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Displaying items by tag: Irish Lights

IALA hosts the World Marine Aids to Navigation Day (WATON) which for this year will also be celebrated virtually, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) is a non-profit, international technical association established in 1957.

Among the role of IALA is to gather together Marine Aids to Navigation authorities, manufacturers, consultants, and, scientific and training institutes from all parts of the world and offers them the opportunity to exchange and compare their experiences and achievements.

In Ireland the event is recognised by the Commissioners of Irish Lights based in Dun Laoghaire Harbour where also today at their headquarters, the Taoiseach launched the National Marine Planning Framework and Maritime Area Planning Bill.  

Irish Lights is responsible for waters north and south and is among three General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA's) also involved in Aids to Navigation (AtoN) around the coast of Britain.

The other GLA's in which Irish Lights works in close co-operation and mutual support is Trinity House (England & Wales) and the Northern Lighthouse Board (Scotland and Isle of Man). 

Everyone is invited to take part this WATON by sharing photos of AtoN's on Social Media so to raise awareness world-wide.

Published in Lighthouses

Irish Lights carry out a constant maintenance and monitoring service for its buoy fleet around the coast from its headquarters at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Buoys are prepared to the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) standards in its state-of-the-art buoy service facility.

The ILV Granuaile ship is used for maintenance/replacement programmes and as our photo above shows the eight-metre Irish Lights timber workboat is capable of towing big buoys too!

Irish Lights, which have been based at Dun Laoghaire Harbour since the late 1800s, is a maritime organisation delivering an essential safety service around the coast of Ireland, protecting the marine environment, and supporting the marine industry and coastal communities.  In recent years Irish Lights has transformed how it delivers its services, exploiting new technology and new opportunities.

Tagged under

The Commissioners of Irish Lights has, in the Notice to Mariners 05/2020, given notice that on 30th October or as soon as circumstances permitted, the existing Skulmartin Buoy off the north County Down coast, is to be repositioned.

The existing position is Lat 54deg 31.848' N - Long 005deg 24.910' W and the new position is Lat 54° 32.393'N Long 005° 24.910'W.

The dangerous Skulmartin Rocks off the village of Ballywalter were marked by a 'bell boat' in the late 1870s which was replaced by the manned Skulmartin Light vessel in 1886.

The manned Skulmartin Light vessel of 1886The manned Skulmartin Light vessel of 1886

This, in turn, was replaced by a lit whistle buoy in June 1967 and on 6th December 2004, the wave activated whistle fog signal was permanently discontinued.

Published in Lighthouses

A vacancy at sea is sought from the Commissioners of Irish Lights for the position of an Operations Officer on board their aids to navigation management and maintenance tender ILV Granuaile.

The role in Irish Lights will be both challenging and rewarding role based on the multi-purpose and dynamic positioning system (DP) Class 1 vessel ILV Granuaile.

Afloat adds the Irish flagged ILV Granuaile built in 2000 has along its 80m length an aft work deck and associated 20-tonne crane in addition at the fo'c'sle a heli-deck. The 2,625 gross tonnage ship's homeport is Dun Laoghaire Harbour and location of CIL's head office and adjoining marine depot facility.

For much more details on the ship, the role of the vacancy and requirement to apply, click here and the Candidate Briefing Pack (download) for further information.

Closing date for applications is Friday, 30 October 2020.

Applicants should apply by emailing a CV and cover letter to Susan Murdock at [email protected]

Note in addition CIL currently includes a Vacancy for Data Analyst - eNavigation and Maritime Services, for more click here.

Published in Jobs

All three General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA) of the UK and Ireland - Trinity House, the Northern Lighthouse Board and Irish Lights - will discontinue their Differential GPS (DGPS) service in March 2022.

The GLAs made this decision after carefully considering the results from an extensive consultation carried out with stakeholders and service users. They will cease transmission of the signal after 31 March 2022.

It was in 1995 that the GLAs introduced DGPS as part of the mix of marine aids to navigation (AtoN) provided to safeguard mariners within their combined waters and to help protect the environment. The system became fully operational in 1997. The system consists of 14 DGPS reference stations, six far-field monitoring sites and three monitoring and control sites. The system is operated as a single AtoN, operated and maintained by the three GLAs.

Dr Alan Grant, GLA DGPS System Director, said: “After careful consideration of the results of the consultation process, the three GLAs have concluded that their DGPS system is now redundant. Today’s GNSS are able to meet all but the most stringent accuracy requirements, and position integrity can be provided by alternative means (RAIM or other visual and electronic aids to navigation).

“The GLAs recognise the need to provide adequate notice and support continuity of service going forward. As such, the DGPS system will remain operational until 31 March 2022, at which point the signals will cease.”

