Naval Service staffing crisis deepens as critical engineers leave for better pay on cruise ships

28/06/2022 22:00:00

The Naval Service has fallen to 840 personnel as more signal they wish to leave in the coming months.

Defence Crisis, İrish Navy

The Government was warned one year ago in a secret report that the Irish Navy was likely to be reduced to just three operational ships due to a fall in critical engineering staff, The Journal has learned.

The Naval Service has fallen to 840 personnel as more signal they wish to leave in the coming months.

A minimum strength for the Service is recommended to be 1,094 fully-trained personnel. The Navy has eight ships attached to its Cork Harbour base – two extra inshore vessels were recently purchased from New Zealand.It is understood that this report, compiled a year ago, warned that the staffing crisis in the Naval Service would result in a further reduction of ships capable of going to sea.

Naval officers are now engaged in a desperate effort to find a solution. Speculation in the Navy is that one of the ships is due to undergo two lengthy maintenance periods with a patrol in the middle.“This would be fudged as a way of getting over it,” a source explained.

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It's weird that national defence is the only aspect of government expenditure where cuts carry no political cost and increased funding is a vote loser. Having a full complement of 8 barely armed patrol vessels would have the midwits bleating about imminent war.

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LE Samuel Beckett in Ballycotton Bay, east Cork.Don’t think cruising is for you? Think again By Sarah Gill 27th Jun 2022 Earlier this summer Dominique McMullan set sail on the Wonder of the Seas, the biggest cruise ship in the world.Expand Paul Reid, outgoing chief executive of the Health Service Executive: Sources on all sides are insisting his departure was not prompted by controversy over the plans to close Navan hospital's emergency department.“The vehicle left the road and hit trees and foliage.

Image: Irish Defence Forces LE Samuel Beckett in Ballycotton Bay, east Cork. Image: Irish Defence Forces THE GOVERNMENT WAS warned one year ago in a secret report that the Irish Navy was likely to be reduced to just three operational ships due to a fall in critical engineering staff, The Journal has learned. “Ship not boat” I remind myself for the 100th time while disembarking The Wonder of the Seas – the biggest cruise ship in the world, it’s maiden voyage having taken place in March 2022. It has emerged that the navy has been reduced to just 840 personnel at the Cork Harbour base on Haulbowline island. While sources on all sides insisted his departure was not prompted by controversy over the plans to close Navan’s emergency department, The Irish Times has learned that teams from the HSE and the Department of Health clashed over the move. This will reduce further in the coming months as upwards of 40 people have indicated that they wish to resign. The difference? Well, size. A minimum strength for the Service is recommended to be 1,094 fully-trained personnel.30am this morning, Tuesday 28th June 28, are asked to make this footage available to investigating gardaí,” they said.

The Navy has eight ships attached to its Cork Harbour base – two extra inshore vessels were recently purchased from New Zealand. Gazing up at the 18 decks, my neck hurts. Nonetheless, the face-off now threatens to overshadow the last six months of his tenure. It currently has five ships available for operational patrols but repeated concerns have been expressed about the level of staffing. According to a number of security sources a secret memo carried out by a body dubbed the Joint Operational Planning Group raised the issue. I’m not a “cruiser” (a term I learn that describes avid cruise goers, some of whom jump from ship to ship cruising around the world each year). It is understood that this report, compiled a year ago, warned that the staffing crisis in the Naval Service would result in a further reduction of ships capable of going to sea. Risk transfer Mr Donnelly sought a written note after meeting medics at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, which was received on Monday. The Journal was told that last week Minister For Defence Simon Coveney was in Haulbowline for the commissioning of seven new officers. I imagined an older clientele, buffets, cheesy crooners, sun burn and embarrassing, forced, poolside activities.

It is understood that during this event officers had advised that there was an impending need to tie up another navy ship due to staffing shortfalls. Naval officers are now engaged in a desperate effort to find a solution. But reader I was proved wrong. They criticised what one said seemed to be a “politically inspired” move to “construct a selective case” that could frustrate the process. Speculation in the Navy is that one of the ships is due to undergo two lengthy maintenance periods with a patrol in the middle. It is believed that one solution may be to cancel the patrol and join the maintenance periods together. Boarding is quick – an impressive feat considering the sheer volume of people and goods that need to get on board that day. Advertisement “This would be fudged as a way of getting over it,” a source explained.” Mr Reid joins other high-profile figures involved in the pandemic response who have stepped aside, including chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan and his deputy Dr Ronan Glynn, and HSE chief operating officer Anne O’Connor.

