View Full Version : L.E. Niamh ship leaves Cork to establish Liberia base

8th October 2003, 12:00
Navy ship leaves Cork for Liberia

RTE Website (http://www.rte.ie/news/2003/1008/navy.html)

October 8, 2003

(11:22) The Naval Service vessel, LE Niamh, left the Haulbowline Naval Base in Cork this morning for Liberia to carry out a reconnaissance mission.

Together with the Irish Army, the Navy are to set up a base for Irish troops joining the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Liberia following the end of the civil war.

In eight days' time the ship will reach the port of Monrovia, where it will provide security back-up, communications and logistic support for the Army party.

The Niamh is carrying military vehicles and stores aboard.

The reconnaissance mission is to establish a base and plan for the deployment of 400 troops due to go to Liberia later this year.

8th October 2003, 12:02

8th October 2003, 12:02
well i wish them the best of luck!

8th October 2003, 12:15
What did you do, give away secrets or just insult them?

8th October 2003, 12:18
Best of luck lads, and do us pround (as you usually do).
Out of interest, what vechials could you fit on board ther Niamh???

8th October 2003, 12:26
Originally posted by Bravo20
What did you do, give away secrets or just insult them?

neither.... sorry to disapoint!
this section of the board doesnt let you delete your own posts, i just made a slight error!

8th October 2003, 16:02
An interesting and welcome development.

However, does anyone find the deployment of the L.E. Niamh strange due to the fact that Niamh has no Helicopter landing pad and if a small number troops need to be supported in a hurry surely there is need of a helicopter (drop, evac, med-evac, fire support - if only a door MG). Even though apparently the Dauphin is no longer deployed from Eithne this should not matter, I am not talking about take off/landings at sea, but from a stationery ship (with an onboard hanger) in port. I know that it has a heavier weapon than the Eithne, but I really don't think the 76mm could ever be used to shell land targets (neither efficient nor I would think in line with policy, also if fire support is needed then bring a 105 along).

Also, I thought the White Paper just about rulled out an operational deployment of this type, limiting the NS role to re-supply?

I too would be interested to know what vehicles are on-board, has the Niamh a previously unmentioned "Flex" capability?


Frank Aiken
8th October 2003, 16:26
Why not send the two ships? This would be a major involvement. Or would that over streach the N.S. from its patrolling?

Remeber a artical in an cosintoir back a while when the 2 Bn did a beach landing in gormastown, would this be a chance to put that into real practice.

If it is a recce mission, they might be carring ARW, and the it may be motor bikes there bringing with them, didn't they do this in east teamor?

8th October 2003, 16:41
The NS can't spare 2 ships for any length of time.

As for beach landings, the exercise that was desribed in An Costanoir only involved landing a recce team. It would hardly be feasable for large scale deployment.

8th October 2003, 18:11
I seem to remember an article in cosantoir a while back describing a training exercise carried out by an rdf unit. It involved some sort of a naval trip and landing from the Eithne. The troops were billeted in the hangar

8th October 2003, 18:42
L.E. Niamh is carrying 3 x Nissan Patrol jeeps (in UN white, naturally) along with associated trailer(s).

8th October 2003, 18:45
But where did they find the room to put them? Did they have to leave some crew or supplies behind or was Niamh designed with this role in mind?

8th October 2003, 18:47
Three Nissans and a trailer

8th October 2003, 18:49
hit reply before I have finished!!

Two on the stern and one to port.

8th October 2003, 18:51
Thats fair enough I suppose. I presume that there will be more vehicles to follow i.e. mowags etc when the rest of the troops arrive

8th October 2003, 19:32
Irish reconnaissance mission on way to Liberia
By Piaras Murphy Last updated: 08-10-03, 15:26
Irish Times

The first stage of a possible deployment of Irish peacekeeping troops in Liberia took place today as the Naval Service vessel, LE Niamh, left Cork to set up base for a reconnaissance mission in Liberia.

