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Displaying items by tag: Coast Guard

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency's (MCA) annual report for April 2019 – March 2020 has been published this week, highlighting the work of the Agency for the 12 month period.

Although the report doesn’t cover the period where the effects of COVID-19 were felt most, it’s clear that the MCA still had a number of challenges to deal with in terms of maritime.

Her Majesty’s Coastguard, the search and rescue service of the MCA responded to more than 31,000 incidents at the coast. The Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre – which responds to incidents where aviation support is needed - responded to 3,800 incidents during the annual report’s period of data collection; rescuing over 1,900 people in the process.

As well as frontline search and rescue, HM Coastguard has delivered a number of major projects including making the Channel Navigation Information Service national across its network. This means that, from now on, 24-hour radio and radar coastal vessel traffic data is available at all Coastguard Operations Centres – not just Dover – to help and support vessels navigate waters safely.

Away from HM Coastguard, the MCA’s Maritime Regulatory Compliance Team successfully prosecuted ten cases.

And the UK Maritime Services Team, incorporating the UK Ship Register, continues to move more of its work to digital platforms. The UK Ship Register is now able to process registration and vessel information online and had recorded 77 new ship registrations by the end of March.

The survey and inspection side of the Maritime Services Team has completed its Transformation Programme giving surveyors and customers more flexibility of working. In addition to that, a successful surveyors’ recruitment drive saw the MCA place a minimum of 85 qualified Port State Control Officers in positions by 31st March of this year – meeting its target.

Seafarer training and certification faced a number of challenges at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic but the team worked to find solutions including offering extensions and training online.

The MCA continues to work hard to provide a good workplace and continues to drive equality in its workforce. In the annual report, it shows there has been an increase of just over 15 per cent in the number of female staff holding senior roles within the organisation.

Brian Johnson, Chief Executive of the MCA, said: “I’m proud of all those who work and serve with and for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. They continue to carry through the commitment to driving forward maritime safety in all aspects of our work

“As this report demonstrates, we – as an agency – continue to keep protecting the general public with our first-class search and rescue service. Elsewhere, exciting work has and is continuing to take place across the board, with important steps being made in many areas, such as Survey and Inspection and enhanced experiences for UK Ship Register customers.

“The final month of this year’s report was affected by Covid-19, in which the Agency had to react and adapt quickly to new challenges. We did so effectively, working closely with and supporting our emergency service partners and local resilience forums, whilst maintaining full capability to operate. This work also extended to supporting the shipping industry during a difficult period and doing our bit to make sure that important services have been able to resume as close to normal as possible in most cases.”

Link to the report is here

Published in Rescue
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The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) and RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) are asking the public not to take part in any water-based activity on or in the sea, while the current national emergency restrictions are in place. Both organisations are highlighting the importance of minimising the risk to Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteer crews, Helicopter crew and other front line emergency services, through being unintentionally exposed to COVID-19.

RNLI and Coast Guard are confirming that their Search and Rescue services are fully operational.

Under normal circumstances, many people would be heading to the coast this weekend to enjoy the Easter bank holiday. Given the current COVID-19 outbreak, both organisations are urging everyone to follow Government instructions, which are clear: stay home, protect frontline services and save lives.

While you are allowed out for daily exercise, we do not recommend that this exercise is on, or in the sea and all travel restrictions must be observed. SAR services including RNLI lifeboat service, Coast Guard Helicopter services and Coast Guard units are still available but every callout has the potential to put additional pressure on SAR services and other front-line emergency services as well as potentially exposing them to COVID-19.

Gareth Morrison, Head of Water Safety at the RNLI, said: “We know people who live near the coast still want to exercise by the sea, but when you do this, please think of the potential impact of your actions on RNLI lifeboat volunteers and other emergency services”’

Gerard O’Flynn from the Coast Guard said: Please; Stay Home & Stay Back to Stay SAFE. Observe the 2x2 Rule. 2M physical distance and 2KM travel distance.

He added; “Arrangements are in place for Coast Guard services including Helicopters and Volunteer Coast Guard units to assist HSE, Gardai and Local Authorities in the provision of community support and other logistical support. We need our people to stay healthy during this emergency to enable us support the national action plan”.’

Published in Coastguard
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The Irish Coast Guard, a Division of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has vacancies for Watch Officers at its three Marine Rescue Coordination Centres in Dublin, Malin Head,
Co Donegal and Valentia, Co Kerry.

The IRCG provides a nationwide maritime emergency service as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

Watch Officers are responsible for watchkeeping on the emergency frequencies and are required to act as Marine Alert, Notification and/or Search and Rescue Mission Coordination Officers. They also process marine communication traffic and respond to ship casualty, pollution incidents, vessel traffic monitoring and coordination of Coast Guard helicopter operations.