Background

Marine radiobeacon DGPS was developed by the GLAs to counter Selective Availability (SA), a deliberate error added to the civilian GPS service to degrade its positional accuracy. The DGPS correction to the position error meant an improvement in accuracy from approximately 50m to around 5m.

In addition to improving the estimated position accuracy, by assessing whether the error is within a given threshold, the reference station is able to monitor the performance of the GPS constellation and identify any faults. Faulty satellites are removed from the position solution, providing position integrity for the mariner.

SA was discontinued in 2000 and GPS now offers the civilian user a position accurate to around 3-5m. DGPS still improves positional accuracy - now enabling positions in the region of 1-2m - but it is the position integrity function that is most often cited as the main benefit of DGPS.

While marine radiobeacon DGPS is not mandated by the International Maritime Organization for carriage on SOLAS vessels, it is provided for in all maritime receiver standards and the spectrum is allocated internationally.

Consultation 

The infrastructure required to run the service is approaching the end of its design life; the GLAs conducted a stakeholder consultation to assess the requirements for the service going forward, surveying and interviewing stakeholders from across the maritime sector and beyond.

Of the responses received, 86% were from mariners and maritime operators, operating a wide range of vessels including ferries, container ships, tankers, liquid natural gas carriers, bulk carriers and leisure craft.

The survey resulted in a mix of responses, with the majority of mariners reporting that they use the DGPS system for accuracy improvements and integrity, while others reported that they do not use it.

All mariners reported using GPS today with around 40% also making use of GLONASS, and around 9% using Galileo too. From the response received, it is expected that more mariners will move to multi-constellation receivers, making use of GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou over the next five to ten years.

Maritime Safety 

Following a change in maritime receiver standards in 2003, all receivers now include Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM). RAIM is a means of determining whether the resulting position estimate is safe to use through an algorithm within the receiver.

Differential corrections are also available from other sources, including Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS), which are primarily provided for aviation users. Work is under way in Europe to introduce a maritime service to EGNOS, the European SBAS. This service is expected to be available around 2022.

Vessels that need high accuracy position and integrity for operations mainly utilise a number of commercial satellite-based services; the decision to discontinue DGPS has no operational impact on these services.

The GLAs advise mariners to consider their use of DGPS and to plan for its discontinuance accordingly. Mariners should check their GNSS receiver(s) to confirm the presence of RAIM and consider upgrading to type-approved SBAS receiving equipment when available.

The GLAs encourage mariners to use all available AtoN - whether visual or electronic - to support their safe passage and the protection of the environment.

To download a PDF copy of the full DGPS article by Dr Alan Grant click here

Published in Lighthouses

Numbering a handful of men that still tend Ireland's lighthouses, but a move, writes Independent.ie, to renewable energy is bringing their unique way of life to an close.

'I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse," George Bernard Shaw once said. "They were built only to serve."

Even after the leap in navigational technology represented by GPS, they maintain that historical function: shining a light for miles around, warning sailors and ships of dangers lurking beneath the surface.

The way they are powered is changing, though, and with it the work of the people who tend them.

The tradition of constantly manned lighthouses ended on March 24, 1997, but the lightkeepers' cottages are still inhabited for weeks at a time by maintenance staff who service the lights' diesel-powered motors.

Today, Irish Lights workers travel to sites including Fastnet Rock off Co Cork, Tuskar Rock off Co Wexford, Inishtrahull Island off Co Donegal, Slyne Head off Clifden in Co Galway and Kish Tower in Dublin Bay.

By 2025, however, all lighthouses, beacons and buoys dotted around the coast and in Irish waters will be powered by renewables. The amount of work for technicians who stay at remote lighthouses will fall.

To read more here including from Yvonne Shields O'Connor, chief executive of Irish Lights which is withdrawing from lighthouses' accommodation quarters.

Published in Lighthouses

Transportation by sea is the most important means of connecting Ireland to international markets, according to one of Ireland’s leading maritime authorities.

Speaking on IALA World Aids to Navigation Day (AtoN) on Wednesday, July 1, the CEO of Irish Lights, the organisation responsible for delivering maritime safety services on an all-island basis, highlighted that maritime transport accounts for more than 90% of Ireland’s international trade, in volume terms.

(Afloat adds that IALA is an organisation of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities). 

“Food, fuel, medical supplies and other essential goods are transported by sea, and as an island nation, Ireland’s dependence on open, safe maritime channels cannot be overstated. This was particularly evident through the recent Covid-19 pandemic,” said Yvonne Shields O'Connor.

Irish Lights, the organisation responsible for safe navigation at sea, uses its network of lighthouses, beacons, buoys and virtual and electronic Aids to Navigation to ensure safe passage. Both onshore and at sea, Aids to navigation, also known as AtoN, are critical to navigation and enhance safety and provide security to marine users, from large vessels transporting essential goods, to fishing and leisure users and more.

