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Displaying items by tag: naval service

#NavalExercises – The Naval Service's newest and oldest patrol vessels have taken part in a week-long major exercise, one of several held annually, where L.É Samuel Beckett (P61) set her paces accompanied by L.E. Aoife offshore of Cork Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.

In command of the €54m newbuild is Cdr. Ken Minihan who recently was promoted to the role of Officer in Charge of Fleet Operations, in which he will take this position in August. Cdr. Minihan has the responsibility of 43 crew and on occasions this can rise by a further 10 personnel.

Due to the overall requirements to recruit crew and that of the newbuild programme of a trio of OPV90 or 'Beckett' class, the new ships will feature additional berths to accommodate 10 cadet trainees.

According to Cdr. Minihan, the OPV has better sea-keeping characteristics compared to her predecessors and the ability to maintain 9 knots in a 'Power Take In' mode as 2 x Wartsila diesel engines can generate otherwise a maximum of 23 knots.

The OPV90 class are fitted with a 76mm OTO Melara the main armoury mounted on the bow of the newbuilds which are to replace an ageing pair of 'Emer' class sisters. L.E. Aoife is understood to decomission by the end of the year. She will be replaced by the delivery of L.E. James James in the first quater of 2015 and followed by the final newbuild due in 2016.

One of the trainees taking ship-time experience on board L.E. Samual Beckett is Ger Fannin from Clare who at 29 years is one of the oldest students to have entered the cadetship. Along with his colleagues they will attend a commissioning into service ceremony in September.

This was only the second time that Fannin has been at sea where the cadet expressed how proud he was to be on the new 2,226 tonnes offshore patrol vessel, which is ending her first patrol today since commissioning just over a month ago in Dublin.

In the last six years the Naval Service has intercepted €1.7 Billion worth of drugs in Irish waters and the importance of carrying out such exercises (in a real-scenario they are carried out at night), is where the boarding teams are also equipped with night-vision capabilities.

This is where the role of Maritime Interdiction Operations as previously reported saw armed counter-narcotics Naval Teams set off from L.E. Samuel Beckett. The interdiction teams used a pair of high-speed RIBS capable of twice the speed of the 'mother' vessel, as they can reach up to 40 knots. The teams set a course to the L.E. Aoife which acted as the 'suspect' vessel.


Interdiction party on the aft–deck

Completely dressed in black uniforms including helmets, the teams armed with pistols and truncheons boarded the L.E. Aoife. Two of her crew-members acted as individuals engaged in criminal activity and where led under tight security up to the wheelhouse.

In addition to this high-drama scenario at sea, a casualty winching exercise with an Air Corps AW139 helicopter was carried out at close quarters above the aft-deck of L.E. Samuel Beckett. The helicopter normally based at Baldonnel had flown down to Cork Airport and onward to take part in the exercise.

Also part of the week's exercise where inter-ship replenishments for the transfer of personnel and provisions while naval ships are at sea. This alleviates the necessity for a ship to return to port while on domestic operations and potentially in circumstances where vessels could be deployed on missions overseas.


Winch operation

As outlined above the role of the Naval Service is clearly not just about fishery protection duties, in which there has been 407 boardings and four detentions carried out so far this year.

With the L.E. Samuel Beckett in service, the navy and that of her newbuild sisters are better prepared through new operational capability to undertake routine patrols and tasks in an area twelve times the size of Ireland's land mass.

An added efficiency to operations will be Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) which are planned to be introduced next year. This component in the Naval Service is to enhance in carrying out surveillance operations, among them covert vessel tracking to those dealing with oil-pollution monitoring.

A large area of EU waters (15%) is under Irish sovereign control and are patrolled by the Naval Service current fleet of 8 vessels. Our waters provide an estimated €3.4 billion in resources to the Irish exchequer annually or approximately equate to 1.2% of GDP.


Published in Navy

#defenceforces – Yesterday's Naval Service fleet exercises were an opportunity to hone skills and improve on techniques to ensure that the ships can respond to any operational requirement that they may be required to undertake in Ireland's extensive maritime domain, which covers an area twelve times the size of Ireland's land mass. The Naval Service patrols 15% of EU waters which are under Irish sovereign control and which provide an estimated €3.4 Billion in resources to the Irish exchequer annually or approx 1.2% of GDP.

