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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Irish Coast Guard

#Coastguard - Howth Coast Guard responded to 53 calls throughout 2012, with its 25 volunteers clocking up more than 4,000 man hours.

In its review of the year, the north Dublin unit of the Irish Coast Guard noted that while its safety boat Grainne was dispatched to fewer calls on the water, there was an increased number of cliff and beach incidents to attend to, particularly in the Clontarf and Dollymount areas.

Howth also became one of the first search and rescue teams in the State to avail of the Irish Coast Guard's new side scan sonar.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the coastguard saved 161 lives throughout a busy 2012 that saw the network respond to almost 2,000 call-outs nationwide.

And 2013 so far has been off to a busy start, marked by a dramatic cliffside rescue in Donegal on New Year's Day.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard has had a busy first few days of the New Year with a number of incidents around the country, including a dramatic search and rescue incident in Donegal.

Carlow man Cormac Nolan was rescued after falling 200 feet and becoming trapped in a crevasse while walking on the Slieve League cliffs on the north west coast of Donegal on Tuesday 1 January.

The cliffs are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe, and combined with the man's precarious position and the weather conditions at the time, the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter was unable to winch the man to safety despite its swift response.

The operation - assisted by the Killybegs coastguard unit, Donegal Mountain Rescue and the Aranmore RNLI lifeboat – proceeded to a cliff descent which itself was hampered due to shingle on the cliffside. 

Search teams eventually reached the casualty after 10:30pm and began the slow process of bringing him back up the cliff, finally doing so around midnight. 

The 28-year-old - who discussed his ordeal on RTÉ Radio's News at One this afternoon - was transported by coastguard helicopter to Sligo General Hospital but no serious injuries were reported.

The Donegal incident was just one of a number of search and rescue taskings received by the Irish Coast Guard over the New Year period, coming after news that the coastguard saved 161 lives last year.

Other incidents included searches for missing persons in Wicklow and Dublin and dispatches to reports of persons in the water in Waterford, Limerick and Louth.

Speaking yesterday, Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds said: “Last year was the busiest ever for the Irish Coast Guard and already in the early days of 2013 we have provided assistance in a number of incidents. 

"I am appealing again to the public that they heed local advice and be aware of weather conditions if walking or hiking along our coastline, particularly during winter time.”

Reynolds continued: “There is safety in numbers, so never be alone while walking along cliff paths if possible. Let somebody know when and where you are going and what time you will be back. Stay well away from the cliff edge, both top and bottom. Don’t attempt to rescue people or pets if they fall over the edge.

"If assistance is required dial 112 and ask for the coastguard. Advice as always from the coastguard is if you do see someone in difficulty in the sea, on the shore, cliffs, lakes or rivers, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - The Irish Times reports that the Irish Coast Guard saved 161 lives since January this year.

It was also the busiest year on record or the coastguard search and rescue service, with 1,963 call-outs in the past 12 months, an 8% increase on the previous year.

Minister for Transport Leo Varakdar was due in Howth this afternoon to pay tribute to staff and volunteers with both the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI lifeboats for their invaluable work.

“Without these volunteers, it simply wouldn’t be possible to provide the same level of emergency response," he commented.

In more sobering statistics, 88 bodies were recovered from the water in 2012, which is the highest annual number ever recorded.

And hoax calls were also on the up, with an "unacceptably high" 325 of such calls logged since January.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#Weather - The Irish Coast Guard has warned the public to stay away from coastal areas today (Friday 28 December) as high winds are expected to reach speeds of as much as 140km per hour in some exposed areas.

It marks the third weather warning for gale force winds this week, as Met Éireann advises of south to south-west winds developing during the day with gusts of 90-100km per hour.

Exposed parts of Connacht and Donegal are set to face the worst of the storm-force winds, with severe gusts of storm force 10 - 100-140km per hour - expected between 6pm and 9pm on the coast from Slyne Head to Erris Head to Malin Head.

Speaking to The Irish Times, meteorologist John Eagleton suggested the possibility of trees coming down and electrical poles falling as the winds strengthen over the course of the day.

"We will get a blast around the evening time," he said, "and I wouldn't like to be sailing a boat along the west coast during those hours."

Published in Weather

#Rescue - The most recent episode of Ireland's Search and Rescue features a combined mission by Howth RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard to aid a fishing vessel off Howth earlier this year.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Howth lifeboat crew spent more than 10 hours on 4 February last assisting the 17-metre trawler, with seven crew on board, which was rapidly taking on water.

The coastguard rescue helicopter was also on scene to help the stricken vessel, winching a salvage pump on board to try to stem the water flow amid difficult weather and sea conditions.

The programme is available online via RTÉ Player until 31 December.

The six-part series on RTÉ One has previously featured exclusive footage of the Tit Bonhomme rescue effort at Glandore Harbour in West Cork last January.

Sole survivor of the tragedy, Abdul Mohammed, spoke to presenter Claire Byrne about his struggle to survive the ordeal that claimed the life of his brother Wael and the four other crew.

Published in Maritime TV

#Coastguard - East Londonderry MLA John Dallat has welcomed the news that the Irish Coast Guard station at Malin Head will remain open.

The SDLP politician had previously sought the support of Northern Ireland's Minister of State Mike Penning to help protect the Donegal coastguard station from closure in the wake of the 'value for money' report commissioned by Irish Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.

Last week Minister Varadkar made a U-turn on proposals to close one or both of the stations at Malin Head and Valentia Island in Co Kerry, following vocal protests by coastal communities in both areas.

As BBC News reports, Dallat's interest in Malin Head dates back to 1973, when he met divers salvaging items from the wreck of the Titanic sister ship Laurentic, which was sunk by mines off Lough Swilly in 1917.

Dallat joined the crew to salvage for brass and copper machinery from the wreck, but on the way to the site their boat experienced engine trouble.

It was only by contacting Malin Head that they were able to receive assistance from a passing coal boat - and Dallat believes he would not be here today if not for that coastguard radio call.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#RNLI - Lough Swilly RNLI rescued five people onboard a 50ft fishing boat yesterday evening (Sunday 2 December) after the vessel’s engine broke down in Co Donegal.

During what was a nine-hour callout in tough weather conditions, Portrush RNLI also launched to assist the stricken Mary Ellen.



Volunteer crew members from Lough Swilly had been attending a commemoration in Portsalon when they were requested to launch to the boat that had broken down some 10 miles further on, a mile-and-a -half from Fannad Lighthouse.



The all-weather Tyne class lifeboat arrived on scene at 3.15pm where the crew observed a steel crabber with five men onboard. The fishing boat was carrying a load of crab.



Weather conditions at the time were described as blowing gusts of between gale force 5 and 6 up the lough.



The crew pursued to establish a towline and commence the return journey to shore. After towing the vessel for a couple of hours into the dark, the tide began to turn, making the pull more difficult. A relief lifeboat from Lough Swilly and Portrush RNLI were requested to launch to assist.



Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 was also on scene in the event that the stricken vessel’s crew would need to be evacuated.



As the boat was being towed up the lough it lost all power and VHF was transferred from the lifeboat for communication.



When Portrush RNLI arrived on scene, the crew assisted with the tow while the Lough Swilly relief lifeboat stood by.



The stricken vessel’s mechanic managed to restart the engine during the tow and the vessel made its way into Rathmullan while the Lough Swilly lifeboat stood by in case it required further assistance.



John McCarter, Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat operations manager, paid tribute to the lifeboat crew who arrived back at the station in the early hours of Monday morning.

"This was a long callout in difficult weather conditions and we are glad that we were able to assist this vessel and her crew in making it to shore safely,: he said. 

"This was a testament of the commitment, skill and selfless nature of our volunteers who are always willing to give their time and readily leave the comfort of their homes to face challenging conditions to help people who find themselves in difficulty at sea."

Joe Joyce from the lifeboat crew told BBC News that the nine-hour operation was "an unpleasant experience" but reported that "everybody was safe and well".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#COASTGUARD - BreakingNews.ie reports that the coastguard stations at Malin Head and Valentia will remain open, following a statement to the Dáil by the Minister for Transport this evening.

Coastal communities in Donegal and Kerry had been protesting against plans to close their respective Irish Coast Guard radio stations in the wake of the 'value for money' report commissioned earlier this year by the office of Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.

Both stations were earmarked for potential closure amid concerns that the minister was allegedly looking at an "alternative technical solution" within his own constituency in Blanchardstown.

However this evening Minister Varadkar assured local communities that their coastguard centres would not be closed, while also expressing disappointment at the treatment of officials from his department at a recent joint committee meeting on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Save Our Station campaign group at Valentia has welcomed the news, telling RTÉ News that "common sense has prevailed".

Spokesperson Anthony O'Connell said that he hoped the minister's move marked the end of any threat to the future of the stations at Valentia and Malin Head.

The news comes just two weeks after an East Londonderry MLA sought the support of Northern Ireland's Minister of State to protect the Malin Head station from the chop.

Published in Coastguard

#MCIB - Bilge alarms in compartments below the water line have been recommended for fishing vessels in the official report into the sinking of the FV Amy Jane off Donegal last year.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the six-man crew of the crabber were rescued by coastguard helicopter some 13 miles off Malin Head on the morning of 7 October 2011 after the boat began taking on water overnight.

The vessel had left Greencastle Harbour in the early hours headed out to haul pots from the crab grounds off Malin Head when the crew discovered that the boat was down by the head. The pot store was found to be full of water, and attempts to pump it out made little difference.

The alarm was raised via radio with Malin Head Coast Guard before 9am and Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 was tasked to the scene, lifting all six crew from the stricken vessel by 10.30am.

The report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that corrosion within the Vivier tank system - used to preserve the boat's catch - was the likely source of the breach that led to the vessel taking on water.

Though an unusual thump or bump was noticed by the skipper on watch around 3am, nothing obvious was discovered, and neither the listing at the boat's head nor the flooding of the pot store - which had no bilge alarm - were noticed till after sunrise.

Aside from recommending the installation of bilge alarms for all compartments below the water line on fishing vessels, the report also called for consideration to include survey guidelines for Vivier systems, which are exposed to the same environment as the hull.

The full report on the Amy Jane incident is available to download via the link below.

Published in MCIB

#MARITIME TV PROGRAMMES - Footage from the rescue of the only survivor of the Tit Bonhomme tragedy in West Cork last January will feature in the first of a new series of Ireland's Search and Rescue tomorrow evening on RTÉ One.

Abdul Mohammed, 43, survived the sinking of the trawler when it ran around in rough seas near Adam's Rock at Glandore Harbour, after he was able to reach the shore.

His brother Wael Mohammed (35) died along with skipper Michael Hayes (52), Saied Ali Edlin (26), Attea Shaban (26) and Kevin Kershaw (21) when the boat went down.

As the Southern Star reports, Mohammed will feature in Sunday's programme talking to presenter Claire Byrne about his struggle to survive the tragedy, while exclusive footage from the Irish Coast Guard's Rescue 117 helicopter, the Irish naval vessel LE Niamh and Naval Service divers shows the search for the missing fisherman in the wake of the incident - a first for Irish television.

The first episode of the six-part series will be broadcast this Sunday 18 November at 6.30pm on RTÉ One

Published in Maritime TV
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