Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Ceisteanna (54)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

54. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the position regarding the mid-life refit of the LÉ Róisín. [12048/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The P50 class of vessels in the Naval Service ship flotilla were built in Appledore Shipyard in the UK. LÉ Róisín (P51) was commissioned in 1999, with LÉ Niamh (P52) commissioned in 2001.

Along with the rest of the Naval Service fleet, both of these vessels undertake a variety of functions in the maritime domain in accordance with the role assigned to the Naval Service by Government. This encompasses the provision of support to other Government Departments and Agencies such the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, An Garda Síochána, the Revenue Commissioners and the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority. All Naval Service vessels are multi-tasked in the sense that, in addition to their fishery protection role, they also undertake general surveillance, security, pollution monitoring, and search and rescue in support to the Irish Coast Guard, amongst other duties while on patrol. These activities assist in detecting and preventing emergency situations throughout Ireland's maritime jurisdiction. In addition to performing assigned tasks in Irish waters, both LÉ Róisín and LÉ Niamh have been deployed to the Mediterranean in recent years as part of Operations Pontus and Sophia.

The service life of an Irish Naval Service ship is determined by the level of operational activity, but usually is around 30 years. It is, however, normal practice in a ship’s life to carry out a mid-life refurbishment / extension programme so as to extend the useful life of a ship to thirty (or more) years.

The P50 class vessels, 20 and 18 years old this year, now fall into the category of ship requiring a mid-life refurbishment / extension programme. Due to their age profile, much of the auxiliary equipment onboard is coming to the end of its useful life or is becoming obsolete and requires to be replaced in a structured manner.

In this regard the Naval Service have, along with my Department, been planning for a Mid-Life Extension Programme for this class of vessels. This planned programme of works will ensure that both vessels will maintain their operational capabilities and reliabilities. Works are due to commence this month on LÉ Róisín.