Samuel Beckett (P61)

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LÉ Samuel Beckett.jpg
Samuel Beckett on naval exercise maneuvers in 2014.
Name: Samuel Beckett
Namesake: Samuel Beckett, Irish playwright and author[1]
Ordered: October 2010[2]
Builder: Babcock Marine, North Devon[2][3]
Cost: €71m[4]
Laid down: 19 May 2012[5]
Launched: November 2013[6]
Acquired: (Scheduled) January 2014[1]
Commissioned: 17 May 2014[7]
Identification: P61
Status: in active service, as of 2018
General characteristics
Class & type: Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessel
Displacement: 1,933 tonnes Standard[3]
Length: 90.00 m (295.28 ft)[3]
Beam: 14.00 m (45.93 ft)[6]
Draught: 3.8 m (12 ft)
Installed power: 10,000 kW (13,000 hp)[8]
Propulsion: 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines[8]
  • 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph) cruise
  • 23 kn (43 km/h; 26 mph) maximum[3]
Range: 6,000 nmi (11,000 km; 6,900 mi)[3]
Boats & landing
craft carried:
X3 MST 8 m (26 ft) RHIBS[citation needed]
Complement: 54 (44 crew + 10 trainees)[9]
Aviation facilities: UAV capabilities only[10][11][12]

Samuel Beckett (P61) is a Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) of the Irish Naval Service. The ship was launched in November 2013 and commissioned in May 2014.[7] She is named after Irish playwright and author Samuel Beckett.[1]

Like other OPVs in the Irish Naval Service, the ship's primary mission is fisheries protection, search and rescue, and maritime protection operations, including vessel boardings.[3]



In October 2010, the Irish Naval Service ordered a number of new offshore patrol vessels from Babcock Marine, a UK-based shipbuilder operating out of Appledore, North Devon. The first two vessels were named LÉ Samuel Beckett and LÉ James Joyce respectively, and planned to replace LÉ Emer(decommissioned September 2013; sold October 2013[13]) and Aoife (decommissioned January 2015; commissioned in the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta June 2015).[2]

Like the Róisín-class OPV, Samuel Beckett was designed by Vard Marine.[14] Although similar to the Róisín-class OPV, LÉ Samuel Beckett is over 10 metres (33 ft) longer, intended to increase its capabilities in the rough waters of the North Atlantic. The ship is designed to carry a crew of 44 and have space for up to 10 trainees.[3]

Additionally, LÉ Samuel Beckett is designed to carry remotely operated submersibles and a decompression chamber for divers. The expanded deck area would allow the ship to deploy unmanned surveillance planes.[15]

Construction and naming

Although the ship was built using modern modular construction techniques, the keel was deemed to have been "laid down" during a keel-laying ceremony held at the Appledore Shipbuilding Yard on 19 May 2012 after the first two major components were connected together.[5][14]

In July 2013, while still under construction, the name of the vessel, LÉ Samuel Beckett was announced by the Minister for Defence Alan Shatter in Dáil Eireann.[16]


The ship is powered by a pair of 6-cylinder Wärtsilä diesel motors driving twin shafts that propel a top speed of 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph).[17] The ship is also equipped with dynamic positioning systems and a power take-in (PTI) drive, to enable fuel savings as the main engines can be shut down and switched to alternative power sources such as stored battery power or a smaller more economical engine.[15]

Operational history

The ship was completed and floated out of the shipyard in November 2013,[6][18][19] delivered in April 2014 and commissioned for service in May 2014.[7] The vessel was "twinned" with Cork city in a ceremony held on 7 June 2014.[20]

In late 2015 LÉ Samuel Beckett undertook a three-month humanitarian tour, rescuing more than 1,000 migrants in the Mediterranean.[21] In one event, 111 people were rescued in a United Nations operation off the coast of Libya.[22]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Barry, Aoife (11 July 2013). "Goodbye LÉ Emer and LÉ Aoife… hello James Joyce and Samuel Beckett". Journal Media. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Unnamed Class Offshore Patrol Vessels, Republic Of Ireland" (PDF). Association of Retired Commissioned Officers. Autumn 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 "Irish OPV build makes progress". IHS Jane's. IHS Jane's. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  4. "New Naval Service ship to be called LÉ William Butler Yeats" (Press release). Department of Defence. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Department of Defence - Press Releases". 2012-05-18. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Irish vessel launched from Appledore shipyard". North Devon Gazette. Archant Community Media Ltd. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 ""Pride and anticipation" as LÉ Samuel Beckett vessel commissoned". 17 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Fleet > Offshore Patrol Vessel > L.E. Samuel Beckett P 61". Irish Defence Forces (official). Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  9. "Babcock displays Irish OPV at DSEI". ADS Advance. ADS Group. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  10. "Navy ships to carry deep sea robot subs". Irish Examiner. 24 May 2012. will carry unmanned planes along with deep sea search and rescue robot submarines 
  11. "City welcomes state-of-the-art Navy vessel Lé Samuel Beckett". Irish Examiner. 7 June 2014. its expanded deck area will allow the Naval Service to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for the first time 
  12. "Naval Service Showcase L.E. Samuel Beckett at OPV Conference". Afloat Magazine. 30 September 2014. she is to feature (UAV) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for surveillenace purposes 
  13. "Navy’s retired LE Emer sells for €320,000 to businessman". The Irish Times. 23 October 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Vard Marine - News Headlines". Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 O'Riordan, Sean (24 May 2012). "Navy ships to carry deep sea robot subs". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  16. "Houses of the Oireachtas - Naval Service Vessels". Oireachtas (Hansard). 
  17. "Naval Service Showcase L.E. Samuel Beckett at OPV Conference". Afloat Magazine. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  18. "Naval Service OPV Newbuild L.E. Samuel Beckett ‘Floated-Out’ from Devon Shipyard". Afloat Magazine. Baily Publications Ltd. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  19. Riegel, Ralph (28 August 2013). "New life as luxury liner or research ship awaits navy's oldest vessel". Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  20. English, Eoin (26 May 2014). "Navy’s €50m ship to twin with Cork". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  21. "LÉ Samuel Beckett docks in Cork after Med tour". 17 December 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  22. "Number of Balkans states limit migrant passage". 19 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2016.