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Displaying items by tag: Irish Coast Guard

#COASTGUARD - The Irish Coast Guard is ill-prepared to respond to any major pollution incident off our coastline, according to a report commissioned by the Government.

As Lorna Siggins writes in The Irish Times on Friday, the report identified weaknesses in communication within the coastguard and in the training of volunteer crews, as well as deficiencies in the Marine Survey Office.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar, whose office commissioned the 'value for money' studies, said he would begin an action plan due in October to deal with such issues, which may require "tough decisions" - including the closure of a coastguard radio station at Malin or Valentia.

The studies by Fisher Associates highlighted the lack of a dedicated polluton control team within the coastguard, despite staff having "sufficient knowledge to respond".

Auditing of various pollution response plans was also found to be lax, while problems were also identified in management and training of the coastguard's 1,000 volunteers.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#COASTGUARD - The four-year-old son of a coastguard volunteer who died tragically in March was the first civilian to board the latest addition to the Irish Coast Guard's helicopter fleet in West Cork last weekend.

As the Irish Examiner reports, Tomas Hodnett's father Kevin died in a construction accident just weeks after he had taken part in a massive search for five lost crewmembers in the Tit Bonhomme trawler tragedy last January.

"We are delighted you are here with us today," said Goleen station officer Michael O’Regan. "You are part of the Coast Guard family."

The tribute was part of a special ceremony to mark the opening of the new coastguard station house in Goleen, which also witnessed a flyover of the Mizen Peninsula by the new €35m Sikorsky S92A - a state-of-the-art rescue helicopter equipped with revolutionary technological enhancements.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar joined gardaí, members of the Naval Service and Civil Defence, RNLI lifeboat crews from Baltimore and Castletownbere, and coastguard crews from Cork and Kerry for the ceremony, which included an official blessing of the building - providing a long-awaited update of facilities for Goleen's 21-strong volunteer crew.

O'Regan and others were also presented with medals for their long-time service to the coastguard, as the Southern Star reports, with O'Regan receiving recognition for 40 years's service.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
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#COASTGUARD - The Irish Coast Guard marked the 10th anniversary of search and rescue (SAR) operations at Waterford Airport recently.

As Waterford News reports, Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds spoke at the special event on 10 May, commending the Waterford helicopter crew for their "very courageous work in often difficult flying conditions" and "their ongoing efforts to make us safer on land and water".

Reynolds also paid tribute to the crew of Rescue 111, which went down in dense fog in the sand dunes at Tramore beach while returning from a rescue mission on 2 July 1999.

The evening also marked another anniversary, with the current Sikorsky S61 rescue helicopter just completing its 50th year of flying.

Reynolds confirmed that it will be retired next year and replaced by one of the new custom-fitted S92 helicopters under the service's €500 million deal with CHC Ireland.

Meanwhile, the Waterford base chief pilot Dara Fitzpatrick thanked the public's support for the service over the years, and especially when planned cutbacks threatened to restrict operations to daylight hours.

"We were thrilled with that support," he said, "hey came out and said no, the service can't go, and we will also be eternally grateful for that."

Waterford News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#DIVING - BBC News reports that a man suspected to be suffering from 'the bends' after a dive in Galway was treated in Northern Ireland at the weekend.

The diver was airlifted to the decompression chamber in Craigavon by Irish Coast Guard helicopter as there was no medical team available at the closest facility in Galway.

Decompression sickness - commonly known as 'the bends' - was suspected after the man's rapid ascent from a 22-metres dive in Killary Harbour on Sunday.

Published in Diving

#TITANIC - The Titanic memorial cruise was yesterday forced to turn back just 100 miles from the southwest coast of Ireland after a passenger fell ill, BBC News reports.

The Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter at Shannon was dispached to the MS Balmoral to retrieve BBC cameraman Tim Rex, 56, who was struck by a non-life threatening heart condition, according to the Irish Independent.

Rex, who was covering the memorial sailing for the BBC, was treated by ship's doctors before being airlifted to hospital as a precaution.

The emergency happened just hours after the ship departed Cobh, the last port of call of the ill-fated Titanic before it sank in the North Atlantic on 14 April 1912.

A spokesperson for Titanic Memorial Cruises confirmed that despite the delay, the ship is still on schedule and is expected to arrive at the Titanic wreck site as planned on Saturday.

Published in Titanic

#COASTGUARD - Canada's L-3 Wescam has announced it will be providing electro-optical and infrared imaging systems for the Irish Coast Guard's revamped search and rescue helicopter fleet, starting with the new Sikorsky S-92 based at Shannon.

