The state’s newest naval vessel, the €50m LÉ Samuel Beckett, is to twin with Cork City — home port of the Irish Naval Service.
A Naval Service spokesman confirmed the vessel, which boasts Star Wars-style drone technology, will sail from the naval base in Haulbowline up to the city quays for the formal twinning ceremonies.
Final arrangements are still being put in place — the twinning ceremony will likely take place on June 7, with plans to open the ship for public tours on June 8.
The twinning arrangement was confirmed last night and follows a visit by senior city officials to the naval base last week for a tour of the ship.
The spokesman said there is a long and proud tradition of naval vessels twinning with port cities — the LÉ Aoife is twinned with Waterford and the LÉ Roisín is twinned with Dublin.
The naval service makes ships and crew available to the various city authorities for civic functions including the hosting of receptions for visiting dignitaries.
The ships’ crews also get involved in certain charitable causes in their respective twin cities.
Construction work on the 1,900-tonne patrol vessel began at Babcock Marine’s Appledore Shipyard, near Bideford, Devon, in November 2011.
It sailed from England to Haulbowline late last month after successfully completing its final sea trials off Devon.
The almost 90-metre long vessel replaces the 35-year-old LÉ Emer, which was sold last October to an African consortium.
Once in service, it will be used for fisheries and coastal protection. It will enhance the Naval Service’s ability to conduct patrol, surveillance, and monitoring operations. The ship can also operate remote-controlled mini- submarines.
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