HMS Severn trains with Irish Navy off Cork

Royal Navy’s fishery patrol vessel HMS Severn left duties behind to visit Cork and work with its Irish Navy counterpart Lé Orla off the Old Head of Kinsale.

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 of Ireland, renamed and put into service as the Orla.

During their training, 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.

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.

After a close sail past to complete the exercise, Severn visited 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.