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Displaying items by tag: naval service

#Roisin2Med - LÉ Róisín has departed Naval Base at Haulbowline this afternoon (Sunday 1 May) for Ireland's latest search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, LÉ Róisín follows last year's humanitarian missions by LÉ Eithne, LÉ Niahm and LÉ Samuel Beckett in the Mediterranean, where between them they rescued more than 8,500 migrants.

The latest mission, in conjunction with Italian authorities, sees a 57-strong crew set sail today for the Mediterranean as the first deployment for the Naval Service this year under Operation PONTUS.

Published in Navy

I love Irish history. It is the story of the Irish people, living in an island nation. But I have always wondered about a maritime, a shipping aspect of the Easter Rising, the commemoration of which has raised the profile of our evolution as an independent country. And that is – would it actually have been possible for the AUD, the German ship with weapons and ammunition for the Irish Volunteers, by arrangement with Roger Casement, to have landed its cargo in Tralee Bay, which is the accepted historical conception of that part of the plans for the Rising.
I have always wondered about the challenge and difficulties of getting 20,000 rifles, 10 machine guns and 3.5 million rounds of ammunition off that ship in the conditions and shipping facilities of Tralee Bay and the probably only realistic landing site at Fenit in 1916.
Was it to have been done at Fenit? In the facilities there for unloading in 1916 would that actually have been possible? Was it thought that the cargo might be got off into open boats in the Bay?
I got my opportunity to ask that question of an expert on the period last weekend, Dr. John Treacy, who was recently awarded his Ph.D. from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick for his doctoral thesis about the Naval Service.
He answered me very directly: “I would say absolutely not.”
He had a lot more to say about the AUD and the plan for it to provide weaponry for the Volunteers when I interviewed him at a seminar which underlined the huge public interest in Irish maritime affairs. “Revolution on an Island -The Maritime Aspects of the 1916 Rebellion,” was organised by the Irish Maritime Forum. It was booked out. People attended from all over the country. There was even a waiting list for places at the National Maritime College in Ringaskiddy on the edge of Cork Harbour where it was held.
Dr. Treacy spoke on ‘The Silent Shore – The Attempt to land arms at Banna Strand from the AUD.” It is a fascinating part of Irish history and the maritime involvement. If you have any interest at all in our history, I urge you to listen to him below on my programme, THIS ISLAND NATION.
It was also an unusual experience for me at that seminar to find myself being quoted at the outset. It was for my description of Ireland as an “island nation” which is accepted by the Forum, which is an independent think-tank on maritime matters. But the Forum had a qualification – “Ireland is not yet a maritime nation”
You can hear more about this from retired Naval officer, Capt. James Robinson, who discusses it with me on behalf of the Forum. Not a lot has been heard about the Forum in public, but this seminar was a revelation.
Simon McGibney, the new Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association, talks to me about his plans for this year’s sailing and the retirement of one of the country’s longest-serving lifeboatmen, from the RNLI Rosslare Station, is reported while there is also good advice on the programme about using vehicles to launch and recover boats from slipways in view of the Buncrana tragedy.
THIS ISLAND NATION reports on the marine traditions, culture, history and modern maritime developments of our island nation. I hope you enjoy it and would welcome your comments. You can Email to: [email protected]

Published in Island Nation

#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

#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

#AoifeVoyageMalta - ‘Aoife’ (P62) departed Cork Harbour for the final time marking an end of an era for the Naval Service, as she passed Roches Point Lighthouse bound for Malta to serve a new career yet remain in a naval role, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As previously reported on Afloat which has been monitoring movements of the former Naval Service OPV LÉ Aoife (P22) which on Monday this week had passed the same lighthouse at lunchtime. Then that departure was confirmed to Afloat by Cork Dockyard as the 1,019 tonnes vessel was about to begin sea-trials following a refit at the facility.

The decision by the Irish Government to donate the second ‘Emer’ class patrolship dating to 1979 to Malta, had raised eyebrows by military brass from the island state. The concerns were over her age and it was questioned as to the suitability in the role of shoring up the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) naval squadron in search and rescue (SAR) missions of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea.

Under a new pennant number of P62, the patroship easily becomes the largest to serve in the AFM’s naval squadron. The delivery voyage to the Maltese capital of Valetta is expected to take a week.

To reflect on the career of LÉ Aoife that spanned 35 years of service to the State in which she travelled in excess of 600,000 nautical miles. That’s the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe 28 times. Her crew boarded over 4,700 vessels at sea and detained over 440 fishing vessels. In this role which was primarily her main work as fishery protection vessel, however she also carried out SAR and most notably, the recovery in 1985 of the black box from Air India Flight 182 off the south west coast.

As for the debate over her donation, there were calls domestically to retain the OPV. In Waterford, her adopted homeport there were calls to keep the Irish built (Verolme Cork Dockyard) OPV as a floating museum. This was regarded as an apt proposal given she was decommissioned in the south-eastern cityport.

In addition Cork County Mayor also called for the same proposal by having the OPV turned into a floating museum located near Naval Service headquarters at the base on Haulbowline Island in the face of what was regarded as a ‘snub’ by the Maltese.

This leaves the question what will become of the final ‘Emer’ class OPV? The LÉ Aisling (P23) given in the knowledge that she will be replaced in 2016 also in the form of a final sister, that been the newbuild LÉ William Butler Yeates. 

She is the final unit from the current batch of a trio of OPV90 class sisters also dubbed the ‘Beckett’ class that are phase one of the Naval Service’s replacement and modernisation programme.

The second sister LÉ James Joyce (P62) was commissioned into service this year.

LÉ Samuel Beckett (P61) since September has been in the Mediterranean as part of 'Operations Pontus'. The OPV90 leadship has been tasked to assist in SAR missions that has seen almost 1,000 people saved from overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels controlled by people traffickers while off the coast of Libya, north Africa.

So what shall become of the future role of LÉ Aisling? To keep the vessel in Irish waters as part of our maritime heritage? or placed to serve in the same role of her elder sister in the ongoing crisis in the Med?

Or for the Irish Government to assess in another humanitarian mission elsewhere in the world? 

Published in News Update

#Diving - One navy man's "accidental entry" into diving in the 1960s was the birth of what is today Ireland's most advanced underwater unit.

As the Irish Examiner reports, a new book by Martin Buckley titled The Ninth Ship - The Irish Naval Diving Section charts the history of the Naval Service's subaquatic division, which began when Lt Joe Deasy was sent to the UK for months of torpedo anti-submarine training.

Diving happened to be part of the curriculum, and Lt Deasy returned to Haulbowline in 1964 as the Naval Service's first qualified diver.

Within a decade the navy had chalked up its first major team diving operation, on the IRA gunrunning vessel Claudia, and later built a reputation as rescue experts, assisting in the wake of 1979's Bantry oil tanker explosion and the Air India disaster in 1985 among others.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Diving
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#NavalBudget - An allocation of €904m in Defence funding for 2016 was announced by Minister Coveney today.

The increased allocation for 2016 represents a new very significant commitment to Defence and will allow Defence to deliver on the commitments outlined in the recently published White Paper on Defence.

Minister Coveney stated: Today’s Budget announcement marks a new chapter in spending and commitment for the Defence Forces. For the past number of years it has been necessary to stabilise the economy and put the national finances on a sound footing but now Defence expenditure, linked to the White Paper on Defence, is increasing again. The White Paper on Defence sets out the roles that Government have assigned to the Defence Forces and looks at associated capability requirements. The allocation of over €900 million to Defence will enable the Defence Forces to undertake these roles with professionalism and dedication.

It will also facilitate the implementation of the White Paper proposals, including the replacement of major equipment platforms and other priorities for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service. As previously reported on Afloat.ie this involves three new patrol ships. 

Minister Coveney emphasised the significance of the Capital allocation of €66m in 2016 and €437m over the period of the ‘Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021 Plan’. This will allow Defence to prioritise and plan for significant capital investment programmes over the coming years. Minister Coveney stated: We have had a very good outcome from the capital plan announced recently, where, over the next six years, we will see an increase in capital expenditure for Defence to a total of €437m over the life of the Capital Investment Plan.

The 2016 budgetary allocation will allow Ireland to continue to deliver on all roles prescribed for the Defence Forces, both domestically and overseas and Minister Coveney highlighted, in particular, the role played by the Naval Service in their deployment to the Mediterranean this year, as he stated: The people of Ireland can truly be proud of the work the Naval Service has done and is continuing to do and I wish them every continued success with their work. This is in addition to the ongoing high standard of performance by the Defence Forces on other overseas missions and in their various security roles at home.

