Nigerian businessman buys decommissioned Irish offshore patrol vessel

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A Nigerian businessman has acquired the former Irish Naval Service ship L. E. Emer (P21), a Deirdre Class offshore patrol vessel, at a public auction just one month after she was decommissioned after nearly 36 years of service.

The unidentified businessman beat two others bidders and bought the ship for 320 000 euros at a public sale organized by Dominic J. Daly auctioneers at Cork City in Ireland last week.

Built in the Velrome Cork Dockyard between February and September 1977, the vessel was commissioned into service in January 1978 and decommissioned on 20 September this year.

The vessel covered more than 518 000 miles at sea under the Irish flag. With a standard displacement of 1 019.5 tonnes, the 65.2 metre-long vessel has a top speed of 31.5 kilometres per hour.

She can accommodate up to 46 sailors and carries one Bofors L40/70 40 mm and two Rheinemetall RH202 20 mm cannons.

According to information from the auctioneers, the new owner has not yet decided whether to convert the vessel into a pleasure yacht or to deploy it in the fight against piracy in Gulf of Guinea.

Ireland will replace the ship with two new-build Roisin or PV90 Class. The Irish Naval Service has contracted Babcock Marine to build the replacement ships. The first new-build, christened L.E. Samuel Beckett will be floated out next month and delivered early next year while her sister ship L.E. James Joyce is scheduled to enter service early in 2015.