The Irish Naval service could be facing a €1 million bill for the ongoing removal of asbestos, which has kept their two former Royal Navy patrol vessels out of action for months. The hazardous material was discovered last year in engine room lagging on board the Peacock class OPVs LÉ Ciara (ex-HMS Swallow) and LÉ Orla (ex-HMS Swift) (pictured), even though a now defunct consultancy firm gave them the all-clear in 2000.

Asbestos has previously been found in the engine exhausts and manifold lagging in a number of other patrol vessels. The material was once widely used in the shipbuilding industry, especially in engine rooms, to insulate pipes and boilers, before it was found to be potentially lethal when ingested.

In other news, the second of three 90m patrol vessels on Babcock’s books entered the water for the first time in late November 2014 at the Appledore shipyard in North Devon. LÉ James Joyce was launched, already more than 90 per cent complete, and is on track for delivery in February 2015. The laying down of a third, as yet unnamed vessel, is scheduled for April 2015. LÉ Aoife is to be sold by auction when the new ship becomes operational.

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