Financial Overview: The gross allocation provided to the Defence Sector in 2016 is €904m: comprising of some €680m for Defence (Vote 36) and €224m for Army Pensions (Vote 35). Some €498m of the Defence Vote provides for the pay and allowances, of over 10,500 public service employees. This pay provision will allow for ongoing recruitment and the Minister has re-affirmed his commitment to maintain the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at a level of 9,500.

The non-pay allocation of €182m (including €66m in capital) provides mainly for essential and ongoing Defence Forces standing and operational costs together with the necessary procurement and upgrading of defensive equipment.

The Naval Vessel Replacement Programme continued in 2015 with the addition to the fleet of the LÉ James Joyce and the third ship purchased under the programme, the future LÉ William Butler Years, is scheduled for delivery in July 2016. This programme was advanced without recourse to additional funding and was financed through careful management of financial resources.

The Defence Vote also includes funding for the Reserve Defence Force, Civil Defence and a grant to the Irish Red Cross Society.

As regards the Army Pensions Vote, there are over 12,100 military pensioners paid by the Department of Defence. Army Pensions expenditure is largely non-discretionary and demand-driven.

The launch of the White Paper on Defence has established the strategic parameters within which Defence will operate over the next decade and Defence policy will need to be responsive to any emergent changes in the domestic and international peace and security environment.

Published in Navy

#NavalPay- The Irish Times reports that members of the Naval Service rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean are not entitled to full overseas service payments because they are not in danger, the Department of Defence has said.

PDforra, the association representing soldiers, sailors and aircrew, is urging Minister for Defence Simon Coveney to pay those on the international rescue mission in the Mediterranean the same daily allowances as soldiers deployed in world trouble spots.

Members of the Army serving in missions in Lebanon and the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria are entitled to €80 per day tax free as well as their usual salaries.

However, those sailors working in the Mediterranean have been offered €50 per day, tax free.

PDforra says the ships the Naval Service personnel are working on are fully armed and that sailors have had to produce their firearms when pulling up alongside some boats packed with migrants.

Because of that, it believes the personnel are entitled to the full daily payments, which would be worth between €1,500 and €2,000 tax free over a tour of duty.

The newspaper has more on the story, click here.

Published in Navy

#BeckettRescue - The patrol ship LÉ Samuel Beckett of the Naval Service has rescued 242 people off the Libyan coast on its first humanitarian tasking in the Mediterranean, reports The Irish Times.

The ship, which took over from the LÉ Niamh last week, located a wooden craft with 237 men and five women on board about 80 km north-west of Tripoli around 8am Irish time yesterday.

The overloaded craft had been sighted at 3am by an Italian naval helicopter, and the Italian Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre directed a number of ships to the area, including the LÉ Samuel Beckett and the British naval service ship HMS Enterprise.

For more on the story, click here.

Published in Navy

#DeploymentDecember – According to The Irish Independent, the role of Ireland’s migrant rescue mission in the Mediterranean headed by the Naval Service will be suspended from early December.

The Government believes the rescue mission, undertaken in conjunction with the Italian Coastguard, can be suspended given the likelihood that winter weather and Mediterranean storms will drastically reduce the number of migrant boats being launched.

Defence Minister Simon Coveney has hinted that Ireland will consider ordering a fourth Naval Service patrol ship to waters off Sicily and Libya in early 2016 if formally requested to do so by the EU.

Three Irish ships - LÉ Eithne, LÉ Niamh and LÉ Samuel Beckett - have rescued more than 7,500 migrants since the first navy ship was deployed last May.

LÉ Niamh (recently returned) alone rescued more than 4,100 migrants and recovered 39 bodies.

The Government confirmed plans to bring the LÉ Samuel Beckett back to Ireland without a replacement vessel in early December.

The move came as it emerged Cork and Kerry are set to be asked to accommodate the first 100 Syrian refugees to arrive.

For further coverage the newspaper has more by clicking here.

Published in Navy
Page 4 of 22

Fastnet Yacht Race 

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge. For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between. The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish is in Plymouth, Devon via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Plymouth.
  • The lighthouse first shone its light on New Year’s Day in 1854
    Fastnet Rock originally had six keepers (now unmanned), with four on the rock at a time with the other two on leave. Each man did four weeks on, two weeks off

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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