#NAVAL VISITS - The first foreign naval visitors to Dublin Port in 2012 will be the French Navy, as five of an eight-strong class of school-training ships from Brest are due to dock on Friday, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The octet belong to the Léopard class though the namesake leadship, Léopard (A 748) and Jaguar (A 750) will not be forming as part of the visiting flotilla.
Those that will be making the weekend port of call, berthing at Sir John Rogersons Quay will be Panthère (A 749) and Lynx (A 751) both commissioned in 1982 and the remaining quartet Guépard (A 752); Chacal (A 753); Tigre (A 754) and Lion (A 755) which entered service the following year. For a photo of the latter vessel and one of her sisters the Chacal click HERE.
Each of the 44 tonnes vessel's measure 17.5m long and have a beam of 6.40m and drawing a draft of 2.40m. To read more on the class characteristics click HERE.
The class follow in the wake of the last French Naval vessel to enter Dublin Bay, PSP Cormoran (P677). The OPV provided guard-ship duties when accompanying the Solitaire du Figaro race fleet during the stopover to Dun Laoghaire Harbour last August, as previously reported on Afloat.ie
Of the foursome, only ENS Tasuja is the odd one out, she is a diving and support vessel whereas the rest are all a combination of minehunters / minesweepers. ENS Tasuja is from the Lindormen-class and was built in Denmark in 1977. She is 44.5 meters long, has a maximum speed of 14 knots, and has a crew of 28.
HNoMS Maaloey is an Oksøy-class minehunter which has a catamaran hull constructed of fibre-reinforced plastic which has a very low magnetic signature. She can carry two ROV's and the same number of rigid inflatable boats (RIB).
Above: The Norwegian Navy’s catamaran minehunter HNoMS Maaloey detonates a sea-mine
She is almost identical to the Alta-class leadship HNoMS Alta which provided escort duties during the official state visit of King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, on board the royal yacht K/S Norge in 2006. She arrived in Irish waters, firstly calling to Dun Laoghaire Harbour, where the royal couple boarded the royal yacht at the East Pier. From there she sailed the short distance across the bay to Dublin Port and her last Irish call was to Cork.
ORP Flaming is a mine countermeasures vessel which operates in minesweeping and minehunting. The vessel is designed to trace such devices and make safe fairways for shipping. She can detect anchored mines 1600m from the ship and bottom mines located 600m below the ship's keel. In addition she can lay mines of six different types.
FGS Überherrn is a Kulmbach Class minehunter, in service with the German Navy since commissioning in 1989. She was originally built as a Hameln Class (SM 343) minesweeper by STN Systemtechnik Nord, but was converted to the Kulmbach Class. She has an overall length of 54.4m, a width of 9.2m and a draft of 2.5m and a displacement of 635 tonnes. Armament comprises two, four-cell Stinger missile launchers firing FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missiles. There are a crew of 37, which includes four officers, 20 petty officers and 13 ratings.
The flotilla are moored two abreast alongside Sir John Rogersons Quay (berth No. 8), which is located on the south quays between the Samuel Beckett and East-Link Bridges. Of the four naval ships, FGS Überherrn is the first to depart on Sunday, the other vessels are to depart on Monday. The vessels will provide an opportunity to view at close quarters a variety of naval architecture design and navies from northern Europe.
She was built in 1967 by Schichau Seebeck Werft, Bremerhaven and the 68m / 23-ft long auxiliary has a limited armament capability and a crew of 45. Employed as safety ship for the submarine training group, she is also equipped for fire-fighting, icebreaking and wreck location duties. The Kiel registered veteran vessel is named after a German island.