Appledore shipyard floats new vessel for Irish Navy

Offshore patrol vessel
Image caption The offshore patrol vessel has been constructed at Babcock's Appledore shipyard in North Devon.

An offshore patrol vessel created for the Irish Navy has been floated for the first time.

The Irish Naval Service's LÉ James Joyce was constructed at Babcock's Appledore shipyard in north Devon.

The 90m-long vessel, with a top speed of 23 knots and a range of 6,000 nautical miles, is 92% complete.

Babcock was awarded the contract to build two offshore patrol vessels by Ireland's Department of Defence in 2010.

Babcock shipbuilding director, Andrew Hamilton, said: "We are delighted to achieve this important and highly visible milestone to quality, budget and schedule.

"We will now be focusing on final outfit, completing sea trials and commissioning before handover to the Irish Naval Service early in 2015."

The vessel will undertake a range of duties including fishery protection, search and rescue, anti-pollution and maritime security duties.

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