Irish Naval Ship Le Roisin P51 open to visitors for St Patrick’s Day celebrations this weekend.
To mark St Patrick’s Day on 17 March, the Irish Navy will have pride of place next to HMS Belfast on London’s River Thames to lend support to the large Irish community in London who will be celebrating the festival of their patron saint.
The ship will be open to the public from March 15th to 18th inclusive between 10am – 12pm and 2-5pm.
Le Roisin P51, is a Roisin class off shore patrol ship used by the Irish Navy. She entered service in 1999 and is best known for her dramatic rescue of the Canadian Forces submarine CHICOUTIMI off the North Western Coast of Ireland on 5 October 2004, when she was seriously damaged in the rescue mission.
HMS Belfast was actually launched on St Patrick’s Day in 1938 by Mrs Neville Chamberlain who was wife of the then British Prime Minister. It is very fitting therefore that the Irish ship will be moored alongside HMS Belfast from 14 to 19 March for the duration of the festivities.
Brad King, director of HMS Belfast commented: “Le RÓISÍN is a fantastic example of today’s modern Irish Naval ship. A first class vessel of her kind, she incredibly sleek, fast and tough because she was built specifically for North Atlantic winter operations and to endure some of the most dangerous sea conditions in the world. We are thrilled to have her moored alongside and we hope that she will attract some visitors during her stay."
The ship’s design is unique. It has an all-steel hull based on the Mauritian Vigilant patrol vessel launched in 1995, but without the helicopter deck and hangar facilities. The high level of automation incorporated into the ship's systems allows the ship to be operated with just 47 crew including eight officers. The vessel is designed for winter North Atlantic operations.
HMS Belfast is moored on the Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.