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Displaying items by tag: Irish Coast Guard

A report in this weekend’s Irish Times highlights “a picture of friction and strain” within the Irish Coast Guard, with a number of former and serving coastguard officers taking management to task over allegations of poor treatment of volunteers.

The situation appears to put management’s new culture of safety protocols against volunteers “who feel the organisation’s priority has shifted away from rescue missions and saving lives”.

It describes the case of one decorated former volunteer in Co Waterford who believes he was driven out of the organisation over his political views and for voicing concern over safety issues.

However, such claims that volunteers are targeted and subject bullying or to unfair disciplinary measures have been rejected by acting Irish Coast Guard director Eugene Clonan, who maintains the changes are necessary.

Reforms have come in the wake of two major tragedies for the coastguard in recent years, with the death of volunteer Caitríona Lucas in September 2016 and the Rescue 116 crash in March 2017 which took four lives.

“We are not about best mates here, we’re about trying to run an organisation," Clonan said of the friction againt the changes, adding: "If you’re going to make an omelette, you’ve to crack a few eggs.”

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
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The Irish Coast Guard will lead a large-scale, multi-agency maritime exercise off the Kerry coast this Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 September.

The ‘Blue Kingdom’ exercise at Dingle Bay will test major incident plans and will focus on the operational capability and coordination of the relevant authorities for a major maritime ship casualty incident.

Agencies involved in this exercise include Kerry County Council, the HSE, An Garda Síochána, Dublin Fire Brigade, Naval Service, Air Corps and RNLI.

The exercise will include both live and virtual participation, and the coastguard assures there will be no disruption to services during operations.

Published in Coastguard
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The Irish Coast Guard has launched its new digital portal which will support contingency planning for oil spills and improve preparedness and response to pollution incidents.

In line with the Government’s Digital Agenda, the Oil/HNS Contingency Plan Approval Portal aims to streamline interaction between ports, local authorities and offshore operators with the coastguard and Department of Transport.

Irish Coast Guard director Eugene Clonan said the portal “will allow information to be readily available to stakeholders and enable further coordination between the Irish Coast Guard, Government and non-government entities”.

Capt Hugh Conlon, who tested the system ahead of its launch at Shannon Foynes Port, said it “ensures all plans submitted follow a pre-set layout for ease in timely approval. The completed plan will knit with and develop on the National Maritime Oil/HNS Contingency Plan and ensure local response is compatible.

“The portal will also ensure that local plans are easily available to the Irish Coast Guard to monitor actions during an incident,” he added.

Published in Coastguard

Howth’s Irish Coast Guard unit were tasked to an unusual incident yesterday (Sunday 29 August) after a seven-month-old lamb fell off a cliff on Lambay Island.

Nicknamed ‘Lucky Louis’, the young sheep had fallen 10 metres down a cliff on the east side of the island — east of Portrane in north Co Dublin — and was trapped among the rocks at the cliff base.

Despite his ordeal, the lamb was hesitant when coastguard crew arrived and tried to hide in a nearby cave.

But he was swiftly rounded up and brought back to staff on the island with some small cuts but otherwise in good spirits.

“All’s wool that end’s wool,” the coastguard unit said.

Published in Coastguard

Following a yellow wind warning issued by Met Éireann today (Wednesday 11 August) for eight counties, the Irish Coast Guard is strongly advising the public to exercise caution.

The weather alert is in place for tomorrow, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 August and the public are advised to stay away from exposed beaches, cliffs and piers, harbour walls and promenades in Cork, Kerry, Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo.

The forecasted unseasonable severe weather conditions will coincide with spring tides and rough to high seas, with the potential for wave overtopping and hazardous coastal conditions.

The coastguard encourages the public to remember to ‘Stay Back, Stay High and Stay Dry’ and if you see anyone if difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Published in Weather

Cork County Council has joined the Irish Coast Guard and Water Safety Ireland in appealing to members of the public to be mindful of their personal safety if they’re visiting the coast this week.

The three organisations have issued guidelines for anyone taking part in coastal walks. They’re asking people to stay away from exposed coastal and cliff edges, tell someone where you’re going and to pay attention to tide times and safety signs.

They’re also advising people to dress appropriately for the conditions, to wear a high-factor sunscreen and to bring enough food and water for their journey.

A status yellow high temperature warning remains in place for the entire country. Met Éireann is predicting maximum temperatures of between 25 and 30 degrees for Co Cork until tomorrow, Friday 23 July.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan said: “We all appreciate the vital work that the council’s beach lifeguards, coastguard and RNLI do on a daily basis, and the last thing anyone wants is to put these vital services under unnecessary strain. By staying informed and prepared, we can help ensure our own safety and the safety of our family members.

