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Dail Debates [Naval Vessels]

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  • Dail Debates [Naval Vessels]

    Dail Anwser relating to Navel Equipment was given in the Dail on Thursday 22nd May 2008

    As follows:-

    Naval Service Vessels.

    34. Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Defence the position regarding the replacement of three of the older Naval Service vessels between the present date and 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20157/08]

    Minister for Defence (Deputy Willie O’Dea): The Naval Service provides the maritime element of the Defence Forces and has a general responsibility to meet contingent and actual maritime defence requirements. In the 2000 White Paper on Defence, the Government decided that the Naval Service would be based on an 8-ship flotilla and committed to a modernisation and replacement strategy to maximise the operational capacity of those 8 vessels consistent with the roles assigned to the Naval Service. The White Paper specifically provides that “New vessels will be brought on stream to replace older ones as these fall due for replacement”. Naval Service Vessels are replaced when they have come to the end of their useful life, which is normally around 30 years. Three ships will fall due for replacement over the next 3 to 5 years - LE Emer, commissioned in 1978, LE Aoife, commissioned in 1979 and LE Aisling, commissioned in 1980.

    Following a detailed examination of the needs of the Naval Service within my Department a vessel replacement strategy for the Naval Service was put in place to cover the period up to 2012. The strategy combined with a continuous process of refurbishment will ensure that the operational capability of the Naval Service is maintained at a very high level.

    Following Government approval in July 2007 notice of a tender competition for the purchase of replacement vessels for the Naval Service was sent to the Official Journal of the European Union on 24 August 2007. The competition is for the purchase of two Offshore Patrol Vessels with an option of a third and one Extended Patrol Vessel with an option on a second. The options provide an effective value for money opportunity, at locked in prices, to provide replacements for Naval Service vessels which will reach the end of their service life in the years immediately following the current replacement programme. The competition uses a Restricted Procedure which comprises two stages – The first stage comprises a Request for Proposals and the second stage comprises an Invitation to Tender. The closing date for stage 1 was 26 October 2007. Evaluation of proposals has now been completed. The second stage of the competition for the OPV will proceed as planned in late May/early June with the issue of a detailed specification to those who have qualified. Tender evaluation will take place in July/August and it is intended to award a contract in late 2008.

    In relation to the larger EPV, my Department intends to undertake further analysis of the proposals in relation to the EPV project before the second stage is initiated. Once this has been completed, my Department will review the matter with a view to initiating the second stage of the EPV competition, probably later in the Autumn. The vessels will, subject to Government approval on funding, be delivered on a phased basis between 2010 and 2012. The Government is committed to continuous investment in the equipment needs of the Naval Service to enable it to carry out the roles assigned to it.

    Coastal Surveillance.
    231. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence if he is satisfied regarding the adequacy of coastal surveillance here having particular regard to the degree to which Navy and Air Corps personnel are required in the context of such surveillance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20540/08]
    Minister for Defence (Deputy Willie O’Dea): The Naval Service provides the maritime element of the Defence Forces and has a general responsibility to meet contingent and actual maritime defence requirements. The Naval Service operates eight general purpose patrol ships. All eight ships are involved in coastal and offshore patrolling and surveillance for the State in that part of the seas where State jurisdiction applies.

    The Naval Service provides a fishery protection service in accordance with the State’s obligations as a member of the European Union. The Service is tasked with patrolling all Irish waters from the shoreline to the outer limits of the Exclusive Fishery Limits. At present, fishery protection activity accounts for roughly 90% of all Naval Service patrol time. However, as the need arises, Naval Service vessels may be deployed to other duties such as aid to the civil power, search and rescue, drug interdiction operations and assistance with pollution control.

    The current Exclusive Fishery Limits extend to 200 miles offshore and cover an area of 132,000 nautical square miles. The Naval Service currently patrols the entire 200 mile limit and periodically patrols beyond these limits to protect specific fisheries. These patrols are carried out on a regular and frequent basis and are directed to all areas of Irish waters as necessary. The number of Patrol Vessels on patrol in Irish waters at any one time varies between three and seven. The Naval Service is committed to having at least three vessels on patrol within the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone at any one time. Naval Service patrols are complemented by assistance provided by the Air Corps. The Air Corps Maritime Squadron carries out aerial surveillance of territorial waters using the two CASA maritime patrol aircraft.
    The Irish Coast Guard has overall responsibility for the provision of maritime Search and Rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue region. In accordance with the roles assigned to them by Government in the White Paper on Defence, the Defence Forces are committed to providing support to the civil authorities including in relation to Search and Rescue. In this regard, the Naval Service and Air Corps provide support to the Coast Guard as the need arises and within their available capability.

    Responsibility for the prevention of drug trafficking rests primarily with An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners. However, the White Paper on Defence provides for a security role for the Naval Service and the Air Corps to assist and support the civil authorities in this important work. Government measures to improve law enforcement in relation to drugs, including the establishment in 1993 of a Joint Task Force involving An Garda Síochána, the Customs Service and the Naval Service, have helped to maximise the effective use of Naval Service resources in combating drug trafficking. The Air Corps provide air support and, on occasion, carry the Customs National Drugs Team in an observational capacity for the purpose of monitoring vessels suspected of drug trafficking and other illegal activities. There is close co-operation between the civil authorities and the Naval Service and the Air Corps in discharging this important mission.

    I am satisfied that the Permanent Defence Force is appropriately resourced to meet its operational requirements, including in relation to its role in coastal surveillance and supporting the civil authorities in this regard.


