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A £2.5m fund to help marine tourism businesses in Scotland restart operations in 2021 will be open for applications from next week, according to Marine Industry News.

The Marine and Outdoor Tourism Restart Fund is part of an overall £104.3m support package for tourism businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the fund is aimed at supporting businesses through the expense of gearing up for the 2021 season.

Both inland and coastal operators will be eligible to apply for grants from £1,000 up to £15,000 in the VisitScotland-administered scheme, which opens at noon on Tuesday 2 February.

“Industry surveys indicated over 75% of operators in the charter and small cruise sector secured two months or less of trading in 2020,” Sail Scotland chief executive Alan Rankin said.

“Managers of local visitor moorings and pontoon services faced a vastly curtailed season, many of whom are not for profit community led groups operating on extremely thin margins.

He added: “The importance of supporting the sector at this time of year is vital, not just for direct jobs but also the valuable economic benefits marine tourism brings to rural and remote coastal and island communities.”

Marine Industry News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Scottish Waters

Scotland’s vast potential for sailing and adventure tourism post-Covid-19 is the focus of a new webinar series next week.

Marine Industry News reports on the online inaugural Adventure Tourism Week, an initiative of VisitScotland, Wild Scotland and Sail Scotland.

The five-day programme of live online seminars will explore what affects the coronavirus pandemic has had on the adventure tourism sector in Scotland, and how the region can capitalise on emerging trends around the world.

“The commercial sailing charter and holiday sectors have been severely impacted by the pandemic,” says