“Plan your route carefully and keep an eye on the tide times to avoid being cut off by a tidal cutoff. Keep to the path when enjoying our beautiful coastal walkways; keep dogs on leashes and keep a safe distance from cliff edges, which can be extremely unstable. Cork has an unmatched coastline; let us take advantage of it safely.”

Tim Lucey, chief executive of Cork County Council, added: “Co Cork is home to 19% of the country’s coastline and thousands of people are expected to flock to the seaside to make the most of the good weather. I hope that holiday makers and day trippers will follow these simple guidelines to ensure that they have a safe and enjoyable visit.

“I would also remind visitors to park safely and to ensure that they are not blocking vital access for the emergency services.”

Water Safety Ireland chief executive John Leech highlights the fact that there will be a full moon on Saturday which will bring with it spring tides which increases the risk of stranding.

“Please carry a mobile phone and call 112 and ask for the coastguard if you find yourself in difficulty or being cut off by the tide,” he said.

The Irish Coast Guard’s head of operations Gerard O’Flynn said that the number of incidents coordinated by the coastguard is at a five-year high and he appealed to the public to at all times to be mindful of their personal safety, be it on the water or along the coast.

“Please ensure that any activity you engage in is being monitored by a colleague who should be aware of your plans and estimated return time,” he said.

Cork County Council’s beach lifeguards are on full-time duty from 10.30am until 7pm daily at 12 beaches: Youghal Front Strand, Claycastle, Redbarn, Garryvoe, Fountainstown, Inchydoney East & West, Owenahincha, The Warren, Tragumna, Barleycove Beaches, Garrylucas and Garretstown.

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast use VHF Channel 16 or Dial 112 and ask for coastguard.

For more information, visit gov.ie/summerready or safetyonthewater.gov.ie

Published in Water Safety

The Air Corps was put on standby amid fears that an Irish Coast Guard helicopter would have to ditch in the sea, as The Irish Times reports.

Rescue 115 from Shannon was forced to leave one of its crew with an injured fisherman on a fishing vessel off the Co Kerry coast early yesterday morning, Sunday 4 July, when the helicopter’s systems warned of a mechanical issue.

The Sikorsky S-92 “diverted to land at the nearest suitable location” in line with standard procedure, according to a coastguard spokesperson, and the aircraft landed safely at Valentia half an hour later. The issue has since been confirmed to be a “hard fault” and the helicopter is now back in service.

Earlier today, as reported on Afloat.ie, Rescue 115's crew airlifted to hospital a surfer rescued from the sea off Co Clare.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

BreakingNews.ie reports that a surfer has died in hospital after he got into difficulty off the Co Clare coast this morning, Monday 5 July.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Kilkee unit and Rescue 115 helicopter from Shannon were among the emergency services to attend the scene at Lough Donnell in Quilty, where off-duty lifeguards in the area helped bring the surfer ashore.

The casualty was subsequently airlifted to University Hospital Limerick in critical condition.

This story was updated at 6.05pm on Monday 5 July.

Published in Rescue

Cleggan Coast Guard team were tasked earlier in the week to a collapsed horse on Omey Island off Claddaghduff in western Connemara.

The fallen horse was in grave danger with a fast incoming tide, so the coastguard team members worked quickly with assistance and guidance from two vets from Western Veterinary and the owner to bring the horse safely ashore.

Cleggan Coast Guard later commented on social media: “Thankfully the horse is doing well. We’re delighted to be part of this unusual rescue.”

Also this week, Cleggan Coast Guard welcomed Minister of State and Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton to its base in north-western Co Galway.

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton is presented with a locally made miniature model currach by Cleggan Coast GuardMinister of State Hildegarde Naughton is presented with a locally made miniature model currach by Cleggan Coast Guard

During her visit, the minister was shown the range of services and facilities the volunteers at Cleggan provide for Connemara, including a demonstration by the unit's drone search team.

In honour of her visit and in light of the minister’s Department of Transport leadership of the Irish Coast Guard, Minister Naughton was presented with a locally made miniature model currach.

Officer in Charge Michael Murray commenting on the visit said: “It’s great to see the minister make such an effort to get out and meet the people who volunteer their time. We are so proud that she is a TD for our constituency as well.”

Published in Coastguard

The Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee has heard that the Irish Coast Guard’s rescue helicopter service costs the state around €60 million annually.

An initial 10-year contract with CHC Ireland to provide services with Sikorsky S-92 helicopters from four bases began in 2012 and was initially valued at €500 million.

As reported in The Irish Times yesterday, Thursday 28 May, Department of Transport secretary general Ken Spratt told the PAC that this cost will have risen to €650 million by 2022 but that it is “not a fixed-cost contract” and is “broadly in line with expectations at the outset”.

He also confirmed that one of three contract extensions has been exercised and CHC Ireland will continue to provide the coastguard SAR service until at least July 2023.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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