Waiting for The Navy's €50m LE Beckett to arrive
The Naval Service's first new €50m patrol vessel is scheduled to arrive in Cork today after successful sea trials in England.
The LE Samuel Beckett replaces the 35-year-old LE Emer which was sold at auction last October to an African consortium.
It will bring Ireland's fleet to full capacity with another new vessel, LE James Joyce, to be delivered in 2015.
The LE Samuel Beckett left the River Torridge and Appledore's shipyard in Dorset at 6.15pm on Monday with her trials skipper, Captain Jerry Waller, formally handing the vessel over to the Naval Service.
A Lloyds Insurance assessor was also on board for the delivery voyage.
If handover trials are successfully completed, the vessel is expected to arrive in Cork from 10am today.
The Beckett and the Joyce will be the most hi-tech and capable patrol vessels ever operated by the Naval Service.
The new ships, built by Babcock Marine, are developments of the design first chosen for the LE Roisin/LE Niamh in 1997.
However, the LE Samuel Beckett has state-of-the-art technology and is capable of operating remotely controlled drones.
The ability to operate drones will also dramatically increase the navy's patrol and surveillance capabilities.
The ship can similarly operate remotely controlled robotic mini-submarines.
The new vessel is 12m bigger at 90m long than the old Roisin/Niamh design.
With a top speed of 23 knots, the new ships will be over 30pc faster.