THE CLOSING DATE FOR RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS IS THURSDAY 30TH APRIL 2020

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

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

Cuirfear fáilte roimh chomhfhreagras i nGaeilge

Published in Jobs
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A Galway coroner has paid tribute to a French-Canadian who tried to save the life of a Swiss woman when the caravan she was staying in at a Connemara campsite was swept into the sea during Storm Ali writes Lorna Siggins

Galway West coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin also paid tribute to the Irish Coast Guard, National Ambulance Service and Garda and to fellow doctor John Casey, who all risked their lives when attending the scene.

As Afloat reported previously, Swiss nurse Elvira Ferrari (58), a mother of three from Steinmaur, Zurich in Switzerland, tried to escape when winds flipped over the caravan and it was swept down a nine-metre (30 foot) drop into the sea on the morning of September 19th, 2018.

The storm-force 11 winds which hit the west coast were far stronger than speeds forecast, the inquest before Dr McLoughlin heard on Thursday (Oct 31).

The jury heard that Ms Ferrari had booked into the Clifden Eco Beach Camping and Caravan Park on September 16th, 2018, for three nights, and been offered the use of a mobile home as an alternative the previous night due to a bad forecast.

Ms Ferrari (58) had come to Ireland in August of that year to study English in Galway for three weeks and had planned to spend four days in Connemara.

The inquest heard that she had rented a bike in Clifden, which she was due to return on the day of the incident.

Witness Ms Sally Forth of Darlington, England, who was camping at the site, said that she saw a caravan blow over onto its side at about 7.45 am that morning, and it rolled onto a cliff edge and onto the beach. She saw the door open, and a figure trying to get out.

Mr Caleb-Amie Soltendieck, a French-Canadian who was staying at the eco-park with his girlfriend Shamie Gizuere Levesque, said he was alerted by Shamie who had seen the caravan blow over.

He ran out and spotted the caravan on the beach some nine metres (30 foot )below, and in the water.

Mr Soltendieck said he could see someone was trapped underneath.

He managed to get Ms Ferrari out from underneath, but she had severe injuries as her head had been crushed.

The eco-camp owner Kris Acton, who has run the caravan and campsite with his wife Tatjana since 2010, said the weather forecast for Wednesday, September 19th, 2018, had been for 70 mile per hour (MPH) winds.

He said an orange alert had been issued for that part of the coast.

Mr Acton had also checked a British weather forecast, which predicted 68 to 70 MPH winds.

Mr Acton said he had advised customers the night before to move, and had provided storm shields, and also advised those staying there with cars to use them as windbreaks.

He said his wife had spoken to Ms Ferrari on the Tuesday night and offered her the use of a mobile home, as the caravan would be very noisy in high winds.

At 7.45 am on the Wednesday morning, there was a knock on the door and a woman was shouting that a caravan had toppled over.

He ran down to the beach, saw a body, and was told by Mr Soltendieck that there was no pulse. The emergency services were called, and both he and his wife administered cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on instruction.

Mr Acton said that he believed the gusts were over 90 miles per hour and were of a “red alert” category, and winds of this ferocity would only occur in wintertime.

Ms Tatjana Acton said she had spoken to Ms Ferrari the night before, as there had been an issue with her credit card, and they spoke German to each other.

She said she had suggested Ms Ferrari transfer to a mobile home that night, but the Swiss guest seemed more concerned about an issue with her credit card.

Irish Coast Guard Cleggan officer Michael Murray, who reached the scene at 7.58 am, told Dr McLoughlin that the forecast was “well off” in his opinion, and was “near hurricane-force”. He said he had to move his jeep during the incident at one point as the winds were so severe.

Clifden GP Dr John Casey said in his statement that Ms Ferrari sustained catastrophic head injuries and he pronounced her dead at 8.17 am.

Garda Shane Nally of Clifden Garda station said he arrived with three colleagues, and ambulance staff, and Dr Casey was attending Ms Ferrari’s body, which was about three metres (10 ft) from the caravan on the beach.

Pathologist Dr Ramadan Shatwan gave the cause of death as a severe traumatic head injury.

Coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin paid tribute to Mr Soltendieck for trying to save Ms Ferrari, and to the emergency services for their bravery in such weather conditions.

He said a storm of that nature was most unusual for that time of year.

“This was indeed a tragic accident, in no way foreseen,” Dr McLoughlin said.

A jury returned a verdict of severe traumatic head injury.

The coroner, the Garda and the jury expressed sympathies to Ms Ferrari’s two sons, Romain and Nico, and daughter Mengia and ex-husband, Bruno. Ms Ferrari’s son Romain and his partner Alexandra were present at the inquest.

