7 June 2024






2 mins

Nearly 2 years after she was decommissioned from the Irish Naval Service the 1984 commissioned former Flagship and Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) LE EITHNE P 31 left Cork Harbour, Republic of Ireland for the last time on Saturday 1st June, 2024 bound to breakers at Gent, Belgium.

She was built by Verolme Cork Dockyard (VCD) in Rushbrooke, (neighbouring Cobh), in 1984 as the last ship launched from the shipyard before it closed that same year. She was the last and largest vessel built by VCD. for the Naval Service and to have helicopter capability.  She was laid down on Wednesday 15th December 1982 and launched a year later on Monday 19th December 1983, She was commissioned on Friday 7th December 1984.

Named after Eithne, daughter of King Balor, who imprisoned her in a tower on Tory Island, Co. Donegal, as depicted on the ship’s crest, she was a twin funnel and visited Malta several times while she took part in FRONTEX Mission especially with illegal immigrants.

On Monday 18th May, 2015 she was spotted off the coast of Portugal heading to Gibraltar for uplifting bunkers  while she was underway  to take part in FRONTEX Deployment and back to Sunday 18th June, 2017 she arrived at Catania, Sicily with 700 rescued illegal immigrants after a dramatic rescue operation of 1, 350 souls off Libyan Coast with the other 650 souls were embarked on the Swedish Coast Guard KBV 002 TRITON (Seen in Malta) that were disembarked at Augusta, Sicily.

In fact during her FRONTEX Deployment several ribs were noticed even on her helideck –

She was decommissioned on Friday 8th July 2022 after 38 years with the Irish Naval Service, and was laid up together with LÉ CIARA and LÉ ORLA, to be replaced with a new multi-role vessel.

Following her decommissioning, Cork County Council requested the transfer of LE EITHNE to the city for preservation as a museum ship. It was also reported, in early 2023, that the Dublin Port company also hoped to use the vessel as a museum ship in Dublin. However, as of late 2023, the vessel was reputedly due to be “broken up for recycled scrap, after plans to convert the OPV into a museum never materialised.


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