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Tanker and Lifeboats Conduct Emergency Exercises off Dalkey Island

8th November 2011
Tanker and Lifeboats Conduct Emergency Exercises off Dalkey Island
#MARINE RESCUE EXERCISE-By coincidence two separate emergency exercise practise drills took place yesterday off Dalkey Island, the first involved a 12,921dwt tanker in broad daylight while the second exercise involved lifeboats under pitch-dark conditions, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The tanker Cumbrian Fisher (PHOTO) had arrived in the afternoon, anchoring unusually close to the island, to the south-east off The Muglins Lighthouse (to read more click HERE). While waiting for a berth in Dublin Port, she engaged in a lifeboat-drill practice which involved launching an orange-coloured fully enclosed lifeboat which was lowered into the water from the vessels' stern cradle-crane.

Crew kitted in similarly bright orange coloured sea safety-survival suits entered the lifeboat before it plunged into the water. The activity was observed through the binocular-scope which overlooks Coliemore Harbour with excellent views across the sound to Dalkey Island, Dublin Bay and Howth Peninsula.

The binocular-scope does not require payment to operate and was unveiled in 2008 in memory of local resident the late Dr. John de Courcy Ireland, the 'father' of maritime Ireland (to read more click HERE). He was for 26 years a honorary secretary of the local RNLI station in Dun Laoghaire and a staunch campaigner of Irish maritime affairs.

Each Monday a routine lifeboat practice is conducted by the 47ft Trent class ALB (all-weather lifeboat) RNLB Anna Livia (info and PHOTO). Last night's drill also involved the new D-class ILB (inshore lifeboat) RNLB Réalt na Mara which was named earlier this year by Kathy Kenny, wife of RTE presenter Pat Kenny.

Under the cover of darkness the crew of the ILB Realt na Mara simulated an 'injured casualty' on the island where the casualty was prepared to be taken off by stretcher from the island's small harbour. From there the casualty was transferred to the larger RNLB Anna Livia which lay offshore. During the exercise, powerful searchlight beams from the ALB provided essential light to assist in the transfer operation.

Asides the lifeboats, there is plenty of wildlife to observe on the rocky outcrops at Maiden Rock, Clare Rock and Lamb Island, which forms the second largest island after the main island of 22-acres, where a resident herd of goats have been part of the local community for over 200 years.

As for the South Korean built Cumbrian Fisher, she too has close connections with these waters as she was named in Dublin Port in 2005. She is a frequent caller to Dublin bringing bulk liquid products from the oil refinery in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire which is a major supplier, serving the demands of the capital.

Dublin Port has two oil jetties which cater for four tankers, where bitumen, chemicals, liquid petroleum gases, molasses and oil are handled on a 41-hectare zone with storage for 330,000 product tonnes to include 6,000 tonnes of LPG. In addition aviation fuel is frequently delivered to the terminal to satisfy the constant demand for aircraft using Dublin Airport.

Cumbrian Fisher alongside her sister Clyde Fisher where built for James Fisher & Sons and in recent years they have tended to take anchorage off Dalkey Island and off the Nose of Howth. In comparison the vast majority of vessels anchor in Dublin Bay which is divided into quadrants for the purposes of anchorage allocation.

Before the completion of the South Wall in Dublin Port, which considerably improved safer access of vessels entering the River Liffey, it was the relative deeper and sheltered waters of Dalkey Sound which were used instead as Dalkey acted as the principle port for Dublin between 14-17th centuries.

Vessels would convey cargoes which were taken to and fro by lighter to the coast where it was carried by horse and cart to nearby Dalkey before onward travel across the exposed plains to Dublin City.

To learn more about Dalkey's medieval maritime heritage with its relationship with the capital of Dublin in addition the use of Dalkey Quarry in the construction of (Kingstown) Dun Laoghaire Harbour, visit the Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre.  To read more go to www.dalkeycastle.com in addition to further information about Dalkey including the local community council newsletters click HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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