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Displaying items by tag: OPV's Meet in Med

#NavalMedTransfer – In an undisclosed location in the western Mediterranean, the Naval Service L.E. Niamh and L.E. Samuel Beckett met at rendez-vous point yesterday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The pair of offshore patrol vessels (OPV) transferred equipment and key personnel in the early hours. This was followed by an exchange of ceremonial salutes before each of the OPV’s proceeded in opposite route directions.

L.E. Niamh dating from 2001, has completed her search and rescue (SAR) duties of refugees and migrants and was heading west bound in the Mediterranean. She is expected back at the Naval Base in Haulbowline, Cork Harbour this Friday.

Since departing Irish waters in July, L.E. Niamh has served with international navies to assist SAR missions under the authority of the Italian Navy. This has seen numerous SAR calls involving overcrowded and unseaworthy boats trafficking people.

Replacing L.E. Niamh is her successor, L.E. Samuel Beckett which is an enhanced version of the second ‘Roisin’ class OPV80 series. The ‘Beckett’ only entered service last year and forms the leadship of the trio of OPV90 class ordered from a UK shipyard.

The €54m vessel is making an eastbound voyage so to continue in the humanitarian role that was first undertaken earlier this year with the deployment of flagship. L.E. Eithne.

As reported today, funding has been secured for the Defence Forces that is to include a replacement programme for the Naval Service with a second phase of new patrol vessels.

Two of the newbuilds are to be OPV’s. As for the third unit this is to be a multi role vessel (MRV) more like the ‘Eithne’ albeit not designed to the flagship’s Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV) early career role when she actually carried a helicopter. The MRV will be able at least to carry out ship to air-lift operations including freight.

The newbuilds are to replace an ageing trio, the above mentioned L.E Eithne and also dating from 1984, a pair of coastal patrol vessels, CPV’s L.E. Orla and sister L.E. Ciara.

For more about the latter CPV’s existing career following that carried out in warmer climes, Ships Monthly (current issue) features the former Royal Navy ‘Peacock’ class that began service in Hong Kong.

Published in Navy

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