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As Naval Service Ships Swap At Covid-19 Testing Centre, Appeal is Launched for Members to Re-Join

2nd April 2020
Dublin's Docklands: Field tents erected by the Irish Army in efforts to assist the HSE Covid-19 Virus Testing Centre on the Liffey Quays, Dublin has so far involved three OPV (above L.E. Samuel Beckett) of the Naval Service take in turns to also run and provide help with ships used as quayside bases. NOTE: The Naval Service have announced that former personnel are encouraged to re-enlist and join the fight against #COVID19 - (see below for details). Dublin's Docklands: Field tents erected by the Irish Army in efforts to assist the HSE Covid-19 Virus Testing Centre on the Liffey Quays, Dublin has so far involved three OPV (above L.E. Samuel Beckett) of the Naval Service take in turns to also run and provide help with ships used as quayside bases. NOTE: The Naval Service have announced that former personnel are encouraged to re-enlist and join the fight against #COVID19 - (see below for details). Photo: Naval Service-twitter

When the P60 class L.E. Samuel Beckett took up critical supporting duties along with the army to assist the HSE establish a Covid-19 virus testing centre on the Liffey in Dublin last month, a further two navy patrol vessels have been involved, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As part of the nationwide effort to fight Covid-19 the Naval Service has Applications now open for former members of Óglaigh na hÉireann (Defence Forces) to rejoin as now is the time! For further information and T&Cs to apply, click HERE

Last night the slightly smaller offshore patrol vessel (OPV) of the P50 class LE. Niamh arrived in Dublin Port (from Galway) to berth at Sir John Rogerson's Quay to continue to help in running the test centre. There are three 'port' related test centres, the other two are located in the Ports of Galway and Cork along the city quays.

LE. Niamh (P52) has directly taken over from L.E. George Bernard Shaw (P64). This OPV had previously occupied the same Liffey berth before swapping with L.E. Samuel Beckett (P61) last week, on the Tuesday.

On that occasion, the changeover of OPV's in the Dublin Docklands took place under the cover of darkness. This was reminiscent of another nighttime arrival as LÉ William Butler Yeats (P63) entered the Port of Galway just over a week ago in Dun Aengus Dock.  The OPV's presence in the mid-west city port was also part of Óglaigh na Éireann's efforts to generate more capacity for the HSE where the second testing centre was established to combat Covid-19.

The third Covid-19 test centre followed when the HPV flagship L.E. Eithne (P31) was reactivated into service at the Naval Service Base in Cork Harbour. From Haulbowline Island, the HPV made the short passage upriver of the Lee to berth in Cork City on Kennedy Quay, part of the South Quays or Jetties as they are also known.

So why the reason for such swapping of offshore patrol vessels?

According to the Naval Service, whilst we are currently deployed in Dublin, Cork and Galway, we will continue to rotate our ships to ensure essential maritime, defence and security operations as normal.

In addition Afloat adds no doubt the changeover gives crew's time off such duties and to continue maintaining routine duties in patrolling this island nation.

An example been L.E. George Bernard Shaw which Afloat tracked departing Dublin Port this afternoon. The ship is the newest OPV of the fleet which was commissioned into service in late 2018.

Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Irish Sailing & Boating

Since restrictions began in March 2020, the Government is preparing for a 'controlled and gradual return to sport' and the 2020 sailing fixtures are being tentatively redrafted by yacht clubs, rowing clubs angling and diving clubs across Ireland as the country enters a new phase in dealing with the Coronavirus. The hope is that a COVID-19 restrictions might be eased by May 5th as Sport Ireland has asked national governing bodies for information on the challenges they face. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

To help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) everyone has been asked to stay at home. But some people may need to do more than this.

You may need to either:

You do these things to stop other people from getting coronavirus.

Read advice for people in at-risk groups

Read advice about cocooning.

Restricted movements

Everybody in Ireland has been asked to stay at home. You should only go out for a few reasons, such as shopping for food.

But you need to restrict your movements further if you: 

  • live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, but you feel well
  • are a close contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus
  • have returned to Ireland from another country

You need to restrict your movements for at least 14 days.

But if the person you live with has had a test and it is negative, you don't need to wait 14 days. You should still follow the advice for everyone - stay at home as much as possible.

Close contact

This is only a guide but close contact can mean:

  • spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of an infected person
  • living in the same house or shared accommodation as an infected person

How to restrict your movements 

Follow the advice for everybody - stay at home.

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