Published in Coastguard
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For the next 12 months, a new drone trial is taking flight to support vital search and rescue action around the coast of Essex, thanks to a partnership between Essex Police, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The year-long trial, which starts today 29 April, 2019 will provide HM Coastguard Rescue Teams with more eyes in the sky to assist with search and rescue operations around the county’s coastline, supporting the vital work of their teams and the RNLI.

From helping to search for casualties in hazardous locations and directing HM Coastguard and RNLI lifeboat crews to their locations to enable emergency services to risk assess situations before deploying rescue personnel to the scene, Essex Police’s Drone Unit will provide a range of operational benefits to the search and rescue teams.

At the end of the year-long pilot the impact that drones have had on coastal search and rescue activity in the region will be assessed, and that information will help inform the MCA and RNLI’s ongoing work to explore the role that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can play in future search and rescue activity.

HM Coastguard Teams from Walton, Clacton, Mersea Island, South Woodham Ferrers, Southend and Canvey Island will be taking part in the trial, supported by a range of inshore and all-weather lifeboats and hovercraft strategically located at six RNLI lifeboat stations along that stretch of the Essex coastline.

Phil Hanson, Aviation Technical Assurance Manager at the Maritime & Coastguard Agency said the MCA was proud to be a partner and support the evolution of drones in UK search and rescue.

‘Thanks to the Essex Police Drone Unit, we are able to trial this innovative technology to help rescuers on the front line with more accurate aerial vision, conduct searches in hard to reach or hazardous areas, assist with night time thermal imagery searches and relaying messages from rescuers to casualties. This will allow rescuers to make more informed decisions and ultimately help make the coast safer – particularly as the busy season is now almost upon us.

‘One thing, we need to stress is that the drones will not replace our Coastguard helicopters, Coastguard Rescue Teams, RNLI or independent lifeboats. However, it is entirely possible that they could be an additional tool to use in search and rescue and enhance our existing capabilities.’

Essex Police Drone Manager Perran Bonner added: ‘We are delighted to be supporting the invaluable work of the MCA and RNLI in keeping our county's coastlines safe.

 

‘Our drone team will be available to assist both organisations in their endeavours, whether this is by providing a live view of the county's coast, investigating suspicious behaviour, responding to welfare concerns or searching for a missing person.

‘The technology available to us and the expertise of our officers mean that we can provide accurate and up-to-date information to the relevant people, ensuring that a quick and appropriate response can be taken, that Essex residents and visitors are kept safe and anyone using our coastline to commit crime are brought to justice.’

Will Roberts, Senior Innovation Manager at the RNLI, said: ‘This pilot will provide our lifesavers with the opportunity to benefit from the advantages that drones can provide when they’re searching for casualties.

‘The increased situational awareness that drones provide could play a significant role in helping us locate casualties as quickly as possible. When lives are at risk, the speed at which our crews can locate and reach a casualty is vital. Being able to see the impact that drones can have in helping our lifeboat crews search and then reach casualties through this pilot will be extremely useful.

‘As well as helping our lifesavers to search and locate casualties, working with Essex Police’s Drone Unit will also allow potentially dangerous scenes to be risk assessed before our volunteer lifeboat crews are deployed to the scene.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has issued a special safety bulletin to all mariners that use GPS to prepare for a rollover event that will occur on 6 April 2019.

On April 6 navigation data from some older GPS systems might become inaccurate due to the ‘week number’ rollover event.

This could cause stand-alone GPS receivers and systems using GPS chips, to produce data that is 19.7 years either in the past or future, therefore generating errors in both the GPS position and time. However, if onboard equipment has been installed after August 1999, or has regular firmware updates from the manufacturer, there should be minimal risk of an error occurring.

Luke Hallett Radio Spectrum Policy Co-ordinator for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency said: ‘If your GPS is more than 10 years old or it’s had no firmware updates then you’re definitely at higher risk of you GPS not working from 6 April. If your GPS falls into either of those categories you need to check with the manufacturer before April 6, otherwise time and position data used for navigation could become inaccurate. It’s important that GPS users check their systems as soon as possible to ensure that they won’t be affected by the impending rollover.’

The MCA’s safety bulletin is intended to help operators understand the implications of the week-number rollover and to take action to ensure all GPS updates are completed. See more here

Published in Coastguard
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The Dublin based Coast Guard Helicopter R116 is assisting the Northern Ireland authorities with a search for a missing person in the Downpatrick area of Co Down. In accordance with standing arrangements, a request was received earlier this morning by MRCC Dublin from the UK Maritime Coastguard Agency to assist the PSNI with the search. The Dublin based Coast Guard helicopter arrived on scene shortly before first light – approx. 0650 and the search is ongoing. The helicopter search is being coordinated through Belfast Coastguard.

