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Displaying items by tag: Navy

When Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett became head of our Defence Forces in September 2015, he was the first Navy officer to take the post.

The Mayo man, who learned to sail at Rosmoney and around Clew Bay’s islands, has served several times overseas with the UN and has a PhD in ocean governance. He is passionate about the sea and its potential, and about its future in an era of climate change. He has spoken in several recent issues about climate breakdown as our greatest threat, and climate justice as a major global issue.

Vice Admiral Mellett is due to retire in September, and will be succeeded by former Air Corps search and rescue pilot Major General Sean Clancy.

He spoke to Afloat about some of the issues he has dealt with – from the Defence Forces response to the Covid-19 pandemic to diversity and inclusion in the military.

LÉ James Joyce (P62) one of the Irish Navy's offshore patrol vesselsLÉ James Joyce (P62) one of the Irish Navy's offshore patrol vessels

“Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance,” he explains, emphasising the benefits to an organisation of diversity and “disruptive” thinking.

He also spoke about the ongoing issue of pay and retention within the Defence Forces.

“When I look at the quality and the loyalty and the dedication of our women and men within the Defence Forces, you could never pay them too much,” the outgoing chief of staff says.”They are extraordinary servants of the State...

Vice Admiral Mellett spoke about his future plans, and remembered how emotional he felt about looking in at the Mayo coast from the sea and not having a decent berth for a ship on his home coast.

The development of offshore renewable energy may be a gamechanger for west coast ports like Rossaveal and further north, he predicted.

I first asked him about that famous arrest at sea which he received a distinguished service medal for in 1994 – the capture the previous year of the drug-running ketch Brime.

Listen to Wavelengths HERE

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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The Naval Service, the maritime component of the Defence Forces with a support base and headquarters located in the Naval Base, Haulbowline, Co.Cork is seeking applications for a variety of roles in the service according to the latest adverts on public jobs.ie.

Applicants are required to fill engineering, chef, carpenter and electrical roles.

As Afloat reported recently, there has been a mass exodus of personnel from the Service.

The Service is now accepting applications for the positions where successful candidates – after full military and on the job training – become an integral part of the maintenance team providing technical support onboard a fleet of nine ships.

Applicants must be 18 years of age and under 27 years of age on the date of application.

Check out the jobs here

Published in Navy
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The fishing vessel Ellie Adhamh, the seven-person crew of which were evacuated by Coast Guard Helicopters on Saturday evening, has sunk in approximately 80m of water over two miles North of the Bull Rock, at the entrance to Kenmare Bay.

Valentia Coast Guard who coordinated the operation monitored the vessels situation overnight as it drifted in a northerly direction.

A local Tug hired by the owners was on scene all morning evaluating options to tow the vessel to a place of safety.

A second local Tug was also proceeding to the scene but it was evident from early morning that the vessels condition was deteriorating.

Sinking fast - The bow of the fishing vessel Ellie Adhamh seconds before the trawler sank in approximately 80m of water over two miles North of the Bull Rock, at the entrance to Kenmare BayThe bow of the fishing vessel Ellie Adhamh seconds before the trawler sank in approximately 80m of water over two miles North of the Bull Rock, at the entrance to Kenmare Bay. See vid below

A Coast Guard spokesperson expressed relief that there was no loss of life and acknowledged the professionalism of all who had been involved in the operation, as Afloat reported previously including Naval Service ship LE George Bernard Shaw, Castletownbere RNLI, Coast Guard Helicopter crews, owners and their representatives.

Published in Coastguard

“We’ll always give our best, treat every incident as if it is one of our own.... and try our utmost to get a missing family member back to their loved one.....”

The words of Lieut Stephen Stack, head of the Naval Service diving unit, speaking about what keeps his colleague “motivated and driven to succeed”.

Last year, Sub-Lieut Tahlia Britton from Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal, became the first female to qualify for the Naval Service diving unit. A former champion surfer, she studied podiatry at NUI Galway but always wanted to join the military.

Sub-Lieut Tahlia Britton enters the water from off a Navy RIB Sub-Lieut Tahlia Britton enters the water from off a Navy RIB Photo: Davy Jones/Óglaigh na hÉireann

She has described the mental and physical challenges of being a Navy diver in an interview recorded for RTÉ Seascapes, the full version of which is on a Wavelengths podcast this week (below).

Search and recovery is just one aspect of the work of Navy divers, which is, as Stack says “not glamorous...”

Navy divers in training at Haulbowline Photo: Davy Jones/Óglaigh na hÉireannNavy divers in training at Haulbowline Photo: Davy Jones/Óglaigh na hÉireann

One of the team’s recent challenging operations was the three-week-long search after the 12-metre steel-hulled boat, Alize, fishing out of Duncannon, Co Wexford, went down some 6½ miles off Hook Head, Co Wexford just over a year ago on January 4th, 2020.

A briefing before a diveA briefing for a dive team at Haulbowline Naval base Photo: Davy Jones/Óglaigh na hÉireann

Joe Sinnott (65) from Kilmore Quay was recovered off Duncannon by the Irish Coast Guard Waterford-based Rescue 117 helicopter.

The body of skipper Willie Whelan (41), recently married and from Fethard-on-Sea, was located by the Hook Sub Aqua Club, and it was taken from the wreck of the new vessel by the Naval Service diving team.

“It was in very deep water, it was very complex, the weather wasn’t great, “Lieut Stack said, describing it as technically the most challenging operation he had been involved in recently.

He has paid tribute to the Garda Water Unit and the voluntary search and recovery groups that the Navy divers also work with in their aid to civil power role.

You can hear a taste of the aptitude test which aspiring Navy divers have to undergo at the Naval Service base at Haulbowline, along with interviews with Stack and Britton – including what she might sing underwater - below

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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Coincidence is amazing, even if it's hard to believe. This week I'm inclined to credibility after Foreign Affairs, and Defence Minister Simon Coveney espoused the importance of the Naval Reserve when announcing the Government decision to establish a Commission "to ensure that the Defence Forces are fit for purpose" and then hearing that the same Reserve had used the 'god of the sea' - Neptune - for a purpose never thought of in the maritime world – to please the American Navy and bring the game of basketball to Ireland!

Minister Coveney, himself a Cork Harbour man, emphasised the importance of the Reserve, which was formerly known as the Slua Muiri and had its own yacht, the Nancy Bet.

Nancy Bet in 1987Nancy Bet in 1987

I had just met another Corkman for my Maritime Ireland radio show, who told me that the Navy and the Slua had been used by the Irish government after the end of the Second World War to ease anti-Irish sentiment over Ireland's neutrality in that conflict, when the American Navy visited Cork Harbour.

A Slua Muiri photo at a Training Camp in Fort CamdenA Slua Muiri photo at a Training Camp in Fort Camden

"Recreational exchange with the visitors was arranged through their favourite game, basketball and the Navy was instructed to make sure it happened and to develop public interest. The Maritime Inscription of the time, then the Slua, was handed the task and they invoked the 'god of the sea' – Neptune – to make it all happen," said another Corkman, Jim O'Donoghue, who showed me the cover of the new history he has written of what became Ireland's leading basketball club, which shows Neptune in a pose no mariner would have expected – holding his trident in one hand and a basketball in the other.

It is a fascinating story and for those who would like to read more the book, 'Gods of the Lee,' is available at, Vibes & Scribes, Bandon and Carrigaline Book Stores and Amazon.

Nancy Bet in Crosshaven BoatyardNancy Bet in Crosshaven Boatyard

Listen to the Podcast below, a preview specially for Afloat readers, linking mariners, Naval forces and sport and leading me to make further checks about the Slua Muiri vessel, Nancy Bet, which was at Crosshaven Boatyard for many years before being removed to Arklow where I understand she now is. More about that anon.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Spencer Jetty in Haulbowline Naval Base in Cork Harbour is to be upgraded to provide for the berthage requirements for the Naval Service fleet.

