THE LÉ Eithne is expected to dock in Cork city this afternoon to be on standby as a possible testing centre for the coronavirus.
The LÉ Samuel Beckett and the LÉ William Butler Yeats are already on standby in Dublin and Galway, after the Defence Forces notified the Navy to place vessels in Cork, Dublin, and Galway for a possible tasking by the HSE.
No vessel has yet been put on standby in Cork, given its close proximity to the naval base in Haulbowline.
A spokesman for the Defence Forces said that no request has yet been received from HSE for any ship for Cork. He confirmed that two ships are anchored in Dublin and Galway but said they had not been tasked as yet.
However, sources have told The Echo that the LÉ Eithne is due to depart Haulbowline this afternoon to berth in Cork city, in anticipation of a tasking from the HSE.
There has been no date given for a possible tasking from the HSE.
Last July, a decision was taken to withdraw the LÉ Eithne and the LÉ Orla from service because of not having enough staff in the Navy.
The LÉ Eithne is being identified for the role because it is currently in dock in Haulbowline.
But it is also being seen as a viable option because it has a flight deck to facilitate a helicopter.
The vessel will be anchored at Kennedy Quay.
All three vessels have been involved in the humanitarian efforts with refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean in recent years.
Meanwhile, sources in the Navy are worried about implications if a case of Covid-19 breaks out on a Naval ship.