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Displaying items by tag: maritime

#maritime – Getting your message across has never been easier thanks to the power of the internet. From computers to smartphones to tablets, access to the web today is almost ubiquitous - increasingly even out on the water! - and it's often the first place marine-minded people go to find whatever they're looking for, whether it's buying a boat, looking up sailing conditions or checking out a new club to join.

So it nearly goes without saying that websites are the first line of interaction with the public - the virtual shopfronts that put across who you are, what you do and how you can be of service, often at little more than a glance.

In light of this, it's no surprise that a great web presence - a well-designed usable website, topping the web search tables with active social media connections - can mean the difference between boom and bust for any business or service, especially in the current economic climate.

But since everyone else is getting on the web, too, it's becoming a lot harder to get noticed in the crowd. No longer is it enough just to look good. Winning websites must form part of a digital strategy: attracting interest, getting talked about and making an impact beyond the bytes.

What do web users want? How can we reach them? And how do we keep them coming back? That's the biggest challenge for clubs, organisations and businesses in the marine and maritime sectors in this digital age.

We at Afloat.ie know this more than anyone, which is why we've decided to recognise the best in what we and our readers see in Irish marine digital communications with the inaugural Maritime Web Awards.

We want to highlight excellence in marine websites making the biggest mark across a variety of categories, from the business end (brokerage, chandlery, ports and marinas) to those vital services (water safety, rivers and canals, watersports) for anyone who takes to the water, whether on the coasts, offshore or inland.

Nominations for the first Afloat.ie Maritime Web Awards were accepted on any and all marine-based websites via comments on Afloat.ie and on Twitter and Facebook. Selected sites were then scored for design, usability, interaction, social media, community and speed, with voting taking place with a judging panel representing our 11 award categories: Sailing, Brokerage, Chandlery, Clubs, Classes, Safety, Inland, Ports, Marinas, Watersport and Conservation.

The sites awarded below represent our judges' choices of the best of the web in Ireland's marine and maritime sectors in a landscape that's constantly shifting. But that's exactly why these sites deserve our recognition - they're keeping ahead of the curve, and will surely adapt to what changes may come in the next few months, let alone years.

So without further ado, the winners of the inaugural Afloat.ie Maritime Web Awards are...

Sailing Award 

SailCork - www.sailcork.com

Sail Cork-1

Coming in tops for its search engine ranking and easy-to-navigate website that's constantly updated with the latest course offerings and blog updates, SailCork looks forward to its 40th year in business with a Maritime Web Award in the Sailing category. Though geared towards education - with courses in navigation (including iPad navigation for the tech-minded) and radio operation among its offerings - this Cobh institution also specialises in adventure sailing holidays at home and abroad, all available at a mouse click or screen tap.

Watersport Award

Surf Republic - www.surfrepublic.ie

SurfRepublic-1

Surfing is serious business to the team behind Surf Republic, run 'by Irish surfers for Irish surfers' and built around a commitment to 'accurate Irish surf reporting, quality web cameras and advanced ocean and swell forecasts' - not to mention providing a forum for Ireland's growing community of waveriders. News? They keep things up to date so you'll never miss a swell. Social media? Get connected on Facebook and Twitter. Want to see how the water looks from wherever you happen to be? Links to eight surf cameras should sort you out!

Brokerage Award

MGM Boats - www.mgmboats.com

MGMBoats-2

MGM Boats has been ahead of the game when it comes to expanding its boat brokerage vision from Britain and Ireland to the continent and far beyond, establishing offices in the Mediterranean and making its presence known at boat shows as far afield as Dubai and Russia. Its website takes its reach fully global, listing hundreds of new and used boats between 15 locations worlwide that can be quickly filtered by your requirements, from brand to size to price. MGM Boats makes selling your vessel easy, too, while maintenance is a doddle thanks to their various boatyard services, all fully detailed online.

