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Displaying items by tag: Royal Navy

Shipyard Harland & Wolff has taken a step closer to survival with confirmation that the consortium to which it belongs has been awarded a £1.25bn contract to build new warships.

As the News Letter reports, East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson described the decision – giving the green light for the Babcock-led consortium to build the Type 31e Royal Navy frigates – as a “boon” for the Belfast shipyard and said it was “hugely encouraging”.

The news come as Belfast Harbour launched a strategic plan to invest £254 million in new infrastructure which will help generate 7,000 new jobs.

The development at Harland & Wolff is a vital lifeline for a company that went into administration just over a month ago.

For more click here on the story

Published in Belfast Lough
Tagged under

Following the Rockall fishery dispute that grabbed the headlines last week, the UK's newest Fishery Patrol Vessel (FPV) completed a delivery voyage from Scotland to its homeport of Portsmouth today, writes Jehan Ashmore.

HMS Medway arrived on Solent waters this morning. The newbuild is the second of five new British Royal Navy Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) currently under construction on the Clyde at BAE Systems Scotstoun yard.

The final Batch 2 river class OPV HMS Spey was on Friday taken out of the shipyard's Block Outfit Hall and positioned onto the hard stand ready to be loaded onto the launch barge.

BAE's shipyard is located upriver of the striking multi-award winning Riverside Museum in Glasgow where Afloat visited the iconic building designed by the Iranian born architect, the late Zaha Hadid.

As for the design of the HMS Medway and its future function, according to the Royal Navy they they will not use the Batch 2 class primarily for safeguarding fishing stocks in home waters but ‘forward deploy’ around the world. In addition to fishery duties, the class are designed to carry out counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling requirements in order to safeguard the UK's borders.

The new class each of 2000 tonnes will according to Naval Technology are to replace the Royal Navy’s current River-class patrol ships, including HMS Clyde, Severn, Tyne and Mersey. See report of Dublin Port call of the Liverpool based OPV and related role in the UK Government's Brexit contingency fund plan.

Leadship of the class is HMS Forth which like the rest of the class could find themselves on patrol in the Atlantic, the Caribbean, Mediterranean or the Pacific rim operating from Singapore.

In December HMS Medway took its first sea trials along the Firth of Clyde and from where Afloat last Friday had traced the OPV back to the Faslane Naval Base on Gare Loch having departed the previous day. Faslane is the homeport of the Royal Navy's Trident class nuclear powered submarines.

The course set by HMS Medway also revealed further sea trails exercises that took place in the southern waters of the Firth of Cyde. This involved an area between Ardrossan in Ayrshire and Ailsa Craig, an impressive rocky islet.

On the following day (Friday) HMS Medway was tracked by Afloat when its reached the centre of the St. Georges Channel. It is in these waters where the temporary Rosslare-Fishguard ferry Stena Nordica (deputing for Stena Europe) had already proceeded beyond mid-channel during a routine morning sailing to the Pembrokeshire port in south-west Wales.

According to AIS system, HMS Medway achieved a speed of 24.9 knots while in relatively close quarters of an Irish flagged dry-cargoship the Arklow Cliff. At just three metres shorter in length compared to the 90m naval newbuild, the 2,999grt cargoship had too set a southerly course.

Arklow Cliff Afloat featured its launch just two years ago and on this occasion as an operational ship was tracked underway while making a more sedate speed of 11.9 knots. By coincidence Arklow Cliff was bound for the River Medway where the town and Port of Rochester is located about 30 miles east of London.

Arklow Cliff likewise of HMS Medway had departed its last port last Thursday, but from Warrenpoint in Co. Down. The short-sea trader arrived in the north Kent port yesterday having sailed along the Thames Estuary from where on the southern shore the cargoship entered the Medway to approach Rochester.

Published in News Update

#Ports&Shipping- Three shipbuilding teams in the UK, according to a Ministry of Defence statement, have been awarded multi-million-pound contracts to push ahead with plans to build five new Type 31e warships for the Royal Navy. 

The announcement from the British Defence Minister Stuart Andrew took place in Portsmouth Naval Base last week on board HMS Diamond, (see sister, Defender's recent Irish visit) which returned from the Mediterranean.

The Minister revealed that teams led by BAE Systems, (see Merseyside yard Cammell Laird) Babcock and Atlas Elektronik UK have been shortlisted for the competition to build the five frigates for £1.25 billion.

