#MARINE INSTITUTE – A weather buoy from the Irish marine weather buoy network was located on a beach in Devon today, 270 miles from home, having lost communication with the network over three weeks ago. A note on the Marine Institute says "Dec 12th 2011 - M3 is experiencing technical problems. Further details will follow"
It now transpires the M3 Weather buoy was torn from its mooring off the South West Coast of Ireland during severe weather conditions on the 10th December, when it ceased transmitting.
The M3 Weather buoy found on a Devon beach
Following efforts to re-establish communication with the buoy and identify its location, a radio navigational warning was issued on 12th December to warn that the buoy may be adrift. The RV Celtic Voyager also searched the area, but nothing was found until yesterday, Monday 2nd January, when the Argos system on the buoy began reporting positional information from Woolacombe Beach, North Devon.
The weather buoy network was established in 2000 and is run as a collaboration between the Marine Institute, the UK Met office, Met Eireann and the Irish Department of Transport.
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The Marine Institute, Ireland is currently working with the Swansea Coastguard and Parkin Estates, the company that runs Woolacombe beach in Devon to recover the buoy.
A weather buoy technician is travelling from Galway to Devon to assess the damage and the Marine Institute will make every effort to ensure a buoy is restored to the M3 location as soon as possible.
The M3 is part of a network of five weather boys which measure a range of meteorological and oceanographic parameters to provide vital real time data for weather forecasts shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings