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Following a mammoth voyage from New Zealand heavy lift ship Happy Dynamic arrives at Cork Harbour with two new inshore patrol boats for the Naval Service. Picture: David Creedon
A €26m pair of navy ships bought from New Zealand have finally arrived in Ireland more than a month after setting sail from Oceania. The heavy lift ship HAPPY DYNAMIC made its way to Cork Harbour on Sunday with two new inshore patrol boats for the Naval Service, the HMNZS ROTOITI and HMNZS PUKAKI. The deal was first reported by the Irish Examiner defence correspondent Sean O'Riordan last year. The 55m-long ships are much smaller than the likes of LÉ GEORGE BERNARD SHAW and LÉ JAMES JOYCE and will be used to patrol the Irish Sea. They will undergo a programme of works to fit additional Naval Service equipment, followed by a training programme for the crew, and are expected to enter service early next year.

Doubts have been expressed about the suitability of the ships by the former second-in-command of the entire naval service. Captain David Barry, a now-retired 40-year veteran who served as officer Commanding Naval Operations Command, said in Signal, the official magazine for Raco (Representative Association of Commissioned Officers), that "pivoting towards smaller ships and crews may initially seem attractive, particularly on cost grounds and they being immediately available on the market".

He said while any new ships are welcome, replacing current ships with others that can only deploy in more limited areas for more limited times and only if the weather is reasonable "is accepting a significant reduction in capability".The arrivals come at a pivotal time for the future of the Naval Service, which has been dogged by recruitment and retention issues.Just 15 naval recruits completed their training last year at a time when the navy is battling a severe staffing crisis, the Irish Examiner reported in March.

Source: Irish Examiner