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Displaying items by tag: Finnish Navy

#FirstFinnish – For the first time the Finnish Navy made a historic visit to Dublin yesterday when flagship FNS Hämeenmaa arrived on the Liffey quays to begin a four-day call, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 1,300 displacement minelayer had sailed from Funchal, Madeira following an annual exercise that began in the Baltic and North Seas and the Atlantic Ocean. On arrival to Dublin Bay, L.E. Orla escorted the Finnish flagship upriver in the port though the Naval Service CPV departed this morning.

This year is special for Finns, as the Nordic nation that is bordered by Norway and Russian Federation, celebrations a centenary of Independence. The theme of the Finnish Defence Forces' Finland 100 Jubilee Year is ‘National defence is everybody's business’.

The population of Finland is around 5.5m and the capital Helsinki has some 624,000 inhabitants. Only 6% of Finns however live in the sparcely populated countryside that constitutes 70% of the total land mass.

Afloat took the opportunity to board the FNS Hämeenmaa that berthed at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay from where as previously reported the 77m flagship was made open yesterday to the public. Speaking to crew members and officers, it was also established that sistership, FNS Uusimaa took the honour of been the first ever Finnish Navy ship to visit Ireland. On that occasion the minelayer made a visit to Cork Harbour and is understood to have taken place around 2010.

According to the Irish Navy, the Finnish Navy contributes a ship to the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group (SNMCMG). This is a multi-national counter mine force that exercises around Europe and that takes responsibility for example, for disposal of WWII sea mines that are still frequently encountered in the Baltic and off the French coast.

FNS Hämeenmaa is based in Upinniemi and FNS Uusimaa is in Pansio, outside Turku which is one of three major shipyards controlled by STX Cruise Finland Oy. They construct some of the world’s largest cruiseships and their predecessors have also built numerous Baltic cruise-ferries, notably also the Dublin based Irish Ferries Ulysses and that of the Finnish flagship.

The flagship features a raked bow for Baltic winter conditions and likewise of the sister they are a smaller version of FNS Pohjanmaa. This minelayer has been decommissioned, however newbuilds are in order to replace the existing pair. According to an officer, a quartet of Finnish built corvettes have been ordered and they will also replace another trio of naval units in the fleet. Delivery of the corvettes are due between 2020 and 2025.

Following FNS Hämeenmaa’s call to the capital, the minelayer will head for the English Channel and to the North Sea so to take a transit of the Kiel Canal, Germany. From there the flagship’s return to the Baltic Sea will lead to a call to Stettin, Poland. The Finnish Navy will then participate among other nations for Nato's BALTOPS a major naval exercise.

Published in Naval Visits

The Finnish Navy minelayer FNS Hämeenmaa is to dock in the Port of Cork at the city's central North Custom House Quay tomorrow morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.

FNS Hämeenmaa entered service in 1992 and measures 1,450 tonnes, she is the namesake class of two minelayers, the second FNS Uusimaa was also built by Finnyards in the same year.

At nearly 78m long the steel hulled vessels which have an alloy superstructure are designed to operate throughout the year in the demanding Baltic Sea conditions and the in the archipelago's.

They have an ice operating classification of ICE-1A and for military purposes they became one of first Finnish Navy vessels to incorporate stealth technology features. The pair are primarily tasked for minelaying duties but they also provide roles acting as an escort, transport and depot ships.

Armament comprises of 1 × Bofors 57 mm dual-purpose gun, 1 × eight-cell ItO 04 surface-to-air missile launcher, 2 × anti-submarine rocket launchers, 2 × depth charge rails and 100-150 sea mines (four mine laying rails).

Based in Pansio, the 20 knot vessels each have a crew complement of 60 personal. In total the Finnish Navy has around 2,100 officers, officer specialists and warrant officers, military personnel and civilian's workers.

On an annual basis close to 3,900 conscripts, of which approximately 30 are women volunteers do their military service in the navy. In addition about 3,400 reservists are trained yearly in naval refresher courses.

Published in Navy
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