The LE Niamh left Haulbowline Naval Base in Cork this morning carrying vehicles and other supplies to the capital Monrovia where it will become a base for an Irish mission, supplying security back-up, communications and logistics.

The reconnaissance mission - which will be flown down to arrive simultaneously with the LE Niamh in Monrovia - is aimed at establishing whether it would be safe or appropriate for Irish troops to be deployed in the civil-war torn country.

The reconnaissance mission will be made up of up to 10 Staff Officers who are experts in various fields including logistics and medicine.

They will sleep aboard the vessel each night and survey the situation in and around the Liberian capital during the day with vehicles supplied by the LE Niamh.

The mission - which will start in eight days time - is expected to last a week and when complete the Staff Officers will report their findings to the General Staff.

The General Staff will then report their findings to the Minister for Defence, Mr Michael Smith. He will then bring the findings to Cabinet. If the Cabinet agrees to deloy a peacekeeping force then the matter will go before the Dáil.

Around 450 troops would be deployed if the Dáil gives the go-ahead for the peacekeeping mission.

8th October 2003, 21:33
Ok so we complained about lack of suitable fighting vehicles for over seas service.

We are now sending fishery protection vessels to war zones....
what next.....has smith lost his ****ing mind ?

Okay so there are very few potent naval forces in the area but small suicide craft damaged the USS Cole almost fatally and she's a whole lot bigger than the L.E. Niamh. they haven't even got rapid firing cannon.....only .5inch machine guns....I don't like the look of this!

8th October 2003, 22:09
Originally posted by Stinger
I seem to remember an article in cosantoir a while back describing a training exercise carried out by an rdf unit. It involved some sort of a naval trip and landing from the Eithne. The troops were billeted in the hangar

<font face="tahoma" color="#ff9900">That was the 7Bn's Fort Davis Ex in Cork, They weren't billeted in the Hanger though, they got straight on in Haulbowlane and sailed out to the Fort and were brought ashore by RIB.</font>

9th October 2003, 08:35
Guys remember we are not alone out there. It is not as if our troops are going into an area bythemselves.

9th October 2003, 15:58
I don't think I have seen anything quite so ridiculous in a long time. A fishery protection vessel paid for by the EU (except the OM76mm) steaming out of the harbour with 3 nissan patrols tied down on the back of it. Why didn't they charter a c-130 to get them out there - would take 8 hours rather than 8 days.

I know we did this during the leb, but I thought that we had learned something about long range deployments since then.


9th October 2003, 16:19
It's not really stupid. The ship acts as a secure base from which the team can do their work. The ship will probably link up with the US flotilla out there so that will mean extra protection. As regards doing things in 8 hours versus 8 days, what is the rush, the mission isn't going ahead until they complete their assessment (and it may not go ahead at all, if the assessment isn't positive). Charter a C130 versus use the LE Niamh, do you know how secure the airport is (if you do maybe you should be part of the reconaissance team)? How much control would you have over the C130 if you need to get out in a hurry? Also, as in Lebanon, the unit out there may need to be re-supplied by ship, so the Niamh's part would also assess the best access routes and the potential hazards to ship re-supply.

There appears to be so many experts providing advise on this thread I reckon all the general staff should resign and hand over control to the contributors on this thread.

9th October 2003, 16:53
In the leb case the equipment was to be dropped in Haifa in Israel which was a secure base....later on when the port Of Beruit became feasible to use this became the landing stage.

If you have ever served on a naval service vessel you would appreciate how vunerable they are to hostile action.

these ships are built to LLoydds of londons comercial standards and not military specs.They do not possess one inch of armoured plate all round.They have no feasible threat detection systems.The removal of th vehicles carried will be a very involved task given that the only lifting gear available is the ships cranes.

The yanks send an entire marine expeditionary force.....Ireland sendsa ****ing PV and 3 Nissans with a platoon of rangers to one of the most hostile envoirnment on the planet.

Yeah given that some of us can see the nonsense in this we should take over!

This is a political deciscion and some body in the DF has pandered to the fantasies of the politicians.

potential Lunacy!

9th October 2003, 17:41
Sending troops to Liberia obviously is a political decision, however, do you really think that any politician would really demand sending a naval vessel. I honestly don't believe that this would cross a politicians mind, too military in character for their thinking.

I imagine it is much more likely to have eminated from military circles to test the feasability and the ability of making more military, and less policeman, use of the NS than heretofore and that's why I welcome it. However, I must admit my thinking probably stems more from "romantic" notions of the DF than reality and I totally accept your experienced view on the feasibility and dangers of the mission.


9th October 2003, 17:41
The airport was secured by the Nigerians (didn't see them use fishery protection vessels) a good while ago so thats probably the most secure part of the country. I think the whole idea of sending 3 nissans on the back of a FPV, that was designed to chase spanny trawlers, to liberia, with a AR unit, is comical.

9th October 2003, 17:47
Tashkugan, don't forget it will be acting as a floating office, with good communications, a med. centre in case of emergency and an accomodation block with the ability to leave if something goes wrong.

It not going to fight naval battles (though, as HPTM has pointed out, even so, some armour plating would be nice).


9th October 2003, 17:58
Well in that case why don't we all stay home and go no where, or maybe we should change our uniforms to clown suits and paint big smiles on our faces. According to you everything we do is comical. Face up to the facts, we don't have a bloody marine expedition force, we don't have tanks, we don't have f******G f16's or f18's or stealth fighters, and we can't deploy 10,000 troops overseas. You all know what we have and if we want to continue to provide troops for UN missions we have to make the best with what we have, and that is what we are doing.

The mission is a reconaissance mission of 10 (count them 10 people), this is to assess (no more no less) the viability of a full mission. There is nobody going in guns blazing here. This is part of what is called the PLANNING stage. You know that thing you do so you don't **** up the mission and get your troops killed. You guys are just to gung ho for your own good. you want your war and you want it now. I am just glad I won't ever have to follow you into battle.

That ship provides a secure base to for the mission, I for one if I had a choice between staying in a house recently acquired by the UN in an insecure environment or staying on a ship no matter how small I would prefer to stay on the ship.

As regard as it being a political decision, the army has been actively looking for a replacement mission to Lebanon and given what is out there at the moment (i.e. Iraq or Liberia) this is the best option. Remember we also wanted to go the Congo, which is something most people on this board was actively encouraging.

9th October 2003, 20:27
Smith announces that LE Niamh is to provide support for the Defence Forces reconnaissance group in Liberia

The Minister for Defence recently approved the deployment of the LE Niamh to provide support to the Defence Forces Reconnaissance Group, which is due to deploy to Monrovia in Liberia shortly.

This follows the recent approval by the Government, subject to Dail approval, of the deployment of some 430 Defence Forces personnel as a Mobile Reserve Battalion in support of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

The Reconnaissance Group, comprising key technical and military personnel, together with protection support, is being deployed to assess the situation on the ground in Liberia and identify the requirements necessary to facilitate the deployment of the Defence Forces contingent. The Group will report back to the Minister on its return, who will then seek Dail approval for Defence Forces participation in the mission.

The L.E. Niamh will transport all the equipment requirements of the Reconnaissance Group and will provide it with a secure base to undertake its work including providing essential communications and logistics support.

The LE Niamh departed from Cork, today 8 October, 2003 and will arrive in Monrovia around 16 October. The Minister stated: “The safety of the Defence Forces personnel is of paramount importance. Having regard to the lack of infrastructure, transport, accommodation and backup, and also the absolute need to ensure the security of the personnel concerned, the use of the L.E. Niamh has been approved as the safest and most realistic option for the safe deployment of the Reconnaissance Group.”


