Displaying items by tag: naval service
#AoifeVoyageMalta - ‘Aoife’ (P62) departed Cork Harbour for the final time marking an end of an era for the Naval Service, as she passed Roches Point Lighthouse bound for Malta to serve a new career yet remain in a naval role, writes Jehan Ashmore.
As previously reported on Afloat which has been monitoring movements of the former Naval Service OPV LÉ Aoife (P22) which on Monday this week had passed the same lighthouse at lunchtime. Then that departure was confirmed to Afloat by Cork Dockyard as the 1,019 tonnes vessel was about to begin sea-trials following a refit at the facility.
The decision by the Irish Government to donate the second ‘Emer’ class patrolship dating to 1979 to Malta, had raised eyebrows by military brass from the island state. The concerns were over her age and it was questioned as to the suitability in the role of shoring up the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) naval squadron in search and rescue (SAR) missions of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea.
Under a new pennant number of P62, the patroship easily becomes the largest to serve in the AFM’s naval squadron. The delivery voyage to the Maltese capital of Valetta is expected to take a week.
To reflect on the career of LÉ Aoife that spanned 35 years of service to the State in which she travelled in excess of 600,000 nautical miles. That’s the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe 28 times. Her crew boarded over 4,700 vessels at sea and detained over 440 fishing vessels. In this role which was primarily her main work as fishery protection vessel, however she also carried out SAR and most notably, the recovery in 1985 of the black box from Air India Flight 182 off the south west coast.
As for the debate over her donation, there were calls domestically to retain the OPV. In Waterford, her adopted homeport there were calls to keep the Irish built (Verolme Cork Dockyard) OPV as a floating museum. This was regarded as an apt proposal given she was decommissioned in the south-eastern cityport.
In addition Cork County Mayor also called for the same proposal by having the OPV turned into a floating museum located near Naval Service headquarters at the base on Haulbowline Island in the face of what was regarded as a ‘snub’ by the Maltese.
This leaves the question what will become of the final ‘Emer’ class OPV? The LÉ Aisling (P23) given in the knowledge that she will be replaced in 2016 also in the form of a final sister, that been the newbuild LÉ William Butler Yeates.
She is the final unit from the current batch of a trio of OPV90 class sisters also dubbed the ‘Beckett’ class that are phase one of the Naval Service’s replacement and modernisation programme.
The second sister LÉ James Joyce (P62) was commissioned into service this year.
LÉ Samuel Beckett (P61) since September has been in the Mediterranean as part of 'Operations Pontus'. The OPV90 leadship has been tasked to assist in SAR missions that has seen almost 1,000 people saved from overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels controlled by people traffickers while off the coast of Libya, north Africa.
So what shall become of the future role of LÉ Aisling? To keep the vessel in Irish waters as part of our maritime heritage? or placed to serve in the same role of her elder sister in the ongoing crisis in the Med?
Or for the Irish Government to assess in another humanitarian mission elsewhere in the world?
As the Irish Examiner reports, a new book by Martin Buckley titled The Ninth Ship - The Irish Naval Diving Section charts the history of the Naval Service's subaquatic division, which began when Lt Joe Deasy was sent to the UK for months of torpedo anti-submarine training.
Diving happened to be part of the curriculum, and Lt Deasy returned to Haulbowline in 1964 as the Naval Service's first qualified diver.
Within a decade the navy had chalked up its first major team diving operation, on the IRA gunrunning vessel Claudia, and later built a reputation as rescue experts, assisting in the wake of 1979's Bantry oil tanker explosion and the Air India disaster in 1985 among others.
The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.
#NavalBudget - An allocation of €904m in Defence funding for 2016 was announced by Minister Coveney today.
The increased allocation for 2016 represents a new very significant commitment to Defence and will allow Defence to deliver on the commitments outlined in the recently published White Paper on Defence.
Minister Coveney stated: Today’s Budget announcement marks a new chapter in spending and commitment for the Defence Forces. For the past number of years it has been necessary to stabilise the economy and put the national finances on a sound footing but now Defence expenditure, linked to the White Paper on Defence, is increasing again. The White Paper on Defence sets out the roles that Government have assigned to the Defence Forces and looks at associated capability requirements. The allocation of over €900 million to Defence will enable the Defence Forces to undertake these roles with professionalism and dedication.
It will also facilitate the implementation of the White Paper proposals, including the replacement of major equipment platforms and other priorities for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service. As previously reported on Afloat.ie this involves three new patrol ships.
Minister Coveney emphasised the significance of the Capital allocation of €66m in 2016 and €437m over the period of the ‘Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021 Plan’. This will allow Defence to prioritise and plan for significant capital investment programmes over the coming years. Minister Coveney stated: We have had a very good outcome from the capital plan announced recently, where, over the next six years, we will see an increase in capital expenditure for Defence to a total of €437m over the life of the Capital Investment Plan.