Chandlery Award

CH Marine - www.chmarine.com

CH Marine-1

CH Marine is billed as 'Ireland's leading marine equipment supplier' and it's easy to see why, boasting as it does an impressive range of chandlery, sail clothing, the latest electronic gadgets and more, available via five walk-in superstores nationwide (in Cork, Skibbereen, Belfast, Kilkeel and Newry) and its fully stocked and browsable online shop, which provides free delivery in Ireland for orders over €50. CH Marine also ships worldwide, broadening its market considerably. The site also links to CH Marine's nationwide network of chandlery partners, making it even easier to find exactly what you want.

Clubs Award

Kinsale Yacht Club - www.kyc.ie

KinsaleYC

Compared to Ireland's storied yacht clubs - Kinsale Yacht Club, established in 1950, is the baby of the bunch. But does its comparative youth mean the club's more clued in to the power of the web? It's sleek, club livery themed website is certainly good evidence for that, presenting the latest news, results, reports and social connections up front - Facebook and Flickr both used well - and boasting a pagerank to make the competition green with envy.

Classes Award

Flying Fifteen Association of Ireland - www.flyingfifteen.ie

FlyingFifteen-1

The Flying Fifteen Association of Ireland may not have the sleekest website in appearance, but they're streets ahead of their fellow sailing classes in terms of knowing how to use it. Boat specs and club details are all easy to find on the site that keeps members and the public alike regularly informed on the latest results, fixtures and other events, and engaging with the Flying Fifteen community via social media - including a Flickr page for beautiful on-the-water shots, something that should be noted by the rest.

Safety Award

Irish Water Safety - www.iws.ie

iws

'Promoting water safety in Ireland' is the goal of Irish Water Safety, the national charity that works tirelessly to educate the public about respecting the water. After an exceptionally hot summer that saw an alarming rise in drowning tragedies, the work of the charity and the lifeguards its helps train is needed now more than ever. The first line is this website, an efficiently designed connection to nationwide training courses, water safety advice and rescue services to get the public clued in to safer behaviour at the beach, by the pool - anywhere there's water.

Inland Award

Waterways Ireland - www.waterwaysireland.org

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The cross-border navigation authority Waterways Ireland launched its new website earlier this year and it's a significant improvement as a resource, putting everyday usage of Ireland's rivers, lakes and canals to the fore. A colour-coded system makes distinct every one of the seven major water systems across the island of Ireland, each with its own section detailing maps, navigation info and activities. Marine notices and events nationwide are available with a single click, as are education resources and registration for waterways services. The Waterways Ireland website is doing it right.

Ports Awards

Port of Cork - www.portofcork.ie

PortofCork

Ireland's commercial ports are well served online, but the Port of Cork website is far ahead of the class. Distilling everything one wants from a port website - shipping times and services, cruise and ferry schedules, and berthing details for visiting boaters - into a simple but effective modern and clean layout, the Port of Cork site follows the axiom 'less is more' to the correct effect. Community engagement is another important aspect, and one can't ignore the port's popular and active Twitter account.

Marinas Award

Greystones Harbour Marina - www.greystonesharbourmarina.ie

GreystonesMarina-1

Greystones in Co Wicklow was the brightest spot on the Irish marinas map with the launch of its world-class berths earlier this year. And it's little wonder that Greystones Harbour Marina has a website to match. Cleanly designed, with direct links to details of its available berths - plus integration with boat sales partner BJ Marine - and active on social media over its first summer season, the website's doing a wonderful job of putting Ireland's newest marina on the international stage. Here's looking forward to 2014's season arrivals!

Conservation Award

Irish Whale and Dolphin Group - www.iwdg.ie

iwdg

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group knows how to put the power of the web to its advantage, using its website as a platform to educate about the many species of whale, dolphin and porpoise that frequent Ireland's shores - and get the public involved in gathering data on sightings and strandings (both can be reported directly on the site) to assist in its important conservation work. The site's news and events sections are regularly updated, and the IWDG also reaches out via a very active Facebook page with thousands of followers.

Afloat.ie will be promoting maritime web initiatives throughout 2014. Please get in touch with any website information, enewsletters or social media campaigns

Published in Maritime Web Awards
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#powerfromthesea – A large crowd of 130 people gathered at the National Maritime College of Ireland for the Annual IMERC Conference to discuss how disruptive innovation can help Ireland realise its ocean potential. A disruptive innovation is an innovation which disrupts, improves and replaces an existing product, process approach or idea over time in unexpected ways. IMERC, the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster, is a partnership between University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology and the Irish Naval Services.

The government aims to increase turnover from the sea to €6.4 billion by 2030. Chris Roche, the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of EMC Europe, Middle East and Africa) EMEA Division, challenged the gathering to make the leap to disruptive innovation. He said "It is fantastic to see a cluster around such an obvious potential benefit to the country. The major question is if IMERC will move at enough speed and really embrace disruptive innovation?"

Mr Roche pointed out that Ireland is not among the top ten countries with the longest coastline in the world, nor is it among the largest Maritime and Energy clusters. To be successful Ireland will have to be innovative in its approach to building networks and take advantage of big data in the maritime sector.

"While Ireland is not among the countries with the longest coastlines, it does have the largest maritime to land mass area in the EU and is the third largest territory in the EU when its seabed is included which means that the maritime sector has huge growth possibilities for the Irish economy."

Dallas Meggitt CEO of Sound and Sea Technology also spoke at the conference. Last week Sound and Sea Technology announced the creation of 55 new jobs to be located on the IMERC campus. This conference made tangible contribution to the realisation of Ireland's ocean potential by bringing together speakers and guests from North America and Europe from a range of backgrounds including industry, government and academia to discuss the role disruptive innovation can play in driving this sector. IMERC is already making a big contribution to this sector with advanced plans for the development of a research and commercial campus in Ringaskiddy.

Published in Power From the Sea

#rnli – Two maritime legends finally met last bank holiday weekend at the Gathering of the Fleet Maritime Festival when Arklow RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Jimmy Tyrell climbed aboard the Shannon class lifeboat. Jimmy and his father before him lobbied the life-saving charity for many years to call one of their lifeboat classes after an Irish river and was finally rewarded when the Shannon class lifeboat was put into production last year.

Its arrival at this year's Arklow Gathering of the Fleet Maritime Festival was one of the highlights of the event. The lifeboat is on a tour of RNLI stations to introduce volunteer lifeboat crews to the new vessel. Jimmy was given a warm welcome onboard and had a full tour of the lifeboat from its RNLI crew.

The Shannon class lifeboat is the first all weather lifeboat to be powered by twin waterjets instead of propellers, making it more manoeuvrable and safer to operate in shallow water. It has a top speed of 25 knots and is due to replace the Mersey class lifeboat.

The Gathering of the Fleet Maritime Festival which was held in aid of the RNLI, played host to vessels of all shapes and sizes over the August bank holiday weekend.
Just prior to the departure of the new Shannon Class Lifeboat "RNLB Jock & Annie Slater" Arklow RNLI's crew made a presentation to Jimmy and the boats Coxswain Tommy to mark the visit and its importance to Jimmy and indeed all at Arklow RNLI.

East Coast FM broadcast their popular morning radio show with Declan Meehan live from the Arklow RNLI lifeboat station with special guests Diarmuid Gavin and Shane Byrne and our own volunteers getting involved in the fun. The lifeboat crew gave their guests a warm welcome but had taken the precaution of having a fully kitted out crew on scene in case they received a callout during the show.

Commenting on the festival Arklow RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer Mark Corcoran said, "This weekend is the fruition of months of hard work by the committee. Living on the east coast, the sea is such a big part of everyone's lives and we wanted to celebrate our proud maritime history and traditions with this Gathering of the Fleet Maritime Festival. Thanks to all the boat owners near and far and to the many people who have given their time and energy to make this year's event something special."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A celebration of European maritime communities is to be held tomorrow Tuesday (May 21st) but who here has heard of it?

We are a small island in the North Atlantic but thanks to our sea territory we're also one of the biggest countries in Europe so you would imagine some maritime folk at least would be interested in celebrating this EU backed promotion of something so crucial to our island life.

Ireland is the third biggest country in the European Union by virtue of our claimed seabed territory of 220 million acres.

Unfortunately a quick check of the google Ireland index confirms the international date does not figure high on any Irish government website.

Five different Government Departments deal with aspects of Ireland's maritime sphere.

We emailed the Department of the Marine about the celebrations but we got no response.

This is surprising given our current EU role and the recently adopted European Atlantic Action Plan designed to complement the Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland "Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth" launched by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D., in July 2012.

The aim of European Maritime Day is to provide an occasion to highlight the crucial role that oceans and seas play in the everyday life not only of coastal communities, but of all EU citizens, and for Europe's sustainable growth and jobs at large, and to encourage better stewardship of coastal zones, seas and oceans by all citizens and actors concerned.

Of course our own very active coastal communities have put their future in good hands for some time now. Their own. But there is only so much isolated little harbour towns can do on their own.

A marine alliance of these communities and fishing and boating sectors could forge a national voice for a maritime nation. Who knows Ireland might even get to celebrate this important European date?

This year, the sixth edition of the European Maritime Day will be held on another European island, in Malta in the city of Valletta.

It is organised by the European Commission (DG for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) in partnership with the Maltese Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, and the Maltese Ministry for Tourism. The seas and oceans, and the opportunities they offer, will be at the heart of discussions. There will be high-level political debates as well as more practical exchanges between maritime stakeholders. Thoughts, ideas and new concepts will be devised during the Conference. Lets hope the third biggest sea territory in Europe gets a mention.

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Published in Water Rat

#spatialplanning– Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is coming to prominence as a new approach to the governance of the seas and oceans.  The European Union has taken important steps to promote the uptake of MSP by Member States. Trans boundary planning in the European Atlantic is a project funded by DG Mare and the first workshop in the project is being held in Newry, Co. Down today.

The project is a partnership between the University of Liverpool and the Coastal Management Resource Centre of UCC. Delegates from a number of N Ireland government departments and the Republic have joined with industry stakeholders to discuss in the workshops some of the issues surrounding MSP. The Irish Marine Federation is the single voice representing the marine leisure sector.

Already the group are settling in to try to develop a methodology to ensure that all sectors will contribute to the debate from a social, environmental and an economic view point.

Steve Conlon of the IMF stated that it is important that the marine leisure industry full engages with this type of forum to ensure that the leisure boating voice continues to be heard.

Published in Marine Science
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#training – SeaRegs Training has opened a Maritime Training Centre based in Plymouth, Devon.

SeaRegs Training specialises in courses for people who want to work in the marine industry, offering internationally recognised MCA and STCW95 courses including STCW First Aid, STCW Personal Survival Techniques, STCW Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities, plus preparation courses for MCA Master 200/Officer of the Watch 500 and Boatmaster licences.

"We have a background in providing sound advice and solid training to people looking at coming into the industry or increasing their knowledge and certification. We hope to extend our range of courses over the coming year to ensure we fully reflect what skills the marine industry and the mariner require'. Simon Jinks, Managing Director of SeaRegs said.

"SeaRegs also offer online training for navigation and safety modules allowing seafarers to learn at their own pace or onboard ship. This is becoming an increasing popular way to learn with the increasing demands on people's time. Whilst the learning is online, help is only a phone call or email away" Jinks added.

SeaRegs also offer a host of professional RYA/MCA powerboat, motorboat and sailing training for people who work afloat so that they gain commercial endorsements and instructor courses for those who would like to teach in the industry.

SeaRegs M.D., Simon Jinks has over 25 years experience in the field of marine training, having previously run the RYA's Yachtmaster Training Scheme and also recently authored the RYA Commercial Regulations - Small Vessels book and ISAF Guide To Offshore Personal Safety For Racing And Cruising.

Courses run throughout the year in Plymouth and often in other areas and countries. For more information visit: www.searegs.co.uk or call 01392 580771

Published in Marine Trade
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In THIS 'ISLAND NATION' this week, I invite you to join me on a sea crusade, report that the Shipping Industry should encourage youngsters from Sail Training... A song for the Kilmore Quay fisherman who defied the EU ... 50 years of diving in by Galway university students ... Sunny but cold, the oddest fish in the sea .... More developments on boat security .... Piracy at sea levels fall and Limerick Water Safety Developments ...

