Displaying items by tag: COVID19
Waterways Ireland has closed a number of jetties and visitor moorings on its inland waterways in counties Laois, Offaly and Kildare due to the localised coronavirus restrictions imposed by the Government from yesterday evening, Friday 7 August.
The affected jetties are Clonmacnoise, Shannonbridge, Shannon Harbour and Banagher on Shannon Navigation, while visitor moorings on the Grand Canal, Royal Canal, Barrow Navigation and Barrow Line in the affected counties are also closed for at least the next two weeks.
Locks and facilities on all other parts of the Shannon Navigation, Grand and Royal Canals, Barrow Navigation and Barrow Line are unaffected at present and remain open, but Waterways Ireland strongly encourages people to strictly observe social distancing measures.
Meanwhile, the Waterways Ireland quays at Connaught Harbour in Portumna will be used as an operations base for Carrickcraft and Silverline vessels from today, Saturday 8 August. Limited mooring space will be available at Connaught Harbour for a two-week period.
As lockdown eased in Northern Ireland, Strangford Sailing Club’s Commodore Tony McLaughlin was busy working with his committee members on a plan of how to safely reopen in line with UK Government advice.
He explains the measures the club took and how they've been able to ensure safety for their members as they get back on the water.
When did the club close?
On 24 March, a notice was sent out to members letting them know that the Strangford Sailing Club Committee was planning for a Covid-19-driven 2020 season. All our members were encouraged to follow the UK Prime Minister advice and stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel. That also meant staying away from the sailing club.
In line with further Government guidance, we formally closed the club on the 4 April. Members were advised not to access the site or use any of the facilities.
SSC Virtual Regatta Sailing was started on 11 May to keep some of the adults and children occupied during the lockdown period. We ran three sessions per week.
How long was the club closed for?
The club was closed for two months and the SSC Committee agreed that prior to activities restarting SSC must await and comply with guidance issued by the NI Executive, RYANI and National Trust (the club’s landlord).
The National Trust started their restricted opening on 3 June and SSC followed suit with our first Junior Sailing session starting on Tuesday 9 June.
How did you go about reopening?
A Covid-19 subcommittee reviewed how we could safely operate and reopen based on Government recommendations. Email, phone calls and audio conferencing proved invaluable in keeping everyone informed.
What precautions did you take?
To ensure that we could adhere to distancing and hygiene rules SSC adopted a ‘Sail and Go Home’ philosophy. Essentially sailors arrive and go home in their sailing gear thus avoiding the clubhouse. The clubhouse is closed except for the use of the toilets.
Precautions also included reducing the size of sailing groups. For example, the junior section was split into fleets with the parents being responsible for the coordination and training of each group.
For our multi-hander fleets such as the Flying Fifteen and the safety boats, we have followed the principle of family pairings. With small group sizes, furlough and no school, our sailors have benefitted greatly from being able to be flexible; choosing appropriate days when the weather is best suited to the ability of the sailor.
We also issued documents to members outlining all of our advice and guidelines. These included a ‘Back to Sailing Activities’ document and a ‘Juniors – Covid-19 Operations’ document. To help the younger members we also made a video which simply illustrated all the distancing and hygiene protocols (credit must go to Leon Coole for his hard work on the video).
How have members reacted to the club being reopened?
I am very proud at how Strangford Sailing Club and its members have responded during the lockdown and the gradual lifting of the Covid-19 restrictions.
Members have volunteered to assist with running sailing sessions. The club has been able to facilitate sailing for small groups of sailors, while maintaining social distancing.
SSC have enough parental support to get our junior sailors out on the water twice a week and we plan to alternate skills training and race training each week throughout the summer.
Members have been very supportive and accept the fact that changing rooms and showers are out of bounds. Everyone has accepted the need to social distance and largely adhere to the issued guidance.
What is now available at the club?
Organised sailing sessions are scheduled for five times per week:
- Flying Fifteen/RS400 racing is scheduled for Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoons.
- Laser racing is scheduled for Sundays and they are welcome to join FF fleet.
- Topper sailing groups are scheduled for Tuesday and Friday evenings.
- Super Starters in Picos, Toppers and Optimists sail on an ad-hoc basis.
Would you have any advice for other clubs who have not yet reopened?
Embrace the challenge and make positive changes. Now is the time to recruit assistance from members and junior parents. Everyone working together as a team will help to allow sailing to restart. I would suggest that members are asked to help with safety cover, launching, rigging, trolleys, race officer etc.
Some of the other sailing clubs on the lough have followed suit to start their junior sailing using our template.
I am sure social activities will resume in the near future, but currently we will be complying with the current guidelines and restrictions to keep everyone safe.
The grants are part of a series of funding schemes from Sport Ireland following the announcement of €70 million of funding by the Government to support the sports sector in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Implemented by Sport Ireland’s network of Local Sports Partnerships, the grant scheme will provide assistance to local clubs with covering costs associated with the reopening of sports clubs.
Grants can be used to support Covid-19-related expenditure dating from 2 May, when the Roadmap to Recovery was published, onwards.
The scheme is needs-based, designed to support sports clubs that do not have the finances to implement the necessary hygiene and social distancing protocols.
As the total fund available is limited, clubs which already have the finances to implement Covid-19 protocols should not apply.
In addition, the scheme is designed and intended to support return to sporting activities only and cannot be used to support costs related to hospitality services.