9th October 2003, 22:02
So how is the recon team getting there? Aer Lingus? :flagwave:

10th October 2003, 17:19
The point remains. A Fishery Protection Vessel with 3 nissans (and trailer) strapped down on the back heading to Liberia is not how an army deploys anywhere in the 21st centuary. This 'we must make do approach' is fine for a while but what if the EU didn't give us the money for those two PVs - what else could we use, the "eithne"? the "seahorse supplier"? Get serious for a minute. We have been doing foreign deployments since the 70s and what has changed deployment wise.. well, we used use the deirdre to ship amls to the leb and now we're doing the same thing..

ps - less of the vulgarity

10th October 2003, 18:59
why dont we get a ship suitable for transferring maybe say 4 or 5 tanks and a couple of jeeps, plus lots of room onboard for foreign deployment say room for 500men and have some suitable defence on board, weaponary a bit more advanced than the bophgers and melara's! wat sort of ship would be needed for that? wud it be very costly? and would it be practical?

10th October 2003, 19:32
One reason may be that we don't have 4 or 5 tanks to transport..........


10th October 2003, 22:13
Number of tanks = 0

CVRT's might be a different matter...

Goldie fish
11th October 2003, 02:27
Collins english dictionary:
pedantic(noun): yellowjacket.

Without discussint the need for troop transport, surely after being involved in Overseas missions for 40 odd years its about time it was realised that a ship suited to a minimum level of logistics support is required? When not deployed it could provide a valuable training asset to both Naval and merchant cadets and recruits,much in the same way as the RFA ships are crewed.
Time we looked beyond fisheries protection as the only use for Irish naval vessels.

I did notice the amount of free deck space on the newer ships though. Lots of open deck spaces. They are unusually beamy for ships of this type also...

12th October 2003, 12:25
Exactly YJ and by the way the DF have 14 CVRTs.


13th October 2003, 09:35
Yes and get we get all that equipment in 8 days so we can "deploy" our mission.

Goldie fish
13th October 2003, 22:13
I have read in a few Nautical publications that Piracy is on the increase in this,and other areas. Indeed NUMAST( National Union of Master Mariners) are demanding a Royal Navy anty Piracy patrol.
I Know that on her trip to the far east,Niamh had in place special precautions to deter piracy.
Keep them eyes peeled...thaar be pirates on the horizon lad...

15th October 2003, 18:20
I reckon its making an acceptable use of limited resources, but getting back to Bravo's point about the US fleet providing protection, and given that most rapid reaction deployments will be done in weeks rather than days.
How feasible might it be to use a merchant vessel to transport an RRF unit and/or heavy stores to a conflict area such as Liberia, and rely on a friendly fleet for protection in the AO?
The NS could still provide personell or an escort vessel to give the minimum level of protection against piracy.
Or would it still be better to rely on hired air transport?
How are AFVs shipped out normally (By us)

16th October 2003, 09:57
The NS are providing protection for the recce team that is deciding on whether or not we will take part in the operation. It is not staying for the entire 6 months.

Goldie fish
16th October 2003, 18:42
The US are not providing protection. They expected to have all their naval assets out by last week.

16th October 2003, 19:47
Surely there is still a military naval presence there to suppor thte UN mission, even if its not as illustrious?

16th October 2003, 20:52
yeah looks like Ireland is providing the naval protection.

The nigerian navy leaves something to be desired and is mainly intrested in patroling some dis puted oil areas with the Ivory coast.

The Nigerians had a couple of VT frigates but these fell in to disrepair and have been laid up for some time.They did purchase some fast attack craft fro Italy a while back ...but for NGS these would be very limited although probably superior in Fire power to the niamh.

17th October 2003, 03:24
It was common practice in UNIFIL days to strap a Panhard M3 or 2 on the aft deck of a naval resupply vessel,emer left Cork equipped in such a way many a time..
Must have been interesting to see a naval vessel with 2 90mm guns as secondary armament when the AML was being carried though:D

In the first half of 2003 west africa suffered at least 20 reported incidents of piracy. To the north of sierra leone,Guinea capital Conakry and Senegals Dakar have been identified as areas susceptable to piracy.
Further south, the Ivory Coasts Abidjan is affected by piracy. Nigeria has had trouble with insurgent operatingin the River Niger's massive delta west of Port Harcourt and the capital Lagos is also prone to Piracy.
Neighbouring Cameroon and equatorial Guinea have seen a rise in piracy in the Bight of Bonny and off the island of Bioko.