The 2016 budgetary allocation will allow Ireland to continue to deliver on all roles prescribed for the Defence Forces, both domestically and overseas and Minister Coveney highlighted, in particular, the role played by the Naval Service in their deployment to the Mediterranean this year, as he stated: The people of Ireland can truly be proud of the work the Naval Service has done and is continuing to do and I wish them every continued success with their work. This is in addition to the ongoing high standard of performance by the Defence Forces on other overseas missions and in their various security roles at home.
Financial Overview: The gross allocation provided to the Defence Sector in 2016 is €904m: comprising of some €680m for Defence (Vote 36) and €224m for Army Pensions (Vote 35). Some €498m of the Defence Vote provides for the pay and allowances, of over 10,500 public service employees. This pay provision will allow for ongoing recruitment and the Minister has re-affirmed his commitment to maintain the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at a level of 9,500.
The non-pay allocation of €182m (including €66m in capital) provides mainly for essential and ongoing Defence Forces standing and operational costs together with the necessary procurement and upgrading of defensive equipment.
The Naval Vessel Replacement Programme continued in 2015 with the addition to the fleet of the LÉ James Joyce and the third ship purchased under the programme, the future LÉ William Butler Years, is scheduled for delivery in July 2016. This programme was advanced without recourse to additional funding and was financed through careful management of financial resources.
The Defence Vote also includes funding for the Reserve Defence Force, Civil Defence and a grant to the Irish Red Cross Society.
As regards the Army Pensions Vote, there are over 12,100 military pensioners paid by the Department of Defence. Army Pensions expenditure is largely non-discretionary and demand-driven.
The launch of the White Paper on Defence has established the strategic parameters within which Defence will operate over the next decade and Defence policy will need to be responsive to any emergent changes in the domestic and international peace and security environment.
#NavalPay- The Irish Times reports that members of the Naval Service rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean are not entitled to full overseas service payments because they are not in danger, the Department of Defence has said.
PDforra, the association representing soldiers, sailors and aircrew, is urging Minister for Defence Simon Coveney to pay those on the international rescue mission in the Mediterranean the same daily allowances as soldiers deployed in world trouble spots.
Members of the Army serving in missions in Lebanon and the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria are entitled to €80 per day tax free as well as their usual salaries.
However, those sailors working in the Mediterranean have been offered €50 per day, tax free.
PDforra says the ships the Naval Service personnel are working on are fully armed and that sailors have had to produce their firearms when pulling up alongside some boats packed with migrants.
Because of that, it believes the personnel are entitled to the full daily payments, which would be worth between €1,500 and €2,000 tax free over a tour of duty.
The newspaper has more on the story, click here.
#BeckettRescue - The patrol ship LÉ Samuel Beckett of the Naval Service has rescued 242 people off the Libyan coast on its first humanitarian tasking in the Mediterranean, reports The Irish Times.
The ship, which took over from the LÉ Niamh last week, located a wooden craft with 237 men and five women on board about 80 km north-west of Tripoli around 8am Irish time yesterday.
The overloaded craft had been sighted at 3am by an Italian naval helicopter, and the Italian Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre directed a number of ships to the area, including the LÉ Samuel Beckett and the British naval service ship HMS Enterprise.
For more on the story, click here.
The Government believes the rescue mission, undertaken in conjunction with the Italian Coastguard, can be suspended given the likelihood that winter weather and Mediterranean storms will drastically reduce the number of migrant boats being launched.
Defence Minister Simon Coveney has hinted that Ireland will consider ordering a fourth Naval Service patrol ship to waters off Sicily and Libya in early 2016 if formally requested to do so by the EU.
Three Irish ships - LÉ Eithne, LÉ Niamh and LÉ Samuel Beckett - have rescued more than 7,500 migrants since the first navy ship was deployed last May.
The Government confirmed plans to bring the LÉ Samuel Beckett back to Ireland without a replacement vessel in early December.
The move came as it emerged Cork and Kerry are set to be asked to accommodate the first 100 Syrian refugees to arrive.
For further coverage the newspaper has more by clicking here.
The sun shone at its best for Royal Cork's Unveiling of a Commemorative Plaque at the Naval Base in Haulbowline in Cork Harbour last Friday writes Claire Bateman. The Naval Base was resplendent and also at its best. From driving over the newly reconstructed bridge following the cars of other guests arriving there was a feeling all round something important was about to take place. From the cheery greeting of the security personnel to the welcoming cup of tea or coffee at the Officers Mess the atmosphere was filled with bonhomie and anticipation.
This was the day of the eagerly awaited official unveiing of the newly refurbished plaque commerating the location of the Club’s first clubhouse in 1720 at Haulbowline Island. While enjoying the refreshments, the buzz of conversation and meeting with the club representatives and friends was creating a remarkable atmosphere for what was to be a remarkable occasion and coupled with the Naval Personnel resplendent in their immaculate uniforms and the Royal Cork representatives in their formal club attire made for an elegant gathering to mark the occasion.