Each group has been awarded a contract worth up to £5 million to fund the next stage of their plans, with the preferred bidder for the design and manufacture of the ships due to be announced by the end of next year. The MOD want the first ship delivered in 2023.

Speaking in Portsmouth, Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said: “This is the first frigate competition the UK has run in a generation, and we are funding three shipbuilding teams with extremely exciting concepts to continue developing their plans. Next year we will announce the winning bidder, and one of these designs will go on to bolster our future fleet with five new ships, creating UK jobs and ensuring our Royal Navy maintains a truly global presence in an increasingly uncertain world.”

The awarding of the contracts is a key milestone in the National Shipbuilding Strategy, which was launched in September 2017. The Strategy met the challenges set by an independent report written by Sir John Parker, a figure with a wealth of leadership and boardroom experience in shipbuilding, and was underpinned by the commitment to build the new Type 31e ships.

The bold Type 31e programme will move through procurement at an unprecedented pace: the vessel will commence production within 3 years of the launch of the programme, far quicker than similar programmes of this type.

The ships will make up the next generation of the Royal Navy fleet, along with eight Type 26 warships which will start being delivered from the mid-2020s. The names of all eight Type 26 frigates have now been announced, and the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has also outlined that they will be homed in Devonport.

The decision on where the Type 31e frigates will be based is still to be made.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#NavalVisits - At this stage of the UK’s Royal Navy University Boat Squadron tour the last visit was to Kinsale Harbour and followed calls to Cork, Waterford and Dublin, where the flotilla is to return for the Easter Weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Afloat has been monitoring movements of the naval flotilla of Archer P2000 class inshore patrol boats that visited Dublin Port last week at the Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club Marina. The patrol trio comprise of HMS Biter, Charger and Persuer which are part of the First Patrol Boat Squadron, whose primary role is to support the University Royal Naval Units (URNU).

The White Ensign flagged visitors had berthed in Kinsale Yacht Club Marina where they arrived this week until departing last night. Also in port was and remains today the Musketier, a Manx flagged Peel registered cargoship that is operated from an East Cowes, Isle of Wight based company, Faversham Ships.

Prior to the call to Kinsale Harbour, a courtesy call was paid to the Irish Naval Service base in Cork Harbour where the P2000's berthed within the naval dock basin. Upon arrival, four Naval Service patrol vessels were berthed. A pair of Babcock built OPV’s from their shipyard in Appledore, Devon, flagship HPV LÉ Eithne built locally in Rushbrooke and CPV LÉ Orla, the former RN HMS Swift launched in Aberdeen and which formed part of the Hong Kong Patrol Squadron.

Since Sunday, members of the URNU travelled from Dublin to Waterford and this was followed in Cork Harbour where they met with Commodore Michael Malone Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service. Another recent naval visitor albeit to Cork City quays was the Belgium Navy’s BNS Castor, a patrol vessel where relationships with the city and nation were strengthened.

In total 14 craft from the RN’s Archer P2000 class are assigned to the UNRUs though they also contribute to a wide range of fleet tasking. A RN Lieutenant commands each of the URNUs and is responsible for 51 undergraduates during their time in the Unit. The university squadron is not a recruiting organisation and membership of the URNU carries no obligation to join the Royal Navy on graduation.

Equally to the same number of P2000 craft, 14 units of the URNU are located around the UK offering opportunities to 700 undergraduates from the country’s leading universities in England, Scotland and Wales. An example been HMS Charger which has been the URNU for Liverpool University since 1990. The 54 tonnes craft is based at Brunswick Dock on the site of the new Royal Naval Headquarters on Merseyside.

The URNU aims to broaden a naval understanding and develop undergraduates who show potential through maritime experience and exposure to the values and ethos of the RN.

In addition they have opportunities to take part in sporting events, adventurous training activities and gain a CMI qualification all within a vibrant and friendly social scene.

Published in Naval Visits

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard has airlifted a sailor with leg injuries from a Royal Navy submarine off the West Coast of Ireland, as The Irish Times reports.

Sligo’s Rescue 118 helicopter was dispatched to the scene some 277km west of Achill Island yesterday morning (Tuesday 9 May), with top cover provided by the Shannon-based Rescue 115.

The submarine crewman was flown to Sligo University Hospital for treatment.

An earier version of this story erroneously reported the submarine crewman as Irish but his nationality is uncomfirmed.

Published in Coastguard

#FastPatrols  -A pair of small yet high-speed Royal Navy Inshore Patrol Craft in which one served in Gibraltar are to pay a visit to Dublin Port,writes Jehan Ashmore.

