Sunday, August 21, 2011


Aoife P22 at Waterford, Ireland July 2011.
During our visit home to Waterford for the Tall Ships Festival the Escort Vessel attending was LÉ Aoife P22 of the Irish Naval Service, the Maritime Division of the Irish Defence Forces/Óglaigh na hÉireann does the Irish Naval Service do all day?  Ireland being a small country - currently like the rest of the EU in economic recession - uses its resources to the best effect.  

The Naval Service (NS) as the principal seagoing agency of the State has the multiple missions of patrolling the Irish coastline for Search and Rescue, enforcing the Exclusive Fishery Limit (EFL), and Fishery Protection in waters beyond the 200 nautical mile EFL.  In this they are supported by the Irish Air Corps, the Air Division of the Irish Defence Forces, flying two maritime patrol CASA CN-235 Persuader aircraft. 

CASA CN-235 Persuader
The NS operates the National Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) using satellites on a 365/24 watch system in partnership with the other EU maritime nations.  The FMC supports the eight (8) NS patrol ships and tracks the fishing vessel activity by the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).  All fishing vessels over 15 metres transmit their registration code and position while underway.  This shows up automatically at FMC where at any one time up to 300 fishing vessels are being monitored and tracked on screen.  The NS patrol ships are also equipped with an electronic display to monitor vessels in their assigned patrol area.

NS Watchofficer monitors the display.

NS Boarding for examination
The Naval Service HQ is at Haulbowline Naval Base, Cork Harbour and this is the site of FMC.  Across the harbour estuary is the National Maritime College (NMC) operated by the Cork Institute of Technology.  Irish Naval Officers and Merchant Navy Officers train there together, the NS Officers do their military training separately at the Defence Forces Academy.  In addition to recruiting from High Schools and College Undergraduates, the Naval Service also recruits as needed Merchant Navy Deck Officers and Marine Engineer Officers.

Good Watch.

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia.  Also pirate attacks are becoming all too frequent on the Coast of West Africa once again.

No comments: