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A Harbour Seal photographed at Dun Laoghaire Marina on Dublin Bay, Ireland. Also known as the common seal, is a true seal found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. The most widely distributed species of pinnipeds, they are found in coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Baltic and North seas. Photo: AfloatA photograph of a Harbour Seal taken at Dun Laoghaire Marina on Dublin Bay, Ireland. Also known as the common seal, this species can be found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They are the most widely distributed species of pinnipeds and can be found in the coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Baltic and North Seas. Photo: Afloat

Displaying items by tag: Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) is a Division within the Irish Maritime Directorate of the Department of Transport. Its mission is to deliver a world-class search and rescue, maritime casualty, and pollution response service.

The IRCG currently have six vacancies for Sector Officers in their Coast Guard Units & Support (CGU&S) section in various locations nationwide.

The Sector Officer is a new grade within the IRCG. The duties of the role will include supporting the Coastal Guard Units by conducting routine inspection of vehicles, buildings, boats, and equipment. The role will also involve working closely with Coast Guard Units, Coast Guard and Maritime Administration personnel and other internal/external stakeholders.

For more information and to apply, visit: https://bit.ly/AO_Ad_SOICG

Full details on the role including eligibility requirements are available on www.publicjobs.ie

Closing date: 3 pm on Thursday 16th May 2024.

We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and encourage applications under all nine grounds of the Employment Equality Act.

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Bristow Ireland, the company taking over the new Irish Coast Guard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter contract says, it has reached an agreement with trade union Unite to ensure the “smooth transition of special helicopter engineers” to the company.

“It captures agreed terms and conditions of employment, giving engineers a clear view of their employment with Bristow while also ensuring a process for dispute resolution,”the company says.

“The agreement has been accepted by the group of specialist helicopter engineers represented by Unite. They will start to transition from the current operator to Bristow this autumn, ensuring Bristow remains poised to deliver the next generation of SAR operations in Ireland later this year,” it says.

Bristow HR director, Emma Lawson, who has been “spearheading the development of the framework with Unite”, it is a “key milestone in the transition to the next generation of Irish SAR operations”.

“These skilled engineers are joining Bristow knowing they have the support of the company and their union in their continued career delivering a life-saving service,” she said.

Bristow says it plans to upskill the engineers, building on their existing experience to support a new generation of aircraft when the transition gets underway.

The company reached agreement earlier this year with Fórsa and the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association, covering technical crew, as in winch operators/winchmen, and flight crews (pilots) respectively.

The company will use a new fleet of six specialist AW189 helicopters.

“All the engineers will receive dedicated type-rating training on this advanced aircraft as they transition, ensuring Bristow delivers the right support for people and communities across the country,”the company says.

Bristow is preparing to make a transition to the new contract in the fourth quarter of this year. It will deliver nationwide all-weather 24-hour coverage, 365 days a year.

“Under the new contract, Bristow will create or sustain more than 150 jobs ranging from specialist ground support, engineering, flight operations, and in-country maintenance and support capabilities, ensuring its teams and aircraft stand at full readiness to respond to tasking from the Irish Coast Guard,”the company says.

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Three European agencies have initiated the first Coast Guard “capacity building” and training exchange at European level.

The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) are working on an initiative to bolster the development of an academy and training network.

They also aim to implement an exchange programme between administrations from different countries.

“The exchange programme facilitates the exchange of theoretical and practical knowledge and best practices among authorities engaged in coast guard functions,”they state.

“ By doing so, the project contributes to preparing staff for joint missions and operations, benefiting EU member states, European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries and Schengen associated countries' coast guard authorities and entities,”they state.

This programme is also very relevant for the EU Maritime Security Strategy and Action Plan[1], which seeks to strengthen Europe's autonomy amid growing threats to maritime security.

The first exchange took place in Sarzana, Italy, with participants from the Icelandic Coast Guard and the Portuguese Maritime Life Saving Institute in the Italian Coast Guard's Rescue Swimmer Course, with a week dedicated to theoretical and practical lessons.

Overall, there were 86 candidates that were assigned to an exchange and 34 candidates to reserve lists. The next exchanges for this semester involve authorities from Croatia, Finland, France, Italy, Romania, Portugal, Poland and Spain

"The programme sets sail on a journey of collaboration, learning, and empowerment, striving to shape the future of coast guard functions across Europe,” EFCA executive director Susan Steele says.

More information is on the Coast Guard Portal here

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As the Easter weekend approaches, the Coast Guard, RNLI, and Water Safety Ireland are urging the public to take precautions to stay safe during water activities. With longer and brighter evenings, more people are expected to visit the coast or engage in water-based activities. Knowing basic water safety advice could help prevent accidents or tragedies.

Mixed weather conditions are expected over the weekend, with sunny periods followed by rain and showers. Water temperatures are relatively cold at this time of year, and inexperienced or occasional open water swimmers should take care to acclimatise slowly and manage their time in the water carefully. It is crucial to always be alert to the risk of cold water shock.

The organisations are encouraging people to follow some basic precautions to reduce the risk of accidents when visiting the coast or engaging in water activities. Some of these precautions include wearing a lifejacket, checking weather forecasts, staying away from the edge, and avoiding alcohol before or during water activities.

If sailing or motorboating:

  • Always wear an appropriate lifejacket
  • Always carry a means of calling and signalling for help
  • When engaging on any type of boating activity; Ensure there is an emergency action plan in place, and everybody has an onboard briefing
  • Get the right level of training for your craft
  • Always check the weather and tide times
  • Make sure someone on the shore knows where you are going and who to call if you don’t return on time.
  • Always operate your boat at a speed that is appropriate to the weather conditions and to the environment you are operating in.

Attention is also drawn to the Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft a valuable source of information, advice and best practice operational guidance for owners, masters, operators and users of a range of pleasure and recreational craft operating in Irish coastal and inland waters. It can be viewed at www.safetyonthewater.gov.ie

Gerard O’Flynn, Coast Guard Operations Manager said: ‘After a protracted period of broken weather and with the advent of longer evening daylight from Sunday, many people are looking forward to getting out and about along the coast or on the water. Always check the weather forecast, ensure that you have a means of communication, plan your activity and ensure that a colleague is aware of your plans and expected return time. Please also be alert to the risk of becoming isolated by incoming tides on beaches or coastal area particularly if setting out during lower tides.’

Roger Sweeney, Water Safety Ireland’s Deputy CEO said: ‘Over the course of five Easter holiday periods, 12 people drowned accidentally, mainly while swimming, angling, or after falling in while walking. To stay safe, keep cold water swims brief and shallow, wear a lifejacket when angling on the shoreline or riverbanks, and stay away from the water's edge when out walking. With nearly one million children on school holidays, and many visiting friends and family living on farms and near lakes, rivers, canals, and beaches, constant adult supervision is essential for their safety.’

Linda-Gene Byrne, RNLI Water Safety Lead added: ‘We are approaching the time of year when we will see boats back on the water and many are now looking forward to a season of sailing. While we want everyone to enjoy themselves, we want them to do so safely. Mechanical failure is the single biggest cause of rescue call outs to sailing and motor cruisers, accounting for nearly 20% of all our lifeboat launches. Knowing your boat, carrying spares and being able to fit them could make the difference between having to call for help and being able to help yourself.’

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast or think that they are in trouble, use marine VHF radio Ch 16 or dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

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Minister of State with responsibility for the Irish Coast Guard Jack Chambers will turn the sod on a new Coast Guard station for Westport in south Mayo on Thursday (March 27).

Members of the Coast Guard will join the junior minister to break ground on the new project at the Quay at Cloonmonad, Westport.

The proposed building will consist of a two-storey accommodation block and a single-storey boathouse with vehicle storage along with changing rooms, a meeting room and staff facilities.

Westport’s Coast Guard unit currently operates from a small, temporary facility. Completing the new building will take 18 months.

Mayo Fine Gael TD Michael Ring had said the new building is “vital” for the success of the Coast Guard’s ongoing work as a unit.

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The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) is a Division within the Irish Maritime Directorate of the Department of Transport. Its mission is to deliver a world-class search and rescue, maritime casualty, and pollution response service.

The IRCG currently have vacancies for Function Support Officers in their Coast Guard Units & Support (CGU&S) section, based in Department of Transport, Leeson Lane, Dublin 2.

The Function Support Officer is a new grade within the IRCG. The duties of the role will include assisting and supporting the Operations and Training Officer to further develop search, cliff, boat and drone functions. The role will also involve working closely with volunteer Coast Guard Units, Coast Guard and Maritime Administration personnel and other internal/external stakeholders.

Closing date: 3 pm on Thursday 4th April 2024.

We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and encourage applications under all nine grounds of the Employment Equality Act.

For more information and to how to apply, visit: https://bit.ly/AO_Ad_FSOICG

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Bristow Ireland says it won’t comment on a new legal challenge pursued by CHC Ireland over the new Irish Coast Guard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter contract.

As The Irish Independent reports, CHC Ireland claims that there has been a “modification” of the contract awarded to Bristow Ireland, which is due to be implemented in the coming year.

The fresh challenge, which may come before court later this month, claims that the minister failed to conduct a new procurement procedure for the modified contract.

Details of the latest challenge reported in The Irish Independent says modifications differ materially from the contract that was awarded to Bristow last year.

CHC Ireland, the current holder of the SAR contract, claims that Bristow does not have to build a new hangar in Shannon airport as proposed in the original tender, and that staff were told this in a meeting on February 20th last.

CHC also claims the modifications mean Bristow is no longer required to operate the service from Shannon airport as of October 31st next.

It also claims Bristow is no longer required to complete the appropriate transfer of personnel who are currently employed by CHC under EU “transfer of undertakings” obligations.

CHC Ireland claims these modifications are highly material and would have a bearing on price and would undermine scores awarded in the tender process.

The new proceedings have been admitted to the Commercial Court, and Bristow has been joined as a notice party in the proceedings.

Last year, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan awarded the new ten-year contract valued at 670 million euro excluding VAT to Bristow Ireland.

The transport department said that under the new contract, Bristow Ireland Ltd would operate six AW189 helicopters from four dedicated bases in Sligo, Shannon, Waterford and Dublin.

The new contract which is due to be fully operational by 2025 includes providing for two King Air fixed wing aircraft at Shannon, for five years- allowing for the possibility that the Air Corps, Ireland’s air defence wing, may then assume responsibility for the fixed wing element.

CHC Ireland issued legal proceedings last year over “a number of flaws” in relation to the tender competition, and these proceedings are still in train.

Asked for a comment on the new challenge, a spokesperson for Bristow Ireland said “regarding the recent announcement about legal action, we don’t comment on ongoing litigation matters”.

“We are confident in our world-class service and being selected to provide this critical life-saving service on behalf of the Irish Coast Guard,” the Bristow Ireland spokesperson said.

Asked to comment about the claims in relation to a hangar at Shannon, the spokesperson said: “Bristow has a robust transition plan in place”.

“ We are in the early phases of the plan. We have not provided specific details about those plans publicly,”the spokesperson said.

“ I can say we are in regular communication with all the airports selected as part of our winning bid to deliver aviation services to the Irish Coast Guard. We’ll provide updates and progress toward the transition when necessary and appropriate throughout the process,”the spokesperson said.

Read The Irish Independent here

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The Irish Coast Guard has released images of the new livery for its next generation of search and rescue aircraft.

The livery has been designed for the AW189 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, which will be provided under the new ten-year contract for search and rescue with Bristow Ireland Ltd.

Transition for the new service, which Bristow will take over from CHC Ireland, is due to start later this year.

A fleet of six search and rescue (SAR) configured AW189 helicopters located in Dublin, Shannon, Sligo and Waterford, and the first ever fixed wing service on private contract will be provided by 2EXCEL Ireland (2EI) located at Shannon airport.

For the first time, the Irish Coast Guard will also have dedicated Fixed Wing service provided by 2EXCEL Ireland (2EI) located at Shannon Airport. The Fixed Wing capability will enhance the Coast Guard’s capacity to coordinate Search and Rescue missions and conduct environmental and ship casualty monitoring of Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone, an area encompassing approximately 132,000 square miles. For the first time, the Irish Coast Guard will also have dedicated Fixed Wing service provided by 2EXCEL Ireland (2EI) located at Shannon Airport. The Fixed Wing capability will enhance the Coast Guard’s capacity to coordinate Search and Rescue missions and conduct environmental and ship casualty monitoring of Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone, an area encompassing approximately 132,000 square miles

“The fixed wing capability will enhance the Coast Guard’s capacity to coordinate search and rescue missions and conduct environmental and ship casualty monitoring of Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone, an area encompassing approximately 132,000 square miles,” the Irish Coast Guard and Department of Transport said.

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers, said, “The Irish Coast Guard is an essential state service, and this new contract represents an exciting time for the organisation”.

“The new service will be introduced gradually over a phased basis with particular attention being paid to enable a smooth transition from the current operator to Bristow Ireland Ltd,”he said.

The new 10-year contract was awarded to Bristow Ireland Limited (BIL) by the Department of Transport in August 2023 and provides for year-round, day and night Search and Rescue helicopter services. This service will be delivered through a fleet of six search and rescue (SAR) configured AW189 helicopters located in Dublin, Shannon, Sligo and Waterford. The new 10-year contract was awarded to Bristow Ireland Limited (BIL) by the Department of Transport in August 2023 and provides for year-round, day and night Search and Rescue helicopter services. This service will be delivered through a fleet of six search and rescue (SAR) configured AW189 helicopters located in Dublin, Shannon, Sligo and Waterford

“The release today of this livery for the new specialist aircraft which will replace the existing fleet marks another important step on the transition of our Coast Guard to the new service provision,” he said.

Earlier this month, Bristow was awarded an air operators’ certificate by the Irish Aviation Authority for the new contract.

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Bristow Ireland Ltd has taken another step towards fulfilling its Irish Coast Guard contract with approval of an air operator certificate by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

The air operator certificate is a “fundamental requirement to provide search and rescue in Ireland," Neil Ebberson, Bristow director of government services said.

"It was awarded after the successful completion of a lengthy application and assessment process run by the IAA, and ensures the highest standards of professionalism and safety are met in the country,” he said.

Bristow Ireland was required to demonstrate that its AW189 helicopters will meet the Irish regulator's requirements for safe and compliant operations as part of the approval procedure.

It also had to submit detailed documentation to show that it can safely manage continued airworthiness; demonstrate that it can safely operate the AW189 to the required standards; and carry out a proving flight with the AW189 in Ireland.

Ebberson said that Bristow’s fixed-wing partners, TOEXCEL Ireland Ltd, are “working in parallel for the award of a fixed-wing air operator certificate.

“We are looking forward to reporting more progress as we move towards the initial transition to the new service in late 2024,”Ebberson said.

Bristow is due to take over the Irish Coast Guard helicopter search and rescue contract from CHC Ireland next year. It has air operating certificates covering 11 jurisdictions.

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The year in figures

  • August was the busiest month in 2023.
  • The 44 Coast Guard Units were mobilised on 1,278 separate occasions.
  • Coast Guard Helicopters conducted 796 missions.
  • Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboats were tasked on 850 occasion
  • Community inshore rescue service boats were tasked on 76 occasions.
  • Critical assistance was provided to 665 people.
  • CG helicopters conducted 174 air ambulance flights in support of the offshore island communities

In 2023, the Irish Coast Guard coordinated responses to 2,788 incidents which is the second highest number in 5 years (2,976 in 2021). August was the busiest month with a total of 391 incidents. The incident count covers the range of services provided by the Coast Guard. Services include search and rescue, maritime casualty support and pollution preparedness and response.

IRCG also provides air ambulance services to the HSE, including day and night aeromedical services to the offshore islands, assists An Garda Síochána with missing person searches, including inland and mountain rescue, as well as provision of other support to the Emergency Services.

Critical assistance was provided to a total of 665 people. This number reflects interventions that prevented loss of life or serious injury, and emergency transfers to hospitals, including offshore, coastal, and inland incidents and offshore island aero medical support.

Following Government approval, a contract for provision of a new Coast Guard aviation contract was signed in August 2023. The contract provides for retention of day and night SAR helicopter services, located at Sligo, Shannon, Waterford, and Dublin. The contract also provides for the provision of a day and night Fixed Wing service located at Shannon.

The Fixed Wing service will enhance the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue and environmental monitoring capability. The helicopter service will be delivered by a fleet of six AW189 helicopters. The first such helicopter is scheduled to enter service in Shannon in late 2024, to be followed by Sligo, Waterford and Dublin in the first six months of 2025.

Minister of State with special responsibility for the Irish Coast Guard, Jack Chambers, TD, said: “As we reach the end of another busy year for the Coast Guard, I want to thank all the IRCG volunteers and staff for their professionalism and commitment. I want to particularly recognise the work of the Watch Officers at Rescue Coordination Centres in Malin, Valentia and MRCC Dublin.

“During the year I had the opportunity to visit several Volunteer Coast Guard Units around the country that enabled me to recognise the services they provide to their communities and view firsthand the various challenges that they encounter.

“The opening of the volunteer Coast Guard station in Bonmahon, Co. Waterford was a particular highlight and I am committed to delivering a series of other similar developments commencing with Westport and Greystones.”

The capacity to Raise the Alarm and Stay Afloat, are central to the prevention of drownings at sea, along the coast and on inland waterways. The Coast Guard’s core safety message Stay Afloat – Stay in Touch highlights the importance of never engaging in any commercial or recreational boating activity without wearing a life jacket or Personal Flotation Device (PFD), coupled with a capacity to raise the alarm via means such as a VHF radio, Personal Locator Beacon or EPIRB.

A recent incident in Donegal where four fishers were rescued highlighted the value of wearing a PLB, because it proved to be the only means of raising the alarm, thus enabling the Coast Guard to mount a successful search and rescue mission.

Any maritime or coastal activity should be supported by informing shore-based colleagues of intended activity and anticipated return time. Mobile phones should not be considered as a suitable substitute or be relied upon as the only means of emergency communication at sea.

The Coast Guard looks forward to launching a Safety on the Water App in 2024 as an element of gov.ie - Safety on the water, which will provide members of the public with immediate access to water safety information for planning coastal and water-based activities. This app will be launched under the slogan of ‘Think Water Safety – Plan and Prepare’.

The Coast Guard wishes everybody a Happy and Safe New Year and thanks the public for their ongoing support and cooperation.

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For all you need on the Marine Environment - covering the latest news and updates on marine science and wildlife, weather and climate, power from the sea and Ireland's coastal regions and communities - the place to be is Afloat.ie.

Coastal Notes

The Coastal Notes category covers a broad range of stories, events and developments that have an impact on Ireland's coastal regions and communities, whose lives and livelihoods are directly linked with the sea and Ireland's coastal waters.

Topics covered in Coastal Notes can be as varied as the rare finding of sea-life creatures, an historic shipwreck with secrets to tell, or even a trawler's net caught hauling much more than just fish.

Other angles focusing the attention of Coastal Notes are Ireland's maritime museums, which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of our nautical heritage, and those who harvest the sea using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety pose an issue, plying their trade along the rugged wild western seaboard.

Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied as the environment they come from, and which shape people's interaction with the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

Marine Wildlife

One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with Marine Wildlife. It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. And as boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify, even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat. Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse, it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to our location in the North Atlantic, there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe. From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals, the Marine Wildlife category documents the most interesting accounts around our shores. And we're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and video clips, too!

Also valuable is the unique perspective of all those who go afloat, from coastal sailing to sea angling to inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing, as what they encounter can be of great importance to organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Thanks to their work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. But as impressive as the list is, the experts believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves, keep a sharp look out!

Weather

As an island in the North Atlantic, Ireland's fate is decided by Weather more so than many other European countries. When storm-force winds race across the Irish Sea, ferry and shipping services are cut off, disrupting our economy. When swollen waves crash on our shores, communities are flooded and fishermen brace for impact - both to their vessels and to their livelihoods.

Keeping abreast of the weather, therefore, is as important to leisure cruisers and fishing crews alike - for whom a small craft warning can mean the difference between life and death - as it is to the communities lining the coast, where timely weather alerts can help protect homes and lives.

Weather affects us all, and Afloat.ie will keep you informed on the hows and the whys.

Marine Science

Perhaps it's the work of the Irish research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of Marine Science for the future growth of Ireland's emerging 'blue economy'.

From marine research to development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. Whether it's Wavebob ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration, the Marine Science category documents the work of Irish marine scientists and researchers and how they have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

Power From The Sea

The message from the experts is clear: offshore wind and wave energy is the future. And as Ireland looks towards the potential of the renewable energy sector, generating Power From The Sea will become a greater priority in the State's 'blue growth' strategy.

Developments and activities in existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector, and those of the energy exploration industry, point to the future of energy requirements for the whole world, not just in Ireland. And that's not to mention the supplementary industries that sea power projects can support in coastal communities.

Irish ports are already in a good position to capitalise on investments in offshore renewable energy services. And Power From The Sea can even be good for marine wildlife if done properly.

Aside from the green sector, our coastal waters also hold a wealth of oil and gas resources that numerous prospectors are hoping to exploit, even if people in coastal and island areas are as yet unsure of the potential benefits or pitfalls for their communities.

Changing Ocean Climate

Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked - the ocean plays a crucial role in the global climate system in a number of ways. These include absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere and absorbing 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity. But our marine ecosystems are coming under increasing pressure due to climate change.

The Marine Institute, with its national and international partners, works to observe and understand how our ocean is changing and analyses, models and projects the impacts of our changing oceans. Advice and forecasting projections of our changing oceans and climate are essential to create effective policies and management decisions to safeguard our ocean.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, “Our ocean is fundamental to life on earth and affects so many facets of our everyday activities. One of the greatest challenges we face as a society is that of our changing climate. The strong international collaborations that the Marine Institute has built up over decades facilitates a shared focusing on our changing ocean climate and developing new and enhanced ways of monitoring it and tracking changes over time.

“Our knowledge and services help us to observe these patterns of change and identify the steps to safeguard our marine ecosystems for future generations.”

The Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate research survey, which has been running since 2004, facilitates long term monitoring of the deep water environment to the west of Ireland. This repeat survey, which takes place on board RV Celtic Explorer, enables scientists to establish baseline oceanic conditions in Irish waters that can be used as a benchmark for future changes.

Scientists collect data on temperature, salinity, water currents, oxygen and carbon dioxide in the Atlantic Ocean. This high quality oceanographic data contributes to the Atlantic Ocean Observing System. Physical oceanographic data from the survey is submitted to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and, in addition, the survey contributes to national research such as the VOCAB ocean acidification and biogeochemistry project, the ‘Clean Atlantic’ project on marine litter and the A4 marine climate change project.

Dr Caroline Cusack, who co-ordinates scientific activities on board the RV Celtic Explorer for the annual survey, said, “The generation of long-term series to monitor ocean climate is vital to allow us understand the likely impact of future changes in ocean climate on ecosystems and other marine resources.”

Other activities during the survey in 2019 included the deployment of oceanographic gliders, two Argo floats (Ireland’s contribution to EuroArgo) and four surface drifters (Interreg Atlantic Area Clean Atlantic project). The new Argo floats have the capacity to measure dissolved ocean and biogeochemical parameters from the ocean surface down to a depth of 2,000 metres continuously for up to four years, providing important information as to the health of our oceans.

During the 2019 survey, the RV Celtic Explorer retrieved a string of oceanographic sensors from the deep ocean at an adjacent subsurface moored station and deployed a replacement M6 weather buoy, as part of the Irish Marine Data Buoy Observation Network (IMDBON).

Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the IMDBON is managed by the Marine Institute in collaboration with Met Éireann and is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The data buoys have instruments which collect weather and ocean data including wind speed and direction, pressure, air and sea surface temperature and wave statistics. This data provides vital information for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research.

“It is only in the last 20 years, meteorologists and climatologists have really began to understood the pivotal role the ocean plays in determining our climate and weather,” said Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann. “The real-time information provided by the Irish data buoy network is particularly important for our mariners and rescue services. The M6 data buoy in the Atlantic provides vital information on swell waves generated by Atlantic storms. Even though the weather and winds may be calm around our shores, there could be some very high swells coming in from Atlantic storms.”