Captain Mark Mellett has been appointed head of the Irish naval service.

He takes over as Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service from Commodore Frank Lynch who retired in December.

Capt Mellett, who is now promoted to Commodore, is from Mayo and joined the Navy in 1976.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) in 1994 in recognition of the role of his ship, the LE Orla, in the detention of the drug smuggling yacht 'Brime'.

He was only the second recipient in the Naval Service to get this honour.

Capt Mellett holds a PhD in Oceans Governance from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has published a number of papers on security and maritime affairs.

His first Command was the LE Orla in 1992 and he subsequently commanded the LE Ciara in 1997 and the Irish Naval Flagship LE Eithne in 2005.

Captain Mellett has held a broad range of appointments in the Naval Headquarters and more recently as Commandant of the Naval College and Associate Head of the National Maritime College of Ireland. He has citations for service in Afghanistan (2004) and Lebanon (1989).

Capt Mellett is married to Liz and has four children, Laura, Sean, Lisa and Patrick.