“Our seafood industry contributes €1.22 billion to Irish GDP and is a vital part of our coastal economy. Aids to Navigation are critical to the safe operation of over 2,300 fishing vessels registered in Ireland and Northern Ireland and many more foreign vessels working in our waters.The leisure fleet returning to the water following the Covid-19 restrictions is heavily dependent on the Aids to Navigation provided by Irish Lights and by Local Lighthouse Authorities such as County Councils, Ports and Harbours,” said Ms Shields O’Connor.

Aids to Navigation today are a technologically advanced mix of visual aids such as lighthouses, buoys, and beacons; and electronic aids such as Radar Beacons (Racon), Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and Differential GPS (DGPS). The use of solar, battery and LED technology is facilitating improved services to the mariner and the use of renewable energy for our AtoN systems.

Keeping maritime channels operating effectively will continue to be ever more important as economic activity increases and as tourism and leisure intensifies over the summer.

A great summer activity to consider is a visit to one of Irish Lights lighthouses, all of which are functioning Aids to Navigation.

There are 14 Lighthouses accessible to the public through the Great Lighthouses of Ireland partnership www.greatlighthouses.com Irish Lights works hard to ensure that these sites, together with our modern buoys, beacons and radio AtoN, will continue to provide a range of technologically relevant services to all mariners.

Published in Lighthouses

The national crisis has brought an increasing focus and appreciation of just how vital the role of lighthouses and essential maritime safety services is to maintain the security of supply chains and the commercial survival of our island, say the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

The organisation has made a video to pay tribute to health care colleagues as part of tonight's RTÉ's #ShineYourLight / #LonraighdoSholas campaign that asks that we come together as a country in this time of darkness to shine a light in our homes and show that light really can reach us all.

Everyone is encouraged to shine a light at 9 pm, 11 April to acknowledge their tremendous and heroic work.

Published in Lighthouses

The Commissioners of Irish Lights continues to provide essential services to maritime trade for Ireland, north and south during the Covid-19 crisis. 

In an update yesterday on operational activity, Irish Lights announced that their ILV Granuaile and coastal teams provide important maintenance for marine aids to navigation, vital for the safe movement of food, fuel, medical, hygiene and other supplies.

Our 24-hour emergency number remains open as always in the event of a need to report an aid to navigation that is not functioning correctly – +353 (1) 2801996.

In line with government advice in relation to a range of public health and safety measures to delay the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Irish Lights has put in place working arrangements to protect our employees and to keep them safe, while at the same time continuing to allow us to deliver our essential safety at sea services.

The Irish Lights facility in Dun Laoghaire Harbour is open on a restricted-access basis. The office and buoy yard remains accessible for essential operational requirements, and will continue to support the work of Irish Lights around the coast and at sea. Deliveries will be accepted, please phone ahead to reception at 01 271 5400 in advance.

Business operations continue with the majority of our employees working from home. They can be contacted as normal by email or phone.

Essential maintenance and outage response work continues around the coast, and revised health and safety measures have been put in place for the protection of employees working in coastal locations. ILV Granuaile operations and essential buoy maintenance work, outage response, and wreck response continue. Extra precautions are being undertaken to ensure optimal health and safety standards on the vessel.

Requirements are being reviewed on an ongoing basis, please see CIL's website or Twitter for further updates.

The next Glenua lecture is to be held this coming Thursday 6th February (and not the following week as previously advertised). 

The venue will be at Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, Ringsend, Dublin and where an entry contribution of €5 will be in aid of the RNLI.

The subject of the lecture (starting at 20.00) is: “The Fastnet Lighthouse - history, evolution and iconic status”

The speaker is Alan McCann who worked as an engineer for over twenty years for the Commissioners of Irish Lights. He has extensive knowledge of the history and technical evolution of Irish lighthouses. His engineering experience includes the design, installation and maintenance of both lighthouse equipment and floating aids. He was heavily involved in the automation of the Fastnet in the late 1980's.

Fastnet is the tallest and widest rock lighthouse tower in Ireland and Great Britain. It was a monumental achievement when completed in 1904. The graceful upward curve of the new lighthouse is composed of more than 2,000 interlocking granite blocks quarried in Cornwall. It is still a vital navigational aid, despite automation in 1989. Its iconic status is undiminished, not least because of the biennial Fastnet Yacht Race which in 1979 was the occasion of the greatest yacht-racing disaster ever witnessed.

Alan’s illustrated talk will trace the architectural and navigational evolution of the Fastnet rock tower from the 1850's to the present day. He will cover, not only the technology but also the arduous life of the people involved, especially that of the resident colony of up to twenty-two workers, building the new lighthouse over 7 seasons and the subsequent generations of light-keepers.

Published in Dublin Bay
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