According to Warships IFR (http://www.warshipsifr.com) magazine, None of the Regions navies have the capability to enforce maritime security. Liberia has no maritime protection at all, while Sierra Leone's few patrol boats are confined to the waters off Freetown.
Senegal has several French supplied coastal patrol boats but most are designed for inshore work.
Cabo Verde no longer maintains a Navy and its coastguard has just two vessels.
The only relatively formidable naval power in the region,Nigeria is resoursce starved with 50 ships keeping an eye on Cameroon as the pair have come to blows in the past over the disputed Oil Rich Bakassi peninsula,at the mount of Nigerias Cross River.

During a recent visit to a USMC base in California,President Bush said:

we have a special obligation to Liberia to help with humanitarian aid and therefore we will...we will have a limited mission of limited duration and limited scope. We'll be out of there by October 1

20th October 2003, 11:42
So they are gone then?

20th October 2003, 12:48
We're on our own..

Iwo Jima ARG Leaves Liberia, Rota Marines Stay
Story Number: NNS031014-07
Release Date: 10/14/2003 9:56:00 AM

By Lt. Corey Barker, Naval Station Rota Public Affairs

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Three amphibious assault ships, USS Nashville (LPD 13), USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) and USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), pulled into U.S. Naval Station Rota, Spain, after spending two months off the coast of Liberia, providing peacekeeping support in the Capital city of Monrovia.

The ships and the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are on their way home after nearly eight months at sea. The ships moored in Rota to conduct an equipment wash-down, and take some much-needed liberty before getting underway.

Although the Joint Task Force Liberia mission is complete for the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, 55 Marines and Sailors from Marine Corps Security Force Company Europe, based at U.S. Naval Station Rota, Spain, remain in Monrovia providing security at the U.S. Embassy.

These Marines and Sailors, from 1st Platoon, are specifically trained and equipped to provide security for U.S. embassies, vital naval installations and ships in the region. They are also on standby to support any other contingency operation as directed by Commander, U. S. Naval Forces Europe.

The first security team from Rota was sent to the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, July 7. A second team was sent the following week.

After facing combat in Northern Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 26th MEU was urgently dispatched to the coast of Liberia aboard the Iwo Jima ARG in July to support peacekeeping efforts there.

According to the 26th MEU Public Affairs Officer, Capt. James Jarvis, "Multi-national peacekeeping forces from the Economic Community of West African States have established a secure zone which have allowed humanitarian operations in Liberia to proceed." Because of this, the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group was able to leave the region and return to homeport.

Col. Andrew P. Frick, commanding officer of the 26th MEU, said, "We provided a stabilizing presence which allowed the multinational forces from other Western African countries to come in and handle the problem regionally."

Just the presence of the ships and Marines made a difference in efforts to restore peace in Liberia. "When you see the Iwo Jima, the Nashville and Carter Hall off the coastline, it shows that the American public cares and that there is a definite military presence," Frick said. The U.S. ships looming on the horizon, along with the helicopters and jets flying overhead, reassured the humanitarian relief organizations and African peacekeeping forces that it was safe to go back to work.


22nd October 2003, 14:25
When did the Dauphin stop Ops with the Eithne? You telling me we have a HPV and no Heli anymore?

23rd October 2003, 01:08
Where have you been Fox. A helo hasn't landed on Eithne in about eight years.

Didn't you know that the aer corps don't want anyone else to fly government aircraft except them. However when they get the aircraft they come up with reasons not to use it ( except mon-fri 9-5). All the other agencies whom the aer corps has insisted on providing a "service" for have been badly let down - Gardai, Naval Service and coastguard.

Can you tell me what all 900 of thm do on a daily basis? How does the wage bill compare that of 2 full infantry battalions. How many of them are on duty outside of M-F 9-5?

Goldie fish
2nd January 2006, 22:09
photos of same, with deck cargo.



The Blue Max
3rd January 2006, 00:59
Great Shots it displays i think the image of a modern vibrant Irish Naval Service as one of the Key Partners in the Irish Defence Forces and it ability to deploy at short notice both by Land,Sea and Air (i.e the plane the Recce Grp travelled on even though it probably wasnt are's..) Hopefully will be a sign of things to come i.e with hopefully the news soon that P61 is to take the form of a MultiRole Vessel "Heres Wishing"

3rd January 2006, 01:46
P61 is to take the form of a MultiRole Vessel "Heres Wishing"

Definately a fingers crossed.

26th June 2006, 23:55
Some photos of the Recce Team Equipment being loaded in Haulbowline, NIAMH en route with the equipment, at anchor in Freetown Sierra Leone waiting for the Recce Team to fly in & alongside Monrovia with the Recce Team unloaded.

27th June 2006, 00:06
Great photos. Was it the NS mobile crane that loaded those cars or was another hired for the purpose? Its a shame that the dormont cranes on the opposite side of the basin could not be utilised.

27th June 2006, 00:14
Great photos. Was it the NS mobile crane that loaded those cars or was another hired for the purpose? Its a shame that the dormont cranes on the opposite side of the basin could not be utilised.

The NS Dockyard Staff and a crane that was on hire at the time, as the dockyard one was being overhauled.

Goldie fish
27th June 2006, 00:18
Good ole East Cork Crane hire. The Dockyard crane is way too light for the work it is expected to do. I think its a 22 tonne crane. If you need to lift something weighing more than a tonne over the beam of a ship, say for example removing a main armament, or loading a Nissan onto the deck, then a 40 tonne crane would be more useful.

27th June 2006, 15:05
A photo of one of the jeeps being loaded, with the crane in shot.

Goldie fish
8th July 2006, 10:04
Good to see an 80 tonne mobile crane has been ordered for the dockyard. Autogru Rigo S.P.A will deliver the crane, and train the drivers.
I assume its the RTT804
(picture of the 90 tonne crane, which has a similar chassis)


Big investment, but the work is there for it. The Lads in east Cork Crane hire might miss the work though.

8th July 2006, 14:16
Hi there
Someone said that the Nigerians have "secured" the airport. I'll bet they have! I'll bet that there's nothing that isn't under several tons of concrete that hasn't been stolen stripped out or rendered useless. Either by the locals or the Nigerians. Whose bright idea was it to send troops from a country that even the natives regard as the most corrupt in Africa to a wartorn shithole like Liberia?... A friend of mine saw the Nigerian Navy in action in Nigeria. They recieved a daily uplift of diesel,from Shell, to power two delapidated gunboats, held together by a fine coat of rust, as part of the price paid to defend oil rigs against "rebel" attack. They immediately sold it to the rebels and went to their own wharf, uplifted Navy diesel and then sold that to the rebels!. When Shell found out and stopped their supply, the Navy withdrew their gunboats and the rebels attacked. When Shell supplied their own boat, armed with a machine-gun, tended by Nigerian Navy personnel, the rebels riddled it with AKs, kidnapped the westerners and let the NN personnel go. Shell exchanged diesel for the westerners and all was back to, er, normal. The NN gunboats made no attempt to intervene, despite seeing the action take place.SCUM.
And our guys are sharing UN duty with them!?!? As the Dubs say, watch your house!

9th July 2006, 14:08
Whose bright idea was it to send troops from a country that even the natives regard as the most corrupt in Africa to a wartorn shithole like Liberia?

Only countries that are willing to send there troops on UN missions will. For example the USA has 5 soldiers and 7 observers in Liberia, while the UK has 3 soldiers.

The biggest contributors to UNMIL are:
Bangladesh (3199 troops + 17 observers)
Ethiopia (2556 troops + 16 observers)
Nigeria (1959 troops + 14 observers)
Pakistan (2747 troops + 16 observers)