The Irish Naval Service has released a summary of operations conducted in 2013, highlighting provisional figures on maritime security operations, specialist dive operations along with other trainings and initiatives undertaken.
The Naval Service patrol 220 million maritime acres of sea representing 15% of Europe’s fisheries. During 1382 patrol days, the Naval Service carried out 989 boardings and made 16 detentions in 2013 for alleged infringements of fishing regulations. These figures include the detention of the world’s largest fishing vessel from the Netherlands, a case currently before the courts.
A total of 25 fishing vessels, from Ireland, United Kingdom, Spain, France and Denmark, were warned for 35 infringements, ranging from incorrect boarding equipment to electronic reporting infringements such as under recording of catch.
In October 2013, five Naval Service ships took part in an International Fleet Review in Cork Harbour along with six international warships as part of the Naval Festival element of Cork Rebel Week 2013.
The fleet’s newest vessel, L.É. SAMUEL BECKETT, was floated out of its shipyard in November and is currently being out-fitted, with an expected arrival early this year.
With respect to dive team operations, last year saw the Specialist Naval Service Dive Team, being accredited as an International Diving School from IDSA (International Diving Schools Association), qualifying Naval Divers commercially in SCUBA and Surface Supplied Diving Equipment (SSDE).
The team was called out to 51 operations, including 14 separate Search and Recovery operations following requests from the Coast Guard and An Garda Síochána, followed by underwater maintenance of Naval Service Fleet, sub-surface explosive ordnance disposal operations and berth clearances for visiting foreign warships.
The continued exchange programme with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has seen the fourth group of RCN Officers embark on Naval Service vessels, focusing primarily on polishing their navigation skills.
Aside to investing in its training, the Naval Service received two notable awards for its energy awareness efforts. The two awards are the Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland Award in the public sector category and the Association of Energy Engineers Award in 2013, the latter a world-first for a military organisation.
Press Release, January 2, 2014; Image: Irish Defence Forces