LÉ Samuel Beckett opens to the public

The Irish Naval Service’s new state-of-the-art vessel, the LÉ Samuel Beckett, will open to the public for the first time today ahead of its official twinning with Cork city this weekend.

LÉ Samuel Beckett opens to the public

The €50m 90m long off-shore patrol vessel (OPV) will sail from naval headquarters in Haulbowline to Kennedy Quay today and will open for public tours from 3pm to 5pm.

Its skipper, Captain Kenneth Minihane, will sign the formal twinning document with the new Lord Mayor at a formal ceremony in City Hall at 4pm tomorrow.

The ship will also open for public tours from 3 to 5pm on Sunday.

The LÉ Samuel Beckett, which is about 10m longer than the existing OPVs, will increase the naval service’s capabilities in the rough waters of the North Atlantic.

The ship is designed to carry a crew of 44 and has space for up to 10 trainees.

It can carry remotely operated submersibles, which will increase its sea area surveillance, and a decompression chamber for divers, which will enhance its capabilities in search and rescue, search and recovery and under sea exploration.

Its expanded deck area will allow the Naval Service to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for the first time.

The Irish Naval Service’s fleet have traditionally twinned with port cities or towns in Ireland and, until it was decommissioned recently, the LÉ Emer was twinned with Cork.

The LÉ Samuel Beckett is the first Irish Naval Service vessel to be named after a man. Beckett, one of Ireland’s greatest authors, served with the French resistance during the Second World War gathering intelligence on German naval movements. He was awarded the Croix de guerre and the Médaille de la Résistance.

Beckett’s Cork connections are well-documented, particularly his visit to the tomb of Cork poet Sylvester O’Mahony, known worldwide as Fr Prout.

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