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Deirdre (P20)

Deirdre (P20) was a ship in the Irish Naval Service. She was named after Deirdre, a tragic heroine from Irish mythology who committed suicide after her lover's murder.

Naval boat and gasholder, Dublin.jpg
Name: Deirdre
Namesake: Deirdre
Builder: Verolme Cork Dockyard, Cork
Yard number: 819
Laid down: 10 August 1971
Launched: 21 January 1972
Commissioned: 19 June 1972
Decommissioned: 2001
Struck: 2003
Homeport: Cork
Fate: Sold for scrapping
General characteristics
Type: Offshore patrol vessel
Displacement: 972 tonnes max
Length: 56.1 m (184 ft) overall
Beam: 10.42 m (34.2 ft)
Draught: 4.38 m (14.4 ft)
Speed: 33.3 km/h (18.0 kn) maximum
Boats & landing
craft carried:
Complement: 47 (6 officers and 41 ratings )
  • 1 × 40 mm/60 Bofors
  • 2 × 12.7 mm machine guns

Built in 1972, Deirdre was built as a replacement for the Ton-class minesweepers, and one of the first vessels custom-built for the Irish Naval Service.[1] She was to have longer range and be a more seaworthy ship for work in the Atlantic. Deirdre became the prototype for the later Emer-type vessels.[citation needed]

Deirdre badge, National Maritime Museum

Deirdre undertook a number of search and rescue operations throughout her careers. For example, Deirdre was one of the vessels involved in the 1979 Fastnet race rescue operations, assisting the crews of two yachts.[1][2] In 1990, during the rescue of a Spanish trawler crew in Bantry Bay, a member of Deirdre's crew died – and was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and Spanish Cross of Naval Merit.[3][4]

By the time of the vessel's naval decommissioning in early 2001, Deirdre had travelled approximately 450,000 nautical miles.[5] She was replaced by a Róisín-class patrol vessel.

Deirdre was sold at public auction for IR£190,000 in . She was purchased by the English yacht chartering company Seastream International for conversion into luxury charter yacht Tosca IV for the company's owner, businessman Christopher Matthews.[6][7] Speaking on the radio, a Seastream spokesman appeared pleased with their bargain as they had been prepared to bid up to IR£500,000. The auction starting price had been IR£60,000.[citation needed]

The conversion in a Polish shipyard was not completed as the English owner died. In 2007 she was towed to Brazil for further refit and completion.[8] Substantially complete, she arrived at Jacksonville, Florida in September 2012 for final outfitting as Santa Rita I. However, in August 2014, Santa Rita I was towed to Green Cove Springs, Florida, for breaking.[9][10]


  1. ^ a b "Naval vessel Deirdre sold at auction". Irish Times. 15 June 2001. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Storm turned summer race into disaster". Irish Times. 13 August 1999. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  3. ^ "A Drogheda Naval Hero is Remembered 22 Years On". Irish Naval Association. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Courage of seaman to be honoured at Naval base". Irish Times. 16 February 1999. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  5. ^ "A priceless vessel sails into history". Irish Times. 3 March 2001. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Skeleton naval crew maintaining LÉ Aisling as fate of vessel undecided". Irish Examiner. 16 August 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Donegal port fails to acquire naval patrol ship". Irish Times. 25 August 2001. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  8. ^ "M/Y Tosca IV". Superyacht Times. 24 September 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  9. ^ "L.E. Deirdre". 1 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Abandoned ship: The final voyage of Santa Rita I". 26 January 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2018.