Separately the staffing level has become much worse with multiple sources confirming that the numbers of critically important ship crew, known as Engine Room Artificers (ERAs), is at such low numbers that ships may be tied up indefinitely. I’m staying two nights in a Balcony Room, Interior and Sea View rooms are also available, as well as Suites for those looking for a little more luxury. Every ship needs at least three ERAs to run a shift rotation with a Chief Petty Officer making up the fourth member of the team to oversee their operations. Major threat Mark Keane, the President of PDFORRA said that the ERAs are a major threat to the effectiveness of the navy as they leave to better paid jobs working on cruise ships, merchant marine and in industry in the Cork Harbour area. A seating area with a vanity table and large mirror leads to a king size bed from which I gaze out onto the balcony, overlooking the sea.. “A group was set up to look at recruitment and retention but it is five years too late – everyone in the navy could see this staffing issue coming to fruition. “The British navy suffered a recruitment crisis during the economic downturn ten years ago but their recruitment is now up 30% but the Irish navy has continued to fall. The bathroom has a sizeable shower and all the little luxuries you might expect from a good hotel.

“What are the British doing differently? Basically navy morale is low and people are looking elsewhere to careers with proper benefits, wages and a work life balance,” he said. Keane added sailors had taken great pride in the refugee rescue missions in the Mediterranean and the recent dispatch of a naval vessel to Lebanon on a resupply operation. I head straight to the pool deck, a veritable wonderland of pools, jacuzzis, waterslides, lounging areas, bars and restaurants. “We all joined to want to do that kind of work – we want to be able to use our skills and be involved in good work. “But we are doing more with less constantly and it is not sustainable – people are burning out. After a quick cocktail and a dip in a jacquzzi – that sits slightly off the side of the ship, making for a dramatic underfoot view – I head for the spa. The Engine Room Artificers are becoming a complete rarity – can’t find them.

Numbers are at a critical level. Many of the amenities are free for guests, however treatments at the spa are not, and are reasonably costly. “They are leaving the naval service and going to Princes Cruises and other work like the pharmaceutical industry in the harbour because they will get upwards of €15,000 to €20,000 in their pay packets there. “We need to pay people for the job they do – and the hours they work. The spa is located just above the engine of the ship, and unfortunately my massage takes place just as the engines roar to life, however the noise becomes background after a few minutes and doesn’t ruin the experience. #Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you Support us now “We accept the Navy is never going to be family friendly but there is a way of making it a better work life balance – we have less people and that means people are at sea more,” he said. The recent Commission on the Defence Forces recommended a significantly increased Navy, possibly to 12 ships, and the doubling of the Naval Reserve with new part-time units in Galway, the north west and the north east. Night time is when Wonder of the Seas really comes to life, with a staggering variety of restaurants, bars and entertainment available.

The reservists would serve much of their time playing a critical role in port security. The issue of the retention of Naval Service personnel will be raised in the Dáil tonight in questions with Minister Coveney. Soon after we head to the Bonic Bar for cocktails – served personally crafted by robotic bartenders. Cathal Berry TD, a former officer in the Defence Forces, strongly criticised the Government’s lack of progress on naval retention. “There is a solution here and that is a national minimum wage for Defence Forces members – that is what is required. At this entirely human free bar, robotic arms shake and stir cocktails, made to order. “At this stage a court case in the High Court is needed to vindicate the rights of Defence Forces members.

The State needs to make sure people are paid for the work they do and then there will be no need for committee meetings or strongly worded letters,” he added. I sleep like a baby – with the curtains open and the moon reflecting on the sea right outside my window as we sail to our next destination. In a statement the Department of Defence denied that the Naval Service would be reduced to threes ships and. It also said that the Government has “acknowledged the recruitment and retention difficulties in the Naval Service which are presenting ongoing challenges”. I enjoy crispy bacon, scrambled eggs and hot coffee. The spokesman said that Minister Coveney approved a “comprehensive Naval Service regeneration plan in 2021″ which is being progressed and monitored by a high-level civil and military team. “The aim of the plan is to address the issues facing the Naval Service in the context of human resources, operational capacity, and infrastructure. Cruise ships are quite obviously, not environmentally friendly in their nature, however admirable steps are being taken by Royal Caribbean (the the American cruise holding company) to attempt to neutralise their impact.

A number of the staffing measures in the plan have been implemented. “A seagoing service commitment scheme, aimed at retaining experienced personnel and incentivising sea-going duties, came into effect in 2021. Since 2005 Royal Caribbean have reduced carbon emissions by 35%, and Royal Caribbean Group has committed to further reduce emissions by 25% by 2025 from 2019 levels. The Scheme offers eligible participants an opportunity to receive €10,000 for a two-year sea-going service commitment, to be delivered within a 48 month reference period. A sea going naval personnel tax credit of €1,500 has also been extended for the 2022 tax year. It’s all inclusive and safe, with kids clubs and lots of entertainment for children available at all hours. “These payments are in addition to existing pay and allowances, including patrol duty allowance,” the statement read.

. The teens area is especially impressive, with video games, comfy areas, big screens, pool tables and a very cool non alcoholic bar to hang out at.