There is a limit of one application and €1,500 per club on this grant scheme. Applications will be means tested and only clubs with the most need will be eligible for the full amount. Clubs should not feel that they have to apply for the full amount to be considered for support.
Sports clubs are advised to contact DLR Sports Partnership at [email protected] or 01 2719502 for further information on this scheme.
Funding applications must be submitted prior to Wednesday 26 August via the application form HERE.
Visits to Ireland by cruise liners are unlikely to recover fully until 2023, which will lead to a major drop in tourism revenue for towns such as Cobh.
The town in Cork Harbour was due to host 105 liner visits this year and a further 110 liners were booked to tie up there in 2021. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit cruise line companies hard and a Government ban on all liner visits to ports remains in place, although some companies are running cruises off the Irish coast.
The chairman of an umbrella body which represents 140 European ports dealing with cruise liners has said if the ban was lifted he could see some smaller liners visiting the country before the end of the year.
Captain Michael McCarthy, chairman of Cruise Europe, said the Irish economy would lose an estimated €60m per year from cruise liner tourism if the ban is not lifted.
More on this Irish Examiner story here.
Only one ship visited the Port of Cork this season Afloat.ie adds when Saga Sapphire in mid-March berthed at Ringaskiddy though with concern of Covid-19 but cruisegoers were given a clean bill of health.
Over the next five years investment in container port capacity is expected to tumble following coronavirus-induced global trade slowdowns.
According to the latest Global Container Terminal Operators Annual Review and Forecast report published by Drewry, container port capacity expansion will contract by at least 40% over the next five years in the wake of COVID-19 economic contractions that have hit container trade volumes.
The shipping consultant expects global container terminal capacity to grow at an average annual rate of 2.1% over the next five years, equating to an additional 25 million TEU per year.
“This is well below the capacity growth seen over the past decade, when the average annual increase was more than 40 million TEU a year,” noted Drewry.
Port throughput is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 3.5% over this period from 801 million TEU in 2019 to reach 951 million TEU by 2024.
For much more LloydsLoadingList reports
But as The Irish Times reports, the decision which followed a promised assessment after the island was closed in May has left local boat operators disappointed, but not surprised.
“There are a few operators doing sea angling trips but the landing trips [on to Skellig Michael] are the bread and butter for most of us,” said Donal McCrohan, chairman of the Skelligs Boatmen’s Association.
“We would have liked to get going ahead but it is what it and this is the outcome and I suppose we just have to look forward to 2021 and come back with a bang.”
Yesterday (Thursday 30 July) the OPW said it had taken the decision not to reopen the island off the Kerry coast due to the risks involved in both the boat passage to the island and visiting the island itself amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Unesco World Heritage site features prominently in the second instalment of the recent Star Wars film trilogy, which concluded in cinemas this past Christmas.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has issued a reminder of guidance for all operators of domestic passenger vessels to prevent the spread of coronavirus on their services.
Further details are included in Marine Notice No 32 of 2020, which can be downloaded below.
In the absence of this year’s Bray Air Display due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116 conducted a special fly-past to pay tribute to Ireland’s frontline healthcare workers.
The Sikorsky S92 helicopter took to the skies over the Co Wicklow town at 3pm yesterday, Saturday 25 July, on the same afternoon it flew to the rescue of a family of four stranded by the tide at Sandymount.
Rob Tatten, general operations manager of CHC Ireland, which operates the coastguard’s SAR helicopter service, was in attendance to make small presentation to Mr Paul Reid, chief executive of the HSE, and spoke before the event.
He said: “CHC, who operates the helicopter search and rescue contract on behalf of the Irish Coast Guard, has been taking part in the Bray Air Display every year. However due to the pandemic that wasn’t possible this year.
“But with the organisers of the show we said could we do something to recognise the phenomenal work of our fellow frontline healthcare workers, who like us continue to work 24/7, 365 days a year.
“So today, Rescue 116, while out training, will do a fly-past to thank those workers while we also make a short presentation to Paul Reid and other frontline workers to say thank you on behalf of CHC, the Irish Coast Guard, the aviation community and Bray Air Display.”
Sligo Yacht Club, host venue for next year’s Mirror Worlds, will welcome youth sailing competitors for racing over the weekend of 15-16 August, with a practice race and free boat time on Friday 14 August. Further details will follow on the Facebook event page HERE.
A UK cruise operator Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) has gone into administration, with the “global pandemic of seismic proportions” being blamed for its demise.
The line, writes The Telegraph, which has six ships in its fleet and was founded in 2010, has “ceased trading with immediate effect”, according to administrators Duff & Phelps. It comes after concerns were raised last month that the company was in desperate need of additional funding – which it said it was “confident” of securing.
There are no passengers on board any of CMV’s vessels, with all operations paused since March. It has been due to resume sailing on August 25. All future bookings have been cancelled.
Customers who had trips booked can find out how to get their money back on Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ website. The company mainly sold cruise packages, which are protected by ABTA, and a smaller number of flight-inclusive packages which are protected by ATOL.
For much from the newspaper click here.
The classic cruiseship once a former Soviet era liner, was a frequent caller to Irish ports over the last decade and of recent years fleetmate Magellan which 'homeported' out of Dublin Port and Cork (Cobh) catering for the Irish marketplace.