“This order pairs the most modern SAR helicopter with the most advanced EO/IR sensor to provide a vital capability for lifesaving missions,” said Paul Jennison, vice president of government sales and business development for L-3 Wescam.

The company describes its MXTM-15 system as a one-line replacement unit solution, which reduces installation weight by 25% and increases much-needed cabin space for transporting rescue victims.

The system’s digital infrared camera is capable of a 20% increase in visual range, allowing missions at night or in inclement weather to result in a higher search success rate.

In addition, the system comes with WESCAM’s MX-GEO Gen 3 software package which helps deliver maximum geographic location accuracy and significantly reduces operator fatigue that often arises in demanding and stressful SAR operations.

Imaging system upgrades are expected to be rolled out across the Irish Coast Guard's helicopter fleet by the end of next year.

Published in Coastguard

#RESCUE - One angler has died in hospital and another was receiving emergency treatment last night after their boat got into difficulty on Lough Corrib.

According to The Irish Times, the two men were among a party of three on a boat that was struck by a wave off Annaghdown, which knocked one of them into the water.

Though he was reportedly wearing a lifejacket before he went overboard, an empty jacket was then spotted floating on the surface. One colleague entered the water to search for him but was unsuccessful.

Responding to the distress call from a nearby angling boat, the Irish Coast Guard's Shannon helicopter located the missing angler soon after arriving on scene, some 50 minutes after he entered the water.

The man was airlifted to University Hospital Galway, with the coastguard chopper returning for his colleague when he showed signs of hypothermia.

A small craft warning from Met Éireann was in effect throughout the area at the time of the incident.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#COASTGUARD - Greater co-operation between Europe's coastguard organisations is inevitable, according to the Irish Coast Guard director.

Chris Reynolds was speaking at Search and Rescue 2012, the EU Heads of Coastguard conference in Dublin last Thursday, at which he outlined a feasibility study being conducted by the European Commission on a standardised coastguard service across Europe.

As Shephard Media reports, Reynolds admitted that some challenges stood in front of any effective change in the sector, noting that SAR policy at member state level is often spread across many departments.

But the Costa Condordia disaster off the Italian coast recently may focus governments to develop a "sense of urgency" on the issue, he said.

In the keynote address at the conference, Italian coastguard chief Giuseppe Troina said it was fortunate that the death toll in that incident had not been much greater, emphasising that more than 4,000 people survived the cruise ship's sinking.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#RESCUE - BBC News reports that the search for a cargo ship crewman missing in the Irish Sea has been scaled down.

The 22-year-old from Slovakia was reported missing yesterday morning from the Fehn Sirius, which was en route from Belfast to Portugal, as it headed past Arklow, Co Wicklow.

According to The Irish Times, he was last seen on the cargo ship around 10pm on Monday night as it headed south of the entrance to Strangford Lough.

Lifeboats from Portaferry and Newcastle in Northern Ireland and Arklow joined the search and rescue operation, which was assisted by the RAF helicopter based at Prestwick in Scotland and an Irish Coast Guard helicopter.

However, most rescue services have now been stood down as the Fehn Sirius continues to backtrack in the Irish Sea, with assistance from the Naval Service vessel LE Ciara.

Only three days ago the body of another mariner was recovered from the Irish Sea off the north Dublin coast, more than a month after he went missing.

Published in Rescue

#NEWS UPDATE - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises on a pipeline survey in the Celtic Sea next month.

PSE Kinsale Energy Limited will be commencing the survey of the 24" Gas Export Pipeline on 6 March 2012 using the Marine Institute vessel RV Celtic Voyager (call sign EIQN). The survey is expected to last 1 to 2 days, depending on weather conditions.

The survey will take place along the existing pipeline route in the Celtic Sea, between the shoreline at Inch Beach in Co Cork and gas platform 'Alpha'.

The RV Celtic Voyager will display appropriate lights and signals, and will be towing side scan sonar with cables of up to 200m long. A Radio Navigation Warning will be issued via the Irish Coast Guard (schedule Bravo, four times a day) prior to the vessel's arrival at the survey area. The vessel will also keep a listening watch on VHF Channel 16.

All vessels, particularly those engaged in fishing, are requested to give the RV Celtic Voyager and her towed equipment a wide berth and keep a sharp lookout in the relevant areas.

Further details for seafarers, including relevant co-ordinates, are included in Marine Notice No 7 of 2012, a PDF of which is available to read and download HERE.

Published in News Update
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