The ‘Archer’ class HMS Blazer along with HMS Ranger are to arrive today. They belong to the 14 strong P2000 Fast Inshore Patrol Craft that form the First Patrol Boat Squadron.

Primary role of the P2000’s is to support the University Royal Naval Units (URNU) but they also contribute to a wide range of Fleet tasking. Among them fishery protection duties and safeguarding the integrity of the UK's territorial waters.

The craft provide training and maritime experience for University Royal Naval Unit students and also provide support to Fleet tasking and exercises.

HMS Blazer (P279) is the URNU at Southampton Solent University, Portsmouth University and Southampton Institute.

As for HMS Ranger, this sister is the URNU at Sussex University, however she served for 13 years in the Gibraltar Squadron before returning to the UK in 2004.

Some characteristics of the Archer P2000 craft are listed below.

Tonne Displacement: 54
Top Speed: 25 knots
Nautical Range: (550 miles)
Weapons: DS3OB 30mm Gun and GAM BO 20mm Gun

The visiting Royal Navy pair are to berth at Ocean Pier from where HMS Portland also called in recent years. The Type 23 Duke class frigate was referred to related naval news regards the recently decommissioned RFA Gold Rover.

Published in Naval Visits

#Westminster - A British Royal Naval Type 23 frigate that docked in Dublin Port is half-way through a three-day courtesy call to the capital, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Duke class HMS Westminster (F237) has returned to recent active service following an extensive upkeep and trails period.

This involved dry-docking the Sea Wolf Guided Missiles equipped frigate in Portsmouth Dockyard. The extensive upgrade took place to the frigates combat and weapon systems. The works were carried out on the 133m frigate by BAE Systems.

The refit also enabled a thorough overhaul of the frigate’s main propulsion systems that delivers a speed of 28 knots.

Also work to hull was subjected to repairs and preventative maintenance. This is to ensure the vessel will be in the best possible condition for years ahead of operational duties.

HMS Westminster follows in the wake of another naval visitor of the Belgium Navy, BNS Castor designated a Ready Duty Ship (RDS). 

At the beginning of this week the UK Ambassador to Belgium was on board the RDS off Zeebrugge. This was to mark the 30th anniversary of a ferry disaster that took place off the North Sea port. 

The Ready Duty Ship departed the port today upon completion of a longer extended four-day shore leave. This saw the RDS occupy a city-centre berth. As for HMS Westminster the vessel berthed downriver along Ocean Pier.

Published in Naval Visits

#RussianSubs - Russian submarines have been tracked through the Irish Sea by the British military in recent days, according to Mail Online.

Two nuclear-powered Akula-class submarines were reportedly monitored by Royal Navy radar as they travelled to meet with a third sub tracked by Norway towards the English channel.

It’s understood all three were tracked by a Royal Navy sub before they went deep.

The situation comes after Russia unveiled a new stealth submersible craft amid escalating tensions over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s interventions in Syria.

Mail Onine has much more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

Hello and welcome aboard your maritime programme Seascapes, this week we bring you highlights from the unveiling of a fine sculture by Mark Richards in Athy, Co Kildare on the centenary to the day of the rescue of the Endurance crew from Elephant Island and the unveiling of a sculpture by Mark Richards of Sir Ernest Shackleton beside the Athy Heritage Centre in his home place complete with an Honour Guard from the Irish Naval Service, we’ll be talking to Kevin Kenny of Athy Heritage Centre ; Commander Cormac Rynne of the Irish Naval Service; Arts Officer Lucina Russell and Jack L who performed “The Wearin’ of the Green” and we also met up with Jonathan Shackleton ...... also this week Dr Gordon Dalton of MAREI on the Maribe project and the outcome of a recent conference held in Cork....first this week here on Seascapes to our Galway Studios where we can hear from Features Editor Gery Flynn of Inshore Ireland Magazine on what’s in the latest edition ...

Features Editor of Inshore Ireland magazine – Gery Flynn ....next here on Seascapes to Athy in Co Kildare where .............to coincide with the very day a hundred years ago on the 30th of August that epic rescue of The crew of The Endurance from Elephant Island was marked by a sculpture by Mark Richards being unveiled by the Mayor of Kildare , Cllr Ivan Keatley and Alexandra Shackleton with an honour guard drawn from the Irish Naval Service in attendance ....