JOIN ME IN A SEA CRUSADE

For some time I have been trying to raise interest in the concept of an independent, voluntary organisation to represent the widest interests of the maritime sphere. There has been some support, but it has been limited, despite the fact that over the past few years public interest in Ireland's maritime resources has increased. There is more awareness of the sea and that we are an island. In more and more circumstances, ranging from political to government, commercial, industry, fishing and leisure, I have heard the words used which I spoke for 20 years as a radio presenter: "This Island Nation...."

 afloat islandnationspread

There is more awareness at State level of the maritime sphere now. There are more positive initiatives being taken. The leisure sphere has expanded. There has been a vast increase in participation in watersports. But still the maritime sphere lacks a voice at national level dedicated to raising marine awareness generally, to regularly, constantly, highlighting maritime matters - representing the marine across its widest perspective, from fishing to shipping, the marine environment, to the leisure sector.

My focus is to try to establish a maritime foundation which would do this. If you are interested, read more in the Autumn edition just on sale of Afloat magazine.

SHIPPING INDUSTRY SHOULD ENCOURAGE YOUNGSTERS FROM SAIL TRAINING

The Chief Executive of Sail Training International has told the International Chamber of Shipping that he is surprised "that there has been no systematic attempt by the shipping industry to encourage youngsters who have taken voyages on sail training vessels to seek jobs at sea."

CEO of STI Peter Cardy challenged the shipping industry at its annual conference to take advantage of what he described as "the vast incubator of potential talent" that existed for the shipping industry amongst young people who had shown an interest in the sea by taking a voyage aboard a sail training ship. He is the former Head of the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency and said that the sail training sector was continuing to grow internationally. There had been 55 sailing vessels from 20 countries and 7,000 trainees of 31 nationalities involved in this year's Tall Ships Race.

"Given the continuing manning crisis in the shipping industry about which we hear I am surprised that there has been no systematic attempt by the shipping industry to encourage a flow of recruits from the sail training vessels."

KILMORE QUAY'S FISHING FACEBOOK

The Kilmore Quay Fishing Fleet has set up its own Facebook page on which Roger McGuire has written and placed via soundcloud.com 'The Ballad of the Saltees Quest,' a tribute to Skipper Jimmy Byrne following his refusal to dump monkfish and landing it on the quayside.

jimmybyrne

Kilmore Quay skipper Jimmy Byrne

"It's a little tune I threw together in support of Jimmy and the crew who made a stand by landing fish that by some stupid law they would have had to dump at sea. This action put them in danger of legal proceedings against them," says Roger. "I used the melody from an old Irish song called 'The Golden Jubilee'. The lyrics are all my own."

And here's the song!

FIFTY YEARS OF DIVING

The Irish Underwater Council, CFT, is making plans to mark its 50th anniversary next year and a commemorative booklet will be produced by the anniversary date in September 2013. The occasion will be marked on September 28 in the City North Hotel, Gormanstown, Co.Meath. However, one Irish sub-aqua club has already reached its 50th year in existence -

the NUIG/GMIT Sub-Aqua Club which launched its new 6.5m XS-650 RIB Rigid Inflatable Boat, Alice Perry. The club dives locally on a regular basis to such sites as Coral Beach, Bóthar Buí and Killary Fjord. Larger weekend trips also take place to dive sites all along the west coast, from Donegal to Cork. The club is open to all current students, alumni or staff of NUI Galway or GMIT. For further information on the NUIG/GMIT Sub-Aqua Club, or to join, visit www.galwaydiving.com

SUNNY BUT COLD – THE ODDEST FISH

The ocean sunfish is one of the oddest specimens in the seas and is being studied by scientists because of its pattern of swimming at depths as far as 2,000 feet under the surface, but then surfacing to bask on its side where sea birds then snack on parasites clinging to the sunfish's rough greyish skin. Basking may be a way for sunfish to thermally recharge themselves as they cannot tolerate prolonged exposure to cold ocean temperatures, according to the scientists. The sunfish is a flat oval shape found in tropical and temperate oceans, though an occasional one has been reported in Irish waters in recent years, seen as an indication of changing ocean temperatures.

Its scientific name is 'mola mola.' Mola is the Latin word for millstone and accurately describes the flat oval shape of this fish, the heaviest- known bony fish in the world. Bony means that their skeletons are composed of bones instead of cartilage. The weight of an average adult sunfish is about 2,000 pounds. The heaviest known sunfish weighed close to 5,000 pounds.

They eat mostly jellyfish but will also eat small fish, plankton, squid and crustaceans. Sunfish meat is not widely consumed by humans although considered a delicacy in some parts of the world such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

BOAT SECURITY

Following my report about boat and equipment thefts Kevin Hennessy has been in touch with me from Youghal where he heads up BoatWarden International Ltd., an Irish-designed and developed product, with all components sourced and assembled in County Cork.

"BoatWarden is a security and management system for small ribs to yachts. Some of the features we cover are - intruder alerts, high water in bilges, theft of boat, breaking of moorings, automatically switching on heat and lights, all from your smart phone," he tells me. "Our system will text up to 5 people if there is a problem. There is no annual fee and all our clients use a pay-as-you-go SIM card. We sell our product globally and the UK and Australia would be our biggest markets. We have units worldwide. The theft of boats right now is on the increase."

The company is developing video systems and I will be having a further look at its work in future weeks. It is good to see a Cork company developing responses to the problems of boat theft.

SEA PIRACY LEVELS DOWN

Sea piracy has fallen to its lowest level worldwide since 2008, as policing by international naval forces has deterred pirates operating in the waters off Somalia, new figures from the piracy watchdog this week indicate. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said there were 233 actual and attempted attacks on vessels globally in the first nine months of 2012, compared with 352 in the corresponding period last year.

The number of attacks by Somali pirates has fallen, with 70 attacks by the end of September, down from 199 in 2011 and the lowest number since 2009.

LIMERICK WATER SAFETY DEVELOPMENTS

Limerick County Council, in conjunction with Irish Water Safety and Loc8 Code Ltd. have started a pilot project which enables anyone requiring help at any one of 86 ringbuoy locations around the county to direct the emergency services to their position, with an accuracy of six metres. Ringbuoys and their holders along the Shannon River and Estuary, River Mulcair, River Maigue and dozens of other locations popular with members of the public have been fitted with Loc8 codes containing GPS coordinates. The information is accompanied by contact details for the Samaritans' support services to assist in the reduction of suicide through drowning.

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Brian Kennedy, Water Safety Development Officer, Limerick County Council; Cllr Leo Walsh; Con Murray, Limerick Local Authorities Manager; Gary Delaney, CEO Loc8 Code. Photo: Brian Gavin Press 22

Loc8 Codes were originally developed by GPS Ireland, run by former Naval officer and CEO of the company based in Crosshaven, Gary Delaney. "The placing of these codes on ringbuoys and their holders will help to further improve the emergency services' response times when dealing with an emergency incident," he said.

The 86 ringbuoy locations featured in the Loc8 Code pilot project include Castletroy, Foynes, Adare, Annacotty, Pallaskenry, Croom, Glin, Loughil, Askeaton, Castleconnell, Lough Gur, Bruree, Athlacca, Cappamore, Clareville, Montpellier, Murroe, Newcastle West, Pallasgreen, Abbeyfeale, Dromkeen, Bruff and Kilmallock.

Email your comments on maritime matters to : [email protected]

Follow Tom for more maritime news and comment on Twitter: @TomMacSweeney

Published in Island Nation

#coastguard – A major maritime exercise, 'Exercise Diamond', which involves HM Coastguard, vessels, RNLI lifeboats, helicopters, search and rescue coordinators, Belfast Harbour, emergency services and local authorities will be held on Sunday 23 September from 9.30 am. Exercise Diamond, a live large-scale incident exercise, will be held within Belfast Lough, Northern Ireland and involve 365 people.

A briefing will take place in Bangor RNLI Lifeboat Station by the MCA media team at 8.40 am.

A vessel will be available for media representatives, for filming and photographing the exercise as it unfolds. The boat will depart from Bangor Marina at 09.00 am and is expected to return at roughly 11.00 am. There will be limited places on board so please contact the MCA press office as soon as possible to book a place.

The RNLI will be supplying footage, taken from lifeboat cameras during the exercise. Further detail about where this can be obtained will be available nearer the date.

The exercise director and other exercise players will be available on the day for interview. Please contact the MCA press office in advance to make bids for interviews.

Steve Carson, who is the Exercise Controller says:

"Exercise Diamond will test the major incident plans for all of the organisations that would be involved should a major maritime incident happen in Northern Ireland. We would particularly like to thank Stena Line and RFD Survivitec who will be providing vital resources for the exercise."

Published in Coastguard
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#maritimetourism – The Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly says the strategy, due to be published next year, should prioritise sustainable tourism, taking safety and environmental concerns into consideration. Promoting competitiveness, job creation and benefits for local communities are also pivotal in Mr Kelly's view.

"Ireland may not be able to guarantee year-round sunshine but we have some of the best conditions and resources to attract water sports enthusiasts and general holiday-makers in search of beautiful seascapes.

"Ireland needs to focus on boosting the image and profile of our coastal areas as high-quality destinations. Let's concentrate on the unique appeal ofIrelandand increase tourism. The new EU strategy must support Member States like Ireland in its efforts and that means financial support for SMEs involved in tourism and community grants or regionally diversification of the structural funds," Mr Kelly commented.

The European Commission Directorates-General for Maritime Affairs & Fisheries and for Enterprise & Industry have jointly launched a Public Consultation of individuals and stakeholders to better understand the key challenges and opportunities for the maritime and coastal tourism sectors.

Responses will feed into discussions during this year's European Tourism Day, to be held in Brussels, on September 27th and which will include a dedicated focus on coastal and maritime tourism.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
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#island nation – Barryoe Oil from West Cork; can Irish civil servants co-operate in the interest of the marine sphere; more signs of the difficult economic times with sailing cutbacks; deciding whether the white shark should continue to be protected; Ireland winds the British School Sailing Championships; consumers are using ecolabels to decide their fish-buying habits, the Atlantic Challenge and the continuing mystery of the Lusitania, are my topics this week.

OIL FROM WEST CORK OFFERS PROSPECTS!

I held a phial containing Barryroe Oil in my hand on Saturday, the first time I have seen an example of this discovery off West Cork.

johnosprovidenceresources

John O'Sullivan of Providence Resources

John O'Sullivan, Technical Director of Providence Resources, was outlining the find at the Glandore Maritime Summer School which was discussing Ireland's Ocean Wealth.

He said the oil is of good quality and during the initial testing had flowed at 1,500 barrels a day. The find has great potential, he said and told the audience that the company was considering Irish facilities to bring it ashore and there will be drilling in other areas, including off Spanish Point.

It was an encouraging description of the resources off our coast.

CAN CIVIL SERVANTS CO-OPERATE IN MARITIME DEVELOPMENT?

I chaired the Saturday afternoon session at the summer school where fundamental questions were raised about government and civil service commitment to the marine sphere. The Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Mark Mellett, a courageous speaker, made the case that the Navy can contribute a wider role to the national economy than just that of a defence force. Micheal O Cinneide, formerly with the Marine Institute and now with the Environmental Protection Agency highlighted lack of co-ordinated decision-making amongst Government Departments.

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Glandore Summer School 2012

The level of actual sea-going experience amongst civil servants forming the government's Marine Co-ordinating Group which is drawing up the national maritime development plan was discussed. Many people at Glandore had never heard of this Group, though the plan they have been preparing is due to be launched later this month. The issue of whether the nine government departments on the Group, competing against each other for scarce resources, can co-operate in the interest of advancing the marine sphere as a major national economic resource, was raised. The school was told that top civil servants regularly go to the high-powered Harvard Business School in the USA to hone their skills and are top of the class in administration, but regularly fail to show that they can co-operate or work together. An interesting reflection!

Marine Minister Simon Coveney maintained that they can and are co-operating and that the plan will point to an exciting future for the marine sphere, establishing it as a major economic sector. He said there had been strong public interest in making submissions.

CALVES CUTBACKS

Alan Dwyer the Commodore of Schull Harbour Sailing Club in West Cork has been telling me of another sign of the difficult economic times - Calves Week will be a different event this year.

"We have made major changes to what was an event which had grown with time and tradition to lasting almost two weeks. That grew with the holiday season in Schull but as people have come under more time and economic pressures, those who took part told us they wanted a shorter and less expensive alternative."

The club has responded by cutting the event back to a four-day Calves Week Championships which will start on Tuesday, August 7 and run until Friday, August 10. Schull will have a sailing festival with the village decorated in a maritime theme by local businesses and events for all the family. The traditional regattas in Baltimore, Crookhaven and Schull will continue as stand-alone events with their own courses and prizegivings, organised by the local clubs.

Schull Harbour SC was founded in 1977 as a summer sailing club and from its inception has actively promoted leisure and competitive sailing in the West Cork harbour. The first commodore was Billy Pope who had sailed in the area from the fifties in his yacht Pendua.

SCHULL REVENGE IN BRITAIN

The Fastnet International Schools Regatta is being revived in Schull this month following the hosting of the World Team Racing Championship there last year and will be held from Monday to Thursday next week, July 23-26. Gold Fleet Racing will take place in the TR3.6 dinghies which were designed and built for the world championships. Handicap Racing will take place in both silver and bronze fleets with class racing where sufficient entries are received.

The success of what has been achieved by the concentration which Schull Community College has placed on sailing as part of the sports curriculum is shown by the College winning the British Schools Dinghy Team Racing Championships for the second time in 3 years. Racing was at Bough Beech Reservoir in Kent. The students of Schull Community College beat Magdalen College, Oxford, by 2 races to nil in the final. The Schull team crews were: Oisin O'Driscoll/Katie Moynihan; Connor Millar/Ellen O'Regan; Fionn Lyden/Mark Hassett.

BANTRY CHALLENGE

Next week also, this time in Bantry, young sailors from 16 nations will be taking part in the Atlantic Challenge. Competitions involving sailing and rowing the Bantry Longboats which are replicas of the Wolfe Tone Expedition and the French Armada dating back to 1796. There will also be seafaring competitions.

I once sailed in one of the boats and, as they are also rowed, they do not have the traditional keel which keeps sailing vessels upright, so they are balanced by the weight and positioning of the crew. That keeps you on your toes, but it is exhilarating and challenging sailing.

REVIEWING PROTECTION OF WHITE SHARKS

Continuing the protection of white sharks is being questioned in Western Australia after a fifth fatal attack on humans since September of last year. The State's Fisheries Minister, Norman Moore, said that the level of attacks on humans by white sharks was higher there than documented anywhere else in the world and action would have to be taken to deal with the situation.

White sharks have been a protected species for more than a decade, since the International Union for Conservation of Nature identified them as vulnerable. The Federal Government's White Shark Recovery Plan was released in 2002 and reviewed in 2008. That review found insufficient evidence to confirm an increase in the species. He wants the Federal Government to discuss the research data on which the protection of these sharks is being maintained and whether that status should be reviewed.

BUYING FISH BY LABEL

Consumers around the world, particularly in Northern Europe, are using ecolabels to find out if fish they buy come from sustainable stocks, according to the Marine Stewardship Council. It commissioned an independent study which found that label recognition was highest in Germany and lowest in France.

LUSITANIA MYSTERY CONTINUES

The underwater footage of the Lusitania wreck shown on the National Geographic Channel was very impressive and concluded with a US government weapons research centre testing the theories about a second explosion after the liner had been torpedoed.

The conclusion was that this was a boiler explosion and that only the German U-boat torpedo sank her. Greg Bemis who owns the wreck disagreed and says he will continue to explore the second blast theory.

You can follow me for more marine news and comment on Twitter: @TomMacSweeney

And on Facebook – THIS ISLAND NATION page

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