Interaction of this type is a regular feature of search and rescue cooperation between the UK and Irish authorities. This is the fourth request for Helicopter SAR support provided to NI authorities this year.

Published in Coastguard
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In light of the severe Weather Warning issued by Met Éireann for Friday 8th February, the Coast Guard is calling on the general public and all Mariners to heed the warnings and take appropriate action. The Coast Guard is asking users of smaller vessels to pay particular attention to the weather warnings and for the general public to be mindful of the risks on exposed areas in particular piers, walkways and cliff areas. The Coast Guard wishes to remind recreational walkers to

Stay Back, Stay High, Stay Dry as sudden wind gusts or waves can result in serious accidents.

As always if you see anybody in trouble or think they are in trouble along the coast or at sea dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

The following Met Éireann warnings are in place: 

1) ORANGE for Galway and Mayo - southwest to west winds will reach mean speeds of 65 to 80 km/h with some severe or damaging gusts of 110 to 130 km/h. The highest winds will be in exposed coastal areas, where these values may be exceeded at times. Very high seas as well with potential for some coastal flooding, valid from 05:00 08-Feb-2019 until 13:00 08-Feb-2019.

2) ORANGE for Donegal - southwest to west winds will reach mean speeds of 65 to 80 km/h with some severe or damaging gusts of 110 to 130 km/h. The highest winds will be in exposed coastal areas, where these values may be exceeded at times. Very high seas as well with some coastal flooding, valid from 09:00 08-Feb-2019 until 06:00 09-Feb-2019

3) YELLOW for Ireland - southwest to west winds will reach mean speeds of 50 to 65 km/h with gusts of 80 to 110 km/h. Along exposed Atlantic coasts these values may be exceeded for a while and with very high seas this will give the risk of coastal flooding.

Published in Coastguard
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The Marine Casualty Investigation Board has today published its report into the marine incident on 12th September 2016 which led to the Coast Guard volunteer, Caitríona Lucas, tragically losing her life.

Minister Ross said: “I wish to again express my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Caitríona, who lost her life so tragically, doing the volunteer work she loved. Caitríona was a talented, hardworking and deeply committed member of the Doolin Coast Guard Unit. She was a selfless member of a unique group of people, those men and women who dedicate themselves to the protection of others at great risk to themselves. Caitriona made the ultimate sacrifice and her loss has been enormous. Coast Guard volunteers, in particular the direct colleagues of Caitríona in the Units at Doolin and Kilkee, were devastated at the tragic events that unfolded on that day.”

Minister Ross welcomes the report’s recommendations in full and will be ensuring that they are all implemented. These are clearly aimed at minimising the potential risks involved in SAR boat operations into the future.

The Minister also notes that as there is a separate on-going investigation being carried out by the Health and Safety Authority that it would not be appropriate for him to comment on the detail cited in the report.

Minister Ross said:

“As an immediate response to this report, I have taken the following steps:

1) I have broadened the national SAR Framework review already underway as a response to the recent AQE Report on SAR aviation. It will now encompass the relevant recommendations arising from the MCIB report. The Review Group itself met formally on Wednesday 5 December under the independent chairmanship of Sir Alan Massey, former CEO of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the UK.

2) I have instructed the IRCG to accelerate its work in developing an independently accredited ISO safety management system that will be robust and fit for purpose. This work is already underway and significant effort and investment has taken place over the last two years.

3) That said, I am requiring the IRCG and the Marine Survey Office to take the necessary and pragmatic steps to ensure that any issues which could impact on vessel or crew safety are addressed as a matter of urgency.”

The Minister concluded:

“Caitríona Lucas was an extraordinary woman - brave, committed, supremely generous – and her death was an appalling tragedy. Her life will be remembered by the actions of all those involved in Search and Rescue activities. I know the Irish Coast Guard including its 900 volunteers are committed to honouring her memory. We will ensure volunteer safety remains at the heart of Search and Rescue operations”.

Published in MCIB
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The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG), a Division of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has vacancies for Watch Officers at its three Rescue Coordination Centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal and Valentia, Co Kerry.

The IRCG provides a nationwide maritime emergency service as well as a variety of services to shipping and other Government agencies.

Watch Officers are responsible for watch-keeping on the emergency frequencies and are required to act as Marine Alert, Notification and/or Search and Rescue Mission Co-ordination Officers.

They also process marine communication traffic and respond to ship casualty, pollution incidents, vessel traffic monitoring and co-ordination of Coast Guard
helicopter operations.

For more information on this role, the eligibility requirements and how to apply, visit www.publicjobs.ie

THE CLOSING DATE FOR RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS IS 3:00 PM (GMT) THURSDAY 29TH NOVEMBER 2018

Download press advertisement below

Published in Jobs
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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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