Eithne during a port visit to Boston in 2009.
|Namesake:||Ethniu, a tragic heroine in an early Irish romantic tale|
|Laid down:||15 December 1982|
|Launched:||19 December 1983|
|Commissioned:||7 December 1984|
|Homeport:||Haulbowline Naval Base|
|Status:||in active service, as of 2016[update]|
|Type:||Offshore patrol vessel|
|Displacement:||1910 tonnes (full load)|
|Length:||84.8 m (278 ft) overall|
|Beam:||12 m (39 ft)|
|Draught:||4.3 m (14 ft)|
|Speed:||37 km/h (20 kn) maximum|
|Complement:||85 (9 Officers and 77 ratings)|
|Aviation facilities:||helicopter flight deck|
LÉ Eithne (P31) is a patrol vessel in service with the Irish Naval Service. The ship is named after Eithne, a tragic heroine and the daughter of the one-eyed Fomorian King, Balor in an early Irish romantic tale. Eithne is currently the flagship of the Irish Naval Service.
Eithne was originally built as a Helicopter Patrol Vessel for long range fisheries patrol vessel, intended to be at sea for up to 30 days. It was originally planned to order four vessels of this class, but budget restrictions prevented this.
Eithne was designed to carry a SA365F Dauphin helicopter, and is the only ship in the Irish Naval Service fleet to have a flight deck. Helicopter operations have stopped in recent years, due in part to the purchase of CASA CN235-100MP Persuader Maritime Patrol Aircraft and decommissioning of the Dauphin helicopters. The vessel was fitted with retractable fin stabilisers to reduce rolling during helicopter operations at sea.
Eithne was the last ship of the Irish Naval Service to have been built in Ireland, constructed at Verolme Dockyard at Rushbrook, County Cork and completed in 1984. Shipbuilding operations ceased at the yard in 1984, and the yard went into receivership.
In April–June 2006 Eithne travelled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the first-ever deployment of an Irish warship in the southern hemisphere, in order to participate in commemorations of the impending sesquicentenary of the death of Admiral William Brown who had been born in Ireland. The ship brought back a statue of Brown to be displayed in Dublin.
On 23 August 2014, asbestos was found on the ship necessitating a clean-up. Eithne is the third Naval Service vessel with the potentially lethal substance, after asbestos was also found on board LÉ Ciara and LÉ Orla.
On 5 May 2015 it was announced by the Minister of Defence Simon Coveney that Eithne would be deployed to the Mediterranean as part of the EU's ongoing rescue mission for migrants. On 23 June 2015 it was reported that 519 migrants from three separate vesseles had been rescued and taken aboard LÉ Eithne the previous day, and would be taken to Italy.
- Buque de Acción Marítima
- Cassiopea-class patrol vessel
- Nordkapp-class offshore patrol vessel
- Protector-class offshore patrol vessel
- Cmdr Mark Mellett (February 2006). "Voyage diary: L.É. Eithne departs for Buenos Aires, Argentina". Irish Naval Service. Retrieved 16 December 2006.
- Pollak, Sorcha (5 May 2015). "LÉ Eithne to be dispatched in migrant search on May 8th". Irish Times. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- TRé: LÉ Eithne rescues 519 migrants off coast of Libya
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