The Minister for Defence, Mr Simon Coveney T.D., has announced the funding consists of:

  • Remedial and strengthening works to the steel piles and concrete deck
  • Construction of a raised turning area/parking zone and access ramp to the Jetty
  • Upgrading of bollards, rails and ladders
  • Provision of new fendering

The Spencer Jetty Upgrade will stabilise the currently unusable Jetty structure and protect the sea entrance to the NS Dockyard and Basin. The upgraded facility will also provide the Naval Service with an additional short term berth.

Spencer Jetty is located at the Haulbowline Haulbowline's Spencer Jetty is located behind the Gas Carrier ship Photo: Bob Bateman

The project is part of the Plan to increase berthing capacity for the current fleet in three distinct standalone infrastructural projects, with the Spencer Jetty Upgrade delivered as Phase 1. All of these projects are included in the 5-year Infrastructure Development Plan.

Minister Coveney stated that the refurbishment and upgrading of the facility is being undertaken as part of the 5-year Infrastructure Development Plan which was announced earlier this year. Today’s announcement is part of a suite of investments we are making in our Defence Forces over the next 5 years, to ensure that our Defence Forces are enabled to contribute fully to their assigned roles.

Commencement of construction work on-site is planned for before the end of the year with the works expected to take one year to complete.

This project provides for an investment of some €1.4m (excl VAT) to provide for the berthage needs at Haulbowline.

Published in Navy
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 A French-registered fishing vessel has been detained by the Naval Service patrol ship LÉ William Butler Yeats (P63) off the south-west coast.

The detention approximately 45 nautical miles south-west of Mizen Head was in relation to alleged breaches of fishing regulations, according to the Defence Forces press office.

The vessel is being escorted to Castletownbere, Co Cork, where it will be handed over to the Garda.

It is the 12th vessel detained by the Naval Service in 2020, working with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.

As Afloat reported previously, the LÉ William Butler Yeats also detained a French fishing vessel in July, off the Blaskets.

Published in Navy
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Gardaí are investigating an incident where a body was recovered offshore from Dun Laoghaire Harbour, on Dublin Bay yesterday, (Friday, 9th October). 

The Naval Service's coastal patrol vessel LÉ Ciara (P42) assisted with the recovery of the body.

The body of the deceased was taken to the local mortuary and, according to a Navy spokeswoman, the incident is now a matter for an Garda Siochana.

Enquiries are ongoing and there is no further information at this time, according to a Garda spokeswoman.

As Afloat reported yesterday, LE Ciara arrived into Dun Laoghaire Harbour yesterday at lunch-time, berthed overnight at number four berth and departed this morning (Saturday, October 10th).

Local sources told Afloat the body was of a female and was recovered well offshore but this was not confirmed.

The Naval Service is carrying out an internal investigation into the fire on board the LÉ Niamh moored alongside Cork Dockyard at Rushbrooke in Cork Harbour which occurred on Saturday.

As Afloat reported earlier, Fire service Units from Cobh, Midleton, and Cork City were called.

Defence Forces Press Office said no injuries to naval service personnel or Cork Dockyard staff.

"While a full investigation into the cause of the fire will be conducted, it is thought to have started in a stores compartment adjacent to where cutting work was being carried out by engineers," the spokesperson said."The ships Duty Watch responded to the alarm and carried out firefighting to contain the fire and prevent any spread.

Published in Navy
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A French-registered fishing vessel has been detained by the Naval Service off the south-west coast.

The LÉ William Butler Yeats (P63) detained the vessel for alleged breaches of fishing regulations after a boarding inspection approximately 11 nautical miles south-west of the Blasket Islands.

The vessel is being escorted to Dingle, Co Kerry, where it will be handed over the Garda, the Defence Forces press office said.

This is the eleventh vessel detained by the Naval Service in 2020.

Published in Navy
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