    Other Questions and Answers can be found on the Dail web site

    http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate...&Ex=All&Page=1
    Last edited by Kieran Marum; 27 May 2008, 18:55.

  • #2
    Can someone edit the thread title please? We are not contemplating our bellybutton fluff.


    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Willie has a nasty habit of saying "everything is great" when there was plenty of evidence to the contrary.
      He also thinks Limerick has no problem with violent crime.

      If he thinks between 3 and 7 ships in an area the size of our AO is sufficient, he really needs a reality check. Yes there are 2 Casa Patrol aircraft. How often are both operational?


      Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

      Comment


      • #4
        I am satisfied that the Permanent Defence Force is appropriately resourced to meet its operational requirements, including in relation to its role in coastal surveillance and supporting the civil authorities in this regard.
        Indeed

        Sounds strikingly similar to:
        Mr O'Keefe said it was a fact of life that a single pupil change in the enrolment profile of a school could cause a school to lose or gain a teacher.
        http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0527/education.html

        Someone needs a reality check urgently

        I honestly didn't think (in my naievty) that there could only be three NS vessels on patrol at a given point in time. Jeebus this country needs a wake up call urgently.
        "We do not govern to rule, we govern to serve" Gen. Michael Collins

        Comment


        • #5
          More ships, or more aircraft? 'Both' is the easy answer, but given limited resources, which provides more bang for our buck in terms of maritime surveillance?

          Would the ships be more effective at surveillance and have a faster, longer reach, if they carried helicopters?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by easyrider View Post
            More ships, or more aircraft? 'Both' is the easy answer, but given limited resources, which provides more bang for our buck in terms of maritime surveillance?

            Would the ships be more effective at surveillance and have a faster, longer reach, if they carried helicopters?
            I don't like the term limited resources! The resources are there, the poltical will isn't it! I would be all for Ship + Helicopter platforms, and IMO I think the excuses given for Eithne and Dauphin not working are not sufficient to prevent the concept from working in the Irish concept. But I'm not an expert.

            First and foremost, I think that a second base is needed on the West coast. This would make things a lot more efficient if the state is to stick to an 8 Ship flotilla. Cork Harbour is quite far from the Western seaboard, and I think that activity will increase on the west over the next few years, for a number of reasons. What are people's opinions?
            "We do not govern to rule, we govern to serve" Gen. Michael Collins

            Comment


            • #7
              Basing the CASAs in Cork or Shannon would save a couple of hours transit time on each patrol.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by easyrider View Post
                Basing the CASAs in Cork or Shannon would save a couple of hours transit time on each patrol.
                No, it would not.
                It might save an hour, which would not be worth it in terms of having to split resources for looking after it between Bal' and whatever base it operated from.
                "We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey"
                Radio transmission, siege of Jadotville DR Congo. September 1961.
                Illegitimi non carborundum

                Comment


                • #9
                  The fact that the specifications for the OPV design include a UAV capability point to where the thinking is going.
                  You will never have a quiet world until you knock the patriotism out of the human race

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Keep in mind that sometimes, though you have 3 ships on patrol, 2 of these cannot maintain their patrol out to the 200 mile limit, and may even have to go to anchor in a sheltered bay by night.

                    More ships with greater range is the answer. Aircraft are fine for surveillance, but like the CCTV in our city centres, you still need to have the Garda on the beat to arrest the offenders. The eastern atlantic does not lend itself well to Helicopter operations from a Small naval vessel. Its danger cancels out its usefulness.
                    Satellites are available to do much of the serious surveillance these days.

                    You need ships pure and simple. Ships that can remain on station for the entire patrol. Where the ships are based is irrelevant, but the idea of moving them to the west coast to get them there quicker is pointless.
                    When the RN operated a blue water navy from Ireland, it based the majority of its fleet on the south coast in Queenstown,and Berehaven with the rest at anchor in Lough Swilly. The shape of the wolds has not changed since then. The fact is the West coast doesn't provide useful shelter for ships. By the way, the west coast begins in Cork.....Check your map if you don't believe me.

                    Hopefully this 8 ship idea will end up in the bin with the next white paper and we'll see 12 ships at least. Proper ships, not coastal patrol boats designed for scooting around a colonial harbour.


                    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      the EPV will be the same size as a modern frigate.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Satellite surveillance and the Vessel Monitoring System should mean that the NS knows the position, course and speed of every significant vessel in Irish waters, even without input from Air Corps planes or Naval Service vessels.

                        So planes and ships can be targeted on what needs to be checked out, not engaged in routine patrolling, in the hope of maybe seeing something.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          By the way, the west coast begins in Cork.....Check your map if you don't believe me.
                          I live in Cork. And a lot further west than you do I might add I had Lough Swilly in mind when I was thinking of a second base, but the related costs of dredging the harbour up there would be an obstacle. Just a thought.
                          "We do not govern to rule, we govern to serve" Gen. Michael Collins

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=Goldie fish;209820]
                            You need ships pure and simple. [QUOTE]

                            Absolutely right. The only problem is you need Crews to run these ships. And the numbers are just not there. Especially from an Officers perspective.
                            No b*stard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb b*stard die for his country

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by easyrider View Post
                              Satellite surveillance and the Vessel Monitoring System should mean that the NS knows the position, course and speed of every significant vessel in Irish waters, even without input from Air Corps planes or Naval Service vessels.

                              So planes and ships can be targeted on what needs to be checked out, not engaged in routine patrolling, in the hope of maybe seeing something.
                              Only fishing vessels over .. (15 metres or something like that)

                              Comment

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