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The former flagship of the Naval Service, the LÉ Eithne (P31) which was decommissioned almost a year ago and which remains in Haulbowline naval base, faces an uncertain future following the withdrawal of two bids.

According to the Department of Defence, both of the bids from the Dublin Port Company and Cork County Council have been withdrawn.

The port and council had each shown their interest in using the former 1,920 tonnes helicopter patrol vessel (HPV) as a possible marine visitor attraction.

Since the bids were withdrawn, Cork City Council and Limerick City and County Council have expressed an interest in taking the twin funnell LÉ Eithne as a visitor attraction that features a helicopter hanger and associated flight-deck.

According to a spokesperson, it has been confirmed that officials have met with both councils about their proposed plans for the LÉ Eithne which is held in great affection given its historical maritime significance, notably as Afloat adds the flagship was the last ever vessel to be built at a shipyard in the Irish Republic.

LÉ Eithne also represented the last patrol ship for the Naval Service to have been built in Ireland and which took place at the Verolme Cork Dockyard (V.C.D.) in Rushbrooke near Cobh in 1984.

The flagship which had a crew complement of 86 (9 officers and 77 ratings) also became the first vessel of the Naval Service to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 1986.

In more recent years L.É. Eithne was the first Naval Service patrol vessel to be deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in 2015 to assist Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue (SAR) activities.

More from this RTE News story of last week and the fate of two 'Peacock' class former coastal patrol vessels (CPV), LÉ Orla & LÉ Ciara which were also decommissioned last year.  However, they have been replaced by two Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPV) from New Zealand that recently arrived into Cork Harbour to berth in the Naval Basin.

The Peacock twins are no longer berthed in Haulbowline, as Afloat this week observed the vessels rafted together alongside the former V.C.D. shipyard. This site is currently where the Doyle Shipping Group carry out shiprepair and general engineering operations.

Published in Navy

About The Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe

Created in 1978 by Michel Etevenon, La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe is regarded as the queen of solo transatlantic races.

For 44 years, the race has joined Saint-Malo in Brittany to Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe. It musters the biggest fleet ocean racing fleet of all levels on the same starting line. This transatlantic course at a total distance of 3,542 miles has become legendary as its unique magic is all about the range of different classes and the mix of competitors.

Some of the best solo racers in the world of sailing, professionals and amateurs, meet every four years to taste "the magic of the Rhum".

On November 6 2022, this legendary race will set off once again, taking on the Atlantic whilst appealing to a broad mass of public fans and followers. They are offered the chance to dream, to escape and share the wonder with the solo racers who are all ready to go to sea and challenge the Autumn Atlantic.

At A Glance - Route du Rhum 2022 start date

La Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe 2022 starts on November 6 off Saint-Malo, France

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