉireann. There are currently 557 women in the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service, representing 6.1% of our overall strength. Óglaigh na hÉireann are committed, openly and unambiguously to increasing the number of women in our organisation.

Further female participation and increased diversity in any organisation, including the military, improves operational reach as well as providing a counter weight against the increasing complexity we face."

It is expected that the Defence Forces will be accepting applications for Cadets and General Service Recruitment in the coming year , supported by a social media campaign aimed at encouraging young women to join the Defence Forces.

Published in Navy

#Recuits - The Naval Service Recruit Class 'Sweeney' commenced training in October 2015.  A passing out parade today will mark the culmination of their training and successful entry into the Naval Service at the rank of Ordinary Seaman.

In total the 39 recruits are drawn from 14 different counties, 2 of whom are originally from the UK. They range in age from 18 to 27 and have completed numerous modules during their 5 months extensive training, including weapons training, foot drill, arms drill, navigational training, medical training and of course seamanship. Special awards will be given for Best Shot, Best Kit and Best Recruit.

The class is named 'Sweeney' after Ted Sweeney, the Irish Coast Guardsman and Blacksod lighthouse keeper who on June 3, 1944 delivered a weather forecast by telephone from Co Mayo’s most westerly point. The report convinced General Dwight D Eisenhower to delay the D-Day invasion for 24 hours, potentially averting a military disaster and changing the course of WW2. Classes are named in honour of significant people in maritime history. Ted Sweeney’s son Edward will be present on the day and a presentation will be made. Edward Sweeney will be accompanied by his wife Rita.

Recruit Class Sweeney raised €6,050 from a rowathon in aid of the Baby Lexie O’Riordan Foundation. Lexie O’Riordan & her parents Sylvia & Ed will be present on the day and the cheque will be presented. Members of the class were also involved as models for the Brave Men Walking charity event, in aid of the Irish Cancer Society and Breakthrough Cancer Research. They also participated in the Christmas fun run on the Naval Base in aid of Build for Life Cystic Fibrosis.

 

Published in Navy

#BacktoMed - Plans have already been made by the Naval Service to send LÉ Roisin to the Mediterranean Sea writes The Irish Examiner, in the event the next government decides to renew last year’s humanitarian mission there.

News of the planned deployment came yesterday as crews from LÉ Eithne, LÉ Niamh and LÉ Samuel Beckett were accorded a civic reception in County Hall for saving the lives of 8,631 men, women and children.

Naval service top brass have been making preparations in recent weeks in anticipation that they will be called on again to aid ‘Operation Pontius,’ supporting the Italian Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre in rescuing migrants trying to cross into Europe from Libya.

Mayor of County Cork, Independent councillor John Paul O’Shea said on behalf of the people of Cork he wanted to thank the three ships’ crews for their phenomenal work and dedication.

To read more on the humanitarian deployments last year and the civic reception, click here.

Published in Navy

#OPVtwinning - L.É. James Joyce (P62) the Naval Service’s newest OPV90 / 'Beckett' class was twinned with the City of Waterford last Sunday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Port of Waterford was host to the event which saw Waterford City and County Council twin the L.É. James Joyce with the south-eastern maritime city. The €50 million newbuild was commissioned in September 2015 and replaced L.É. Aoife (P22) which too was twinned with the city and also from where she was decommissioned last year.

The morning twinning ceremony of L.É. James Joyce took place at the Frank Cassin Wharf on the City Quays, where the offshore patrol vessels career will be the focus of attention of the council and people.

Following the twinning, Mayor John Cummins hosted a ceremony at City Hall where among the attendees where Minister for Defence Simon Coveney, Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellet, Officer Commanding the L.E. James Joyce, Lieutenant Commander Brian Dempsey and crew of 44 personnel along with family members.

The twinning also consolidated an existing fundraising relationship between the Naval Service and staff from the Paediatric Ward at University Hospital Waterford, who also attended the ceremony.

During the weekend, the OPV was open to the public with tours of the newbuild built by Babcock Marine & Technology, Appledore Devon. This is where the final of three OPV90 class sisters, L.É. William Butler Yeats is under construction.

Published in Navy

#Navy2015- The humanitarian crisis that unfolded earlier this year, led to three Irish Naval Service ships deployed under 'Operation Pontus' to the Mediterranean supporting the Italian Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre with Search and Rescue assistance.

The total number rescued in 2015 by the men and women of Óglaigh na nÉireann was 8,631, sadly 39 bodies were also recovered. The Naval Service, on behalf of the Defence Forces, received the People of the Year Award for the mission in the Mediterranean in 2015.

Fisheries

Domestically, provisional figures indicate that the Naval Service has completed 1076 boardings and made 10 detentions so far in 2015 for alleged infringements of fishing regulations during their 1205 patrol days.

The Naval Service patrols 220 million maritime acres of sea (over twelve times the land mass of Ireland) representing 15% of Europe’s fisheries. Fishing vessels from Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Belgium and Denmark were boarded and inspected in 2015.

Specialist Dive Team Operations

The Specialist Naval Service Dive Team was deployed to 43 operations so far this year. Military Operations include underwater maintenance of Naval Service Fleet, sub-surface explosive ordnance disposal operations and berth clearances for visiting foreign warships.

The Naval Service Dive Team has been involved in 9 separate Search and Recovery operations following requests from the Coast Guard and An Garda Síochána, many of these operations lasting several days. The remains of six (6) individuals have been recovered in the process of these searches this year and returned to their loved ones.

They have also carried out four (4) searches on behalf of Customs & Excise, searching the hulls of suspect vessels entering our ports and conducted security/ berth clearance dives for visiting naval ships. This year the Naval Service Diving Section assisted with the annual conference for IDSA (International Diving Schools Association), which qualifies Naval Divers commercially in SCUBA and Surface Supplied Diving Equipment (SSDE).

Training Education and Innovation

The exchange programme with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) continued where RCN Officers embark on Naval Service vessels, honing their seamanship skills, primarily in the area of coastal navigation.

This mutual exchange programme has seen Irish Naval Officers undergo Fleet Navigation and Mine Clearance Diving Officer courses in Canada during 2015.

Training support was provided to the Maritime Squadron from Malta in preparation for the successful handover / takeover of the (former) Irish Naval Service vessel the LÉ Aoife (P22).

This training support will continue into 2016. As per the UK/Irl Bilateral Agreement on Defence Cooperation (signed in Jan 2015), training exchange initiatives were undertaken with the UK Royal Navy to increase inter-operability and these will continue in 2016.

Educational initiatives during 2015 focused on meeting the requirements of our new ship technologies and on bringing leading edge research at the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) into the classroom.

The ‘Aeolus 1’ and ‘Aeolus 11’ research projects focusing on the use of kite technology at sea continue to progress in cooperation with the Halpin Research Institute, NIMBUS centre and IMERC (Irish Maritime Energy and Resource Cluster) partners.

Harnessing our Ocean Wealth (HOOW) ‘Seafest’ was hosted in July in collaboration with the Marine Institute and CIT and this also included the opening of the UCC Beaufort Centre in Ringaskiddy. HOOW encompassed more than 150 maritime industrial, commercial, academic and research partner’s interacting to promote national and international maritime development for Ireland. An estimated 8,500 members of the public also attended the event. The Beaufort Centre incorporates the largest seawater test tanks in Europe and houses over 120 top-level maritime energy researchers.

The Naval Service, as a partner in IMERC, was pleased to note the opening in 2015 of the EntrepreneurShip, a business incubation hub in IMERC, designed to support and spin-out/ spin –in business enterprises related to the research and maritime innovation with which the NS is involved.

Published in Navy

#BeckettReturns - As LÉ Samuel Beckett (P61) docked in Haulbowline, Co Cork yesterday, sailors were reunited with families just in time for Christmas, after a successful mission in the Mediterranean which involved saving the lives of 1,088 migrants.

Commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Tony Geraghty said the crew got in the festive spirit in the last few days of their mission with a full-scale Christmas playlist on rotation on board the ship.

“The atmosphere on board has been fabulous the last couple of days. People smiling from ear to ear. People playing Christmas music. We were playing ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ by Chris Rea earlier today. That was fabulous. It’s a great day. It is a really important day for the families.”

For much more The Irish Examiner has the story accompanied by photos of crew members meeting families at the naval base, click here.

Published in Navy
Page 8 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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