THE first of the Irish Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) being built by Babcock at its Appledore shipyard for the Irish Naval Service was officially named and commissioned yesterday(May 17).
This follows successful completion of sea trials and handover at Appledore last month. The ship left Appledore on Monday, April 28.
The LÈ Samuel Beckett was named by Caroline Murphy, a niece of Samuel Beckett, in Dublin this weekend alongside the Samuel Beckett Bridge.
The naming was followed by the commissioning ceremony which was led by Enda Kenny, Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, who made the main speech.
Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Defence, Paul Kehoe, made the opening introductory remarks at the event, which was also attended by the Secretary General of the Department of Defence, Maurice Quinn, and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lt General Conor O’Boyle.
LÈ Samuel Beckett will be operational with immediate effect undertaking a range of duties including fishery protection, search and rescue, anti-pollution and maritime security duties, including vessel boardings.
To conduct these operations a crew of 44, plus ten trainee berths, are accommodated to high standards.
The 90 metre, 2256 tonne vessel is designed to provide an operational capability for many years of service in the North Atlantic, its main area of operation.
Commenting on the completion and handover Babcock shipbuilding director, Andrew Hamilton, said: “We are delighted and proud to have successfully built, trialled and delivered this first of class OPV to the Irish Naval Service. The success of this project has been brought about by the close co-operation of our customer, suppliers and industry, underpinned by the dedication and commitment of our workforce.”
He continued: “Today’s naming and commissioning represents a major milestone not only for the project but also for Babcock, as the first ship designed, constructed, and commissioned at our Appledore facility since 2003.
"The project has employed in excess of 350 highly skilled employees many of whose families gathered on Appledore quay to witness the departure of this modern and high quality ship for the Irish Navy.
"A very prestigious moment in the long and proud history of the shipyard, and one that the whole workforce is, rightly, very proud to have been involved in.”
LÈ Samuel Beckett is the first of two such OPVs being built by Babcock for the Irish Naval Service at Appledore.
Keel laying for the second OPV took place in November last year, with float-up scheduled for early November 2014 and sea trials and delivery taking place in early 2015.