L. to R. Captain Michael Malone, Cdr. William Roberts and Lt. Jason O’Brien. Photo Robert Bateman
The occasion was marked by the presence of the highest ranking Naval Service Officer in Ireland, Rear Admiral Mark Mellett DSM, soon to be Admiral and Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces. On arrival the guests were welcomed by Commodore Hugh Tully of the Naval Service and then it was time for the arrival of the Minister for Agriculture, Food, The Marine and Defence, Simon Coveney T.D. The Minister ‘of course’ is also a popular member of the Royal Cork Yacht Club.
Minister Coveney addressing the attendance. Photo Robert Bateman
The formal part of the proceedings then commenced with an address by Commodore Hugh Tully who invited the Minister to perform the ceremony of the unveiling of the commemorative plaque. The Minister gave a most interesting account of the entire history of the Royal Cork to date from sailing in Cork Harbour in the 1600s to the formation of the Water Club of the Harbour of Corke in 1720. His speech then ranged to developments in the harbour some of which have already taken place with more in the pipeline involving a total spend of half a billion euro for the area. Here one has to say the Minister has pushed relentlessly for the betterment of the harbour and its surrounds and is to be highly commended for this. The Minister then unveiled the commemorative plaque that was originally commissioned by the late Bernie Cahill during his term as Admiral of the Royal Cork.
Royal Cup Admiral Pat Lyons. Photo Robert Bateman
The current Admiral of the Royal Cork, Pat Lyons, then spoke and referred to the excellent relationship enjoyed between the Naval Service and the Club. He also referred to the plans being made for the celebrations for the 300th anniversary of the yacht club with which the Naval Service will be very much involved and details of which will be revealed as time moves on towards 2020.
Former RCYC Admirals T.E.Crosbie and David O’Brien. Other former Admirals in attendance were Archie O’Leary, Bill Walsh, Tony O’Connor, Bill O’Mahony, Anthony O’Leary, Peter Crowley, Hugh Mockler and Paddy McGlade. Photo Robert Bateman
The official part of the proceedings concluded with a blessing from the Naval Chaplain, Fr. Des Campion, and the naval personnel and their guests then enjoyed a delightful lunch in the elegant surrounds of the Officers Mess and the celebration finished on a high note.
Naval Chaplain Fr. Des Campion. Photo Robert Bateman
It was a happy day, a proud day, and a day to get a glimpse of life inside the naval base and see what wonderful work they do. We read all about them and their difficult work in the far flung corners of the world and also patrolling our own shores. To enjoy their hospitality, cordiality and graciousness to their guests was indeed a delightful experience. We, the Irish people have an awful lot to be proud of in our defence forces and a lot to thank them for as they are always there in times of need and never shirk from the often very arduous duties they carry out on our behalf.
Afloat's Claire Bateman with (left) Rear Admiral Mark Mellett and Neil Kenefick
#CadetClass- Simon Coveney, Minister for Defence, this morning attended a Naval Service Commissioning Ceremony of the 53rd Naval Service Cadet Class.
The event took place at the Naval Base, in Haulbowline, Co. Cork, where the Minister offered his congratulations to the newly commissioned officers and remarked that “I offer my warmest congratulations to all of you for the commitment you are making to the State. Each one of you, together with your families and friends, can be justifiably proud of your achievement”.
Minister Coveney also paid tribute to the ongoing humanitarian work being carried out by the Naval Service in the Mediterranean “The actions of both the LÉ Eithne and LÉ Niamh have highlighted the capability and commitment that has always been the hallmark of Ireland’s Naval Service”.
The Minister said that the L.É. Samuel Beckett will be deployed to the Mediterranean from the end of September until the end of November this year and stated that “The people of Ireland can truly be proud of the marvellous work the Naval Service has done and is continuing to do and I wish them every continued success with their work”.
The responses off the Libyan coast – which included the rescue of 124 and 127 people respectively from inflatable craft, and saving 129 from a sinking dinghy – bring the LÉ Niamh's total rescued to 3,723.
That tops the number saved by sister ship the LÉ Eithne, which returned from its nine-week deployment in July.
#GhostYacht - The Naval Service recently sank a 'ghost yacht' off the Irish coast for safety reasons - much to the dismay of its owner.
As The Telegraph reports, German national Thomas Mallanut had travelled to Cornwall after he learned the yacht he'd abandoned off Bermuda almost a year ago, when his wife took seriously ill, was spotted between Ireland and the UK - some 2,700 away.
But yesterday he learned that Irish navy personnel had been ordered to sink the 26-foot yacht as it posed a hazard to shipping.
"He thought he would never see Troll again," said Truro man David Chidell, who had offered to help Mallanut locate his vessel. “It’s just a shame when Tom was told in August that the Irish Navy had spotted it he wasn’t subsequently informed they had decided to sink it.”
The Telegraph has more on the story HERE.