Also present for the ceremony was local musician Jack L who spoke briefly to Seascapes before he performed this song...

Jack Lukeman performing The Wearin’ of the Green” next we spoke to Jonathan Shackleton ...

Also in attendance was Commander Cormac Rynne of the Irish Naval Service.....

From Commander Cormac RYNNE to Kildare Arts Officer , Lucina RUSSELL..
The Athy Heritage Centre is in the heart of the town and is hosting an exhibition “ By Endurance We Conquer “running until February of next year....

Lets have a final word from Kevin Kenny of Athy Heritage Centre....
MARIBE is Marine Investment for the Blue Economy , Dr Gordon Dalton who is based at MaREI ERI, at University College Cork is Maribe Project Coordinator , we last talked to him earlier this year

Dr Gordon Dalton of MAREI /ERI – Maribe Project Coordinator

We wish swimmers the “Swim Sisters” team of Lynsey Dunne -Connacht, Mary Bolger-Hinds- Leinster, Claudine Hughes -Ulster and Maighread McMahon from Munster , they will attempt to become the first four provinces, all-female team to swim the length of the largest freshwater lake in these islands , Lough Neagh – a distance of approximately 30.5km.

The “Swim Sisters “ are four experienced open water swimmers and members of the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association. And it was through their love of open water swimming that the team the " Swim Sisters " came together. Two of them , Lynsey & Maighread are veterans of two successful English Channel relay swims.You can read more about their swim on the Seascapes webpage....

That’s it for this week on your maritime programme, on the sound desk this week Niall O Sullivan , next week here on Seascapes we bring you the story of the Aud and Sir Roger Casement and highlights from the commemoration held on Banna Strand earlier this year at Easter .....Grainne McPolin was there for Seascapes when she spoke with with H.E. President Michael D Higgins we hear from local historian Pat Lawlor about Sir Roger Casement the humanitarian, explorer and seafarer and descendants of Captain Monteith and Sir Roger Casement ; until next Friday night, tight lines and fair sailing.”

A popular wedding venue a Wedding Fair is being held in The National Maritime Museum of Ireland, Haigh Terrace, Dun Laoghaire on Sunday 18th September open from 12 noon....

Ireland’s National Maritime Museum is housed in Dun Laoghaire’s 180-year-old Mariners Church, directly opposite the new DLR Lexicon library and easily accessible by DART suburban train and several bus services. The museum’s greatest artefact is probably the building itself as it is one of a few custom built places of worship for seafarers remaining intact in the world to-day.

Experienced guides will bring you on a voyage of discovery enthralling you with stories of discovery, heroism, war and disasters at sea. You will learn about maritime history, exploration, navigation, radio, deep-sea cable technology, nature, wildlife and view art inspired by the sea.

See the 10-tonne revolving Baily Optic, try the electrified steam engine and pause to reflect at the Titanic exhibit, the re-created radio room, the Royal Navy prisoners docks and the war memorial. Try sailor’s knots, learn how they lift heavy weights, be photographed with the pirate, research in the library, visit the shop and café and much more.

Published in Seascapes

There are moments in life which are inexplicable.

Such it was when I stood at the gate of a very old graveyard in Vittorosia just outside Valetta in the capital of Malta.

I had never been there before yet something told me where, amidst the many graves, was the one which I was seeking and, without hesitation I walked through the graveyard, straight to it.

I cannot explain how I sensed exactly where the grave of the young sailor I was seeking, was located.

Something told me where he was buried (pictured below).

GRAVE OF THOMAS McSWEENEYIN MALTA

There was a reason I was looking for his grave.

He was the last man to be hung from the yardarm by the British Royal Navy. A horrible, terrible, brutal punishment.

He was Irish.

He was from Cork, my home county

He was my namesake – Thomas McSweeney.

Incredible?

Definitely.

For some time I had been researching the story of this young man who, at the age of 19, enlisted in the Royal Marine and who was hung from the yardarm of the ship on which he served four years later, condemned in a questionable courtmartial, which had seeds of anti-Irishness, for murder.

It is the subject of this edition of my radio programme. THIS ISLAND NATION, which has personal emotion for me.

When I stood at the grave of that young man, it was an odd feeling to see one’s own name on a headstone and to learn that, 139 years after his execution this month, unidentified Maltese people still honour him by putting lights and fresh flowers on his grave.

Listen to the Podcast of the programme below for an unusual, different story.

Published in Island Nation
Page 1 of 6

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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