ENDA KENNY HAS announced that an order has been placed for a third offshore patrol vessel for the Irish Naval Service at a cost of €54 million.
In his new role as Minister for Defence, the Taoiseach has confirmed that the government has taken the option of buying a third vessel from the UK-based company Babcock Marine.
It is expected to be ready by 2016.
The purchase is part of the Naval Service’s vessel replacement strategy which has been under way since 2007 and involves replacing existing vessels, the LÉ Aoife, LÉ Aisling and LÉ Emer, which were commissioned for service as far back as the late 1970s.
The ships are used for a variety of Naval Service missions including re-supply misions to Irish troops serving overseas with the UN.
Two ships have already been purchased from Babcock Marine and by taking up the agreed option for a third it will be purchased at 2012 prices, Kenny said this evening.
The new vessel will be identical in build to the LÉ Samuel Beckett, which was recently commissioned for service, and the LÉ James Joyce which is currently under construction.
Kenny said in a statement today that his recent attendance at the commissioning ceremony for the Samuel Beckett (above) “brought home to me” the need to continue the vessel replacement strategy.
He said: “The new ship is impressive and offers excellent value and I am convinced that this is the right time to maintain the momentum with the replacement strategy and move forward with a placing of a contract for the third Patrol Vessel.”