Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Eire Force Severn as fishery patrol boat trains with Irish Navy

10 October 2016
HMS Severn left fish behind for a few days for a visit to Cork and a rare chance to work with the Irish Navy.

The Portsmouth-based warship, which devotes the bulk of her time to ensuring fishermen stick to international quotas, made for waters off the Old Head of Kinsale to join forces with Lé Orla… which devotes the bulk of her time to ensuring fishermen stick to international quotas for two days of combined training; both vessels fly the same blue and yellow pennant denoting a fishery squadron.

Orla began life as HMS Swift, one of the Peacock class of boats patrolling waters around Hong Kong.

When the colony reverted to China two decades ago, she was sold to the Republic, renamed and pressed into service as the Orla.

Overlooked by the beautiful and rugged coastline of the south coast of Ireland – it’s in these waters that the Lusitania was infamously torpedoed a century ago – Severn and Orla practised various exercises using each other as ‘targets’.

Orla’s boarding team, led by their Executive Officer Lt Shane Mulcahy, climbed up a ladder on to Severn’s cargo deck, secured it for his team to follow, then made for the bridge to take charge.

It was fantastic to work with the Irish and to conduct these manoeuvres

Sub Lt Tom Isaac

Once the scenario had ended, the Irish demonstrated several of their techniques and drills to their British counterparts, including their firm use of restraints.

It was then the turn of Severn’s team to get into their boats as Orla played the part of a vessel in distress. Severn’s boarding team came to the rescue led by her First Lieutenant, Lt Angie Violante USN.

The RN team practised extinguishing fires, stopping floods and administering first aid to casualties while being supplied with equipment from afar by boat. 

Following a night at anchor, both ships weighed and returned to sea to carry out some Officer of the Watch manoeuvres, testing bridge teams in their ability to communicate and accurately handle their ships in close company with others.

With four Young Officers under training on board, Severn’s bridge team leapt at the opportunity.

“It was fantastic to work with the Irish and to conduct these manoeuvres,” said trainee Sub Lt Tom Isaac. “Chances like these are rare and I felt privileged to be part of the team that made it happen. It truly was a great Navy day!”

After a close sail past to complete the exercise, Severn concentrated on the journey into Cork through waters steeped in maritime history. 

After passing Haulbowline Naval Base and the colourful waterfront of Cobh (as Queenstown invariably the last port of call for transatlantic liners before the New World, including the Titanic) Severn continued up the River Lee all of the way into the centre of Cork.

With the help of tugs she berthed at Custom House Quay, as far up the river as seagoing vessels can get (a road bridge stops ships going any further) for a weekend’s rest and relaxation in Ireland’s second city.

“Lé Orla and the people of Cork made Severn feel most welcome,” said Lt Chris Poulson, the ship’s second in command.

“Usually patrolling by ourselves, this was a fantastic opportunity to train alongside a professional ship of a service that shares so much of the Royal Navy’s principles and high standards. Our only regret is that we couldn’t stay in Cork for longer!”

His ship has now resumed regular fishery protection duties.

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.