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Sunday, 10th June 2018

French Navy ships to visit Drogheda

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M770 Antares, one of the three visiting French navy vessels visiting Drogheda Port next weekend for the Irish Maritime Festival.

Three ships from the French Navy are expected in Drogheda Port next weekend to take part in the Irish Maritime Festival.

At noon on Friday next (Friday 15th June), as part of the Parade of Sail, three French minesweepers will join the armada of tall ships, tug boats, yachts and other vessels as they sail up the Boyne.

On Saturday and Sunday, festival goers will have a chance to go on board and explore the vessels.

The three minesweepers, M770 Antares, M771 Altair and M772 Aldebaran, were commissioned in 1993 to replace the last of the oceanic mine sweepers and act as sonar tugs. Built in the Socarenam shipyard in Boulange-sur-Mer, these strong and powerful vessels act as sonar towing ships.

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Their role in the French Navy is to provide surveillance for French vessels accessing the Atlantic ports, especially Brest where the Oceanic Strategic Force are positioned. Their purpose is to detect and destroy mines. They do this by sonar surveillance of the seabed using the DUBM44 sonar system.

They also play a pivotal role in the training of navigation students and engage in public security missions including sea-rescue and wrecks reconnaissance.

The names Altair, Antares and Aldebaran are derived from stars in the sky, which have always acted as important markers for maritime navigators. Each of these are the brightest stars in their respective constellations, Aquila, Scorpius and Taurus.

Visitors to the Irish Maritime Festival can visit the French ships (and the other visiting ships) on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June between 12.30-4.30pm. Festival gates open at 11.00am each day and early arrival is recommended to allow sufficient time to visit all the vessels.

The Irish Maritime Festival at Drogheda Port is a family friendly two-day celebration of all things maritime and includes Tall Ships, tug boats, yachts and a maritime education zone. Watch the Water Wags racing up and down the river. Cheer on the 250 participants in The Boyne Swim. Kick back with chilled out tunes on the two live music stages and enjoy the delighted of the Boyne Valley in the food zone.

For more information visit: www.maritimefestival.ie

The Irish Maritime Festival takes place on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June and is hosted by Louth County Council in conjunction with Drogheda Port Company. The Festival is proudly sponsored by Virgin Media and supported by Flogas, Glanbia and Fáilte Ireland.

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