THE Department of Defence is seeking tenders for the recycling of decommissioned naval service vessels.
Three were decommissioned last summer: LÉ Eithne and two inshore patrol vessels, LÉ Orla and LÉ Ciara. This was described at the time as “an unprecedented move” and there has been speculation about what would be done with them. There were reports of interest from the Philippines government and from a possible buyer in the Netherlands.
However, the last naval ship auctioned off, LÉ Aisling, ended in the ownership of Libyan warlord General Khalifa Haftar. That caused controversy, because the auction achieved €110,000 for the State. A Dutch company and another in the UAE were later reportedly involved. Reports claimed that it was purchased by Haftar for a reputed €1.3m.
LÉ Eithne was the last naval service ship built in the Verlome Dockyard at Rushbrooke in Cork Harbour, close to the Naval Base. She went into service in 1984 and was the first Irish naval vessel to cross the Atlantic in 1986.
Cork County Council was reported to be interested in acquiring Eithne as a floating museum in the harbour, but more recently it has been reported that the Department of Defence was in discussion with Dublin Port about the vessel going there.
On the Government e-Tenders website the Department of Defence is now seeking tenders “for the provision of ship recycling consultancy services to support the recycling of decommissioned naval service vessels by safe and environmentally sound recycling methods, via an EU-approved ship-recycling facility, in accordance with the EU’s ship recycling regulation.”
While the EU’s ship recycling regulation does not apply to warships, the Department says its intention is “to follow the regulations in the re-cycling process”.
The expenditure to be covered by the services contract “may amount to some €130,000, excluding VAT. Tenderers must understand that this figure is an estimate only.” The closing date for tenders is noon on Monday, February 13. For the decommissioned, laid-up vessels, the Department of Defence is now looking at demolition and recycling.