Published in Navy

#SamuelBeckett – The €53m newbuild OPV L.É Samuel Beckett (P61) along with L.É. Aoife (P22) will be conducting major exercises today off the south coast as part of a week-long fleet assessment by the Naval Service.

Some of the tasks involved include a scenario-based Maritime Interdiction Operation which prepares armed Naval Teams for counter-narcotics and armed boarding's at sea plus a casualty winching exercises with the Air Corps' AW139 helicopter.

In the last six years the Naval Service has intercepted €1.7 Billion worth of drugs in Irish waters. On fishery protection duties, the Naval Service has carried out 407 boardings and 4 detentions so far this year.
Inter-ship replenishment will also be exercised, for the transfer of personnel and provisions while naval ships are at sea. This alleviates the necessity for a ship to return to port while on operations.

Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service, Commodore Hugh Tully stated that: "As the State's principal seagoing agency, it is essential that Naval Units can respond quickly and effectively to any operational requirement that they may be called upon to provide in our area of operation, the North Atlantic, and at short notice. The men and women in the Naval Service operate in some of the most hostile seas in the world throughout the year. Our Annual Fleet Exercises provides an opportunity for Naval Service Units to hone their skills and for senior command to assess their operational capability."

Published in Navy

#CorkDockyard – Among the shipping seen at Cork Dockyard yesterday was the Naval Service 'flagship' L.E. Eithne (P31) which was berthed in the graving dock, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV) is at the shipyard and repair facility where on the same site at a neighbouring slipway she was launched three decades ago from Verolme Cork Dockyard (VCD). She along with L.E. Aoife (P22) and L.E. Aisling (P23) were built by VCD, they were commissioned into service in 1979 and 1980 respectively.

L.E.Eithne represents the last custom built patrol vessel for the Naval Service from that of the VCD yard and notably the last ever ship completed in the republic in 1984. As previously reported on, as part of last year's The Gathering, a commemoration of Cork's shipybuilding workers and heritage over 160 years was held in Cobh.

Shipbuilding in Cork Harbour has long gone, however on the far side of the Celtic Sea, it is pleasing to note of the third option to build another Naval Service OPV90 class was confirmed by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D. and Minister for Defence with the same yard of Babcock Marine in north Devon.

The contract of the €54m newbuild follows the class leadship, L.E. Samuel Beckett (P61) and sister L.E. James Joyce currently under construction at the yard in Appledore and due in early 2015.

The third 'playright' OPV90 sister is expected to be delivered into service in 2016.


Published in Cork Harbour

#EmerSailsAway – As previously reported, M.V. Emer which departed Cork for the final time yesterday, has set a course bound for Nigeria, to begin a first-time change in her career since commissioning into Naval Service in 1978, writes Jehan Ashmore.

She no longer has her naval prefix of L.É. (Long Éireannach -'Gaelic' for Irish Ship) nor indeed P21 boldly across her bows, however her owners, Uniglobe International Service (UIS) which acquired the former OPV last Autumn have retained her original name.

The origins to the vessels name of Emer are to the principal wife of Cúchulainn and the daughter of a chieftain. Her owners cite it would be a shame to change her name after all these years in a career which spanned almost 35 years.

Numerous patrol duties were carried out in Irish waters and to those carried far out into the Atlantic and often in stormy seas. Over the years she was upgraded with advances in technology yet the passage of time saw her life-span reach to a stage requiring replacement.

This is where newbuild OPV L.É. Samuel Beckett (P61) is designed to cope in worsening sea-states and in patrolling considerably larger sea areas zones from that of the era of Emer's debut in the late 1970's.

In addition, the demands of the navy's remit in carrying out multi-task duties will see use of state of the art technology. Notably through the deployment of drones will greatly improve performance operability.

As she was the oldest in the Naval Service fleet, L.É. Emer served the nation carrying out not just routine fishery patrol duties of the EEZ, but the wide variety of tasks in which this arm of the state has proven to be vital in terms of not just governing our sovereignty but also assisting those abroad in troubled regions.

L.É. Emer and her sisters, Aoife (P22) to be sold at auction and Aisling (P23) carried out re-supply missions to Irish troops, among them Lebanon during UN mandated missions.

On her final patrol as previously reported was under the command of Lt Cdr Alan O'Regan, Officer Commanding and this saw her make farewell calls to sevarel ports last September. Among them the capital after the Dublin FlightFest event, in which she acted as a co-ordination centre as well to host ship duties.

This will contrast to her new career in which her role will be in entering the charter market in the oil-field industry which will involve transferring technicians and workers to platforms. In addition to transporting inspector's and auditors to installations and others associated in the energy and exploration industry.

In the meantime, her delivery voyage to waters off the mid-western African state, will involve a slow steaming-fuel efficient passage taking approximately 3 weeks to complete.

As depicted in our last report, the photograph of Emer shows her in lower Cork Harbour, off the Whitegate Oil Refinery, before she made bid her final farewell off Roches Point Lighthouse.

Take a closer look to her reveal another hint of her new identity as the owners name is abbreviated to 'UIS' which can be seen on the funnel casing.

While the grey superstructure and hull remain however the vessel will be in very unfamiliar waters. From the Atlantic seaboard to that off the continent of Africa.


Published in Cork Harbour

#EmerSailsAway – The former Naval Service OPV ship, L.E. Emer, set sail yesterday from Cork Harbour bound for Nigeria, having completed dry-docking work following her sale last year, writes Jehan Ashmore.

No longer a naval vessel and her prefix of L.E. replaced to that of M.V. Emer. Yet she retains her grey colours as she departed Cork Harbour for the final time, from where she was based out of the naval base of Haulbolwine for almost 35 years. As previously reported, she was sold last October to Uniglobe Group for €320,000.

Her departure fell on yesterday's twinning of the Naval Service's newest addition, L.E. Samuel Beckett (P61) with her adopted city of Cork. She is the first of a pair of newbuild replacements, in which the leadship directly replaced the ageing L.E. Emer (P21) completed in 1978. She was launched at Verolme Cork Dockyard in Rushbrooke near Cobh.

As for her direct successor, L.E. Samuel Beckett will be open to the public this afternoon (3-5pm) while berthed at Kennedy Quay in the heart of Cork's docklands, where photos of the twinning ceremony are available HERE.

Emer's setting out to sea yesterday was for the first time since work started last Autumn in Cork Dockyard, from where she was launched in 1978 as the first of the 'Emer' class. She was an improved version of L.E. Deirdre, the first custom built vessel for the Irish Navy when launched in 1972.

After conducting several evolutions and exercises on proving systems, the Emer was released to make its way to long journey to her owners in Nigeria, along the mid-west African coast.

Around this time next year, L.E. James Joyce is expected to be delivered to the Naval Service and to replace one of the two remaining 'Emer' class, the L.E. Aoife which is also to be auctioned.

The final sister of the Emer trio, L.E. Aisling and the flagship L.E. Eithne will then be the only members left of the 8-strong fleet to be custom built from an Irish shipyard.


Published in Cork Harbour

#SamuelBeckett - The State's newest Naval Service patrol vessel opened to the public for the first time (in Cork), and there to greet the arrival was a little girl who welcomed her father home from sea yesterday, writes the Irish Examiner.

Allie O'Connell, 12, from Ballyvolane, gave her father, CPO Phil O'Connell, a huge hug as he stepped off the state-of-the-art LÉ Samuel Beckett, shortly after arriving at Cork's city quays yesterday ahead of its formal twinning ceremony with the city later today.

"It was great to see her," the vessel's coxswain said. "We are in the middle of a four-week patrol and it was great to come up the river and to be welcomed by her. My mother, Bridie, was there too."

Allie and her classmates from Scoil Oilibhéir were due to form a guard of honour on the quayside as part of the twinning ceremonies later today.

For more including footage of her crew boarding the new OPV in Dublin's central quays where as previously reported on, the €50m OPV was named and commissioned into service in a joint ceremony held last month. Afterwards, the newbuild was opened for the first time ever to the public.


Published in Navy

#SamuelBeckett - The state's newest naval vessel, the €50m LÉ Samuel Beckett (P61), is to be twinned with Cork City, homeport of the Irish Naval Service, reports The Irish Examiner.

A Naval Service spokesman confirmed the vessel, which boasts Star Wars-style 'drone' technology, as previously reported on, will sail from the naval base in Haulbowline up to the city quays for the formal twinning ceremonies.

Final arrangements are still being put in place — the twinning ceremony will likely take place on June 7, with plans to open the ship for public tours on June 8. For more on this, click here.

As previously reported on last year, there was speculation surrounding the newbuild OPV's twinning with Cork City and the confirmation aptly follows that of her predecessor, the former L.E. Emer whose adopted 'homeport' was also of the rebel city.

Asides the Naval Service historic use of drones or "unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles", the 'Beckett' class will also feature state-of-the-art technology among them robotic submersibles.


Published in Navy

#Navy - The Irish Examiner reports on a solicitor's call for all Irish Naval Service vessels to be immediately docked and checked for asbestos.

Ernest Cantillon represents 10 people who believe they have been exposed to the hazardous substance, after it emerged recently that as many as 150 workers could be at risk after working on the LÉ Ciara and other vessels at naval headquarters at Haulbowline in Cork Harbour.

Asbestos dust was discovered during routine maintenance on the Naval Service patrol vessel in March, despite an audit of all ships a decade ago that declared them free of the formerly common insulation material.

It's now thought that up to 100 navy personnel and some 50 civilian workers may have been exposed - with no chance of compensation following a Supreme Court ruling in 20013 that only those diagnosed with asbestosis - which can take up to 40 years to develop - can sue the State.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Navy
Tagged under

#SamuelBeckett – As the sleek profile of Naval Service newbuild OPV L.E. Samuel Beckett (P61) got underway yesterday on the horizon off Killiney Bay (see photo at bottom this link) this was her first patrol since Saturday's joint naming and commissioning ceremony in Dublin, writes Jehan Ashmore.

At almost 90m long the Babcock Marine built OPV90 class L.E. Samuel Beckett is 12 metres longer than her predecessor the OPV80 class leadship 'Roisin'. She was followed by sister, L.E. Niamh in 2001, having also been built at the north Devon shipyard then managed by Appledore Shipbuilders.

The hull forms of the Beckett class and her sister L.E. James Joyce currently under construction are designed by STX Marine. The improved sea-keeping qualities of the hull (see link to Air Corps footage off Ballycotton and Dublin Bay) are not only to improve operational working conditions.

The increased length and aft-deck space provides for storage of containers for (potential UN mandated) missions requiring humanitarian supplies and equipment. As such the newbuild can carry more than the 'Roisin' class sisters. Another benefit of the longer hull is that of crew comfort, particularly during the harsh environment of the Atlantic.

Having left an overcast Dublin Bay and in considerably calmer seas she increased speed passsing Dalkey Island and as seen on the photograph on the horizon off Killiney Bay. This resulted in greater resistance as the bow wave increased at the flared bow designed to deflect water away and minimise impact on the hull while maximising  speed and fuel efficiency.

She can achieve a maimum of 23 Knots which is generated from a pair of Wartsila diesel engines (10,000kw) which drive through twin shafts and propellers.

The newbuild has an endurance range of 6,000 nautical miles which will be required given that Ireland has a Fishey Exclusive Protection zone to patrol in an area representing 16% of EU waters. The OPV's main armament is a 76mm OTO Melara compact gun mounted at the bow.

As for that yellow buoy... in the photo, this is one of three marking a safety zone for bathers along a stretch of Killiney Beach close to Dalkey's White Rock Beach. They are there to protect bathers under a beach by-law implemented several years ago by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

Boating activity among marine leisure users, notably jet-skiers, are not permitted to transit the zone between the buoys and the beach in the interest of safety for swimmers.


Published in Navy
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