Revenue signs contract for a new Customs Cutter vessel

Today, 3/8/2023, Revenue signed a contract for the delivery of a new Customs Cutter. The Cutter will replace RCC Suirbhéir which is in service since 2004.  

The new Cutter will be built by AuxNaval, part of the Armon Group in Spain and is expected to come into service in 2025.

The Cutter will be operated by Revenue’s Maritime Unit, which has responsibility for patrolling Ireland's 3,173 kilometres of coastline. 

Commenting on the new Cutter, Revenue Chairman, Niall Cody, said:

“The new Cutter will further extend the quality and range of resources that Revenue enforcement teams can deploy in their essential work to prevent, detect, intercept and seize prohibited and restricted goods and products.

The procurement of a new Cutter clearly demonstrates Revenue’s commitment to targeting illicit trade, smuggling and organised crime in the maritime domain and the protection of the EU’s frontier and will enhance levels of collaboration and effectiveness between Revenue and our law enforcement partners at home and abroad.

The range and extent of interventions carried out by Revenue’s enforcement teams result in significant seizures of illicit products. For example, during 2022, 3,600kgs of drugs, with an estimated value of €46.6 million, were seized by our enforcement teams. The new Cutter will further enhance Revenue’s capacity for effective interventions in this critical aspect of our overall operations.

This next generation of Cutter will ensure frontier controls are carried out in an energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable manner, contributing to Revenue reaching its 2030 targets under the 2023 Climate Action Plan.”

Mr. Laudelino Alperi Baragano, CEO of the Armon Group, said:

“AuxNaval are delighted to be chosen by the Revenue Commissioners to build the new Revenue Customs Cutter.  Our 35m hybrid patrol vessel is a highly effective platform and a proven design for law enforcement internationally while also incorporating a range of technologies to minimise the vessel’s environmental impact.”

The 35 metre Customs Cutter will be highly manoeuvrable and equipped with advanced navigational and surveillance systems for effective patrol duties and controlling vessels in Ireland’s territorial waters, contiguous zone and adjacent waters to ensure compliance with the Customs Act 2015 and to prevent and combat smuggling, thereby protecting the customs territory and external borders of the European Union. 

The Cutter will have a range of more than 750 nautical miles and a top speed of 18 knots using twin main engines. The Cutter will meet Tier III emission control standards for Emission Control Areas designated under MARPOL Annex VI and is compatible with bio-fuel and bio-fuel blends. The Cutter will operate in hybrid mode utilising energy efficient twin auxiliary engines. For patrolling and controls at sea the Cutter will have a slipway for launching and recovering a 6.25 metre RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat). To increase the surveillance capabilities of the Cutter a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) platform is located aft on the main deck capable of holding a 100 Kg UAV. 

The expected cost of the Cutter will be €8.75 million excluding VAT and will be funded by the Exchequer and a grant from OLAF (the European Anti-Fraud Office) from the EU Anti-Fraud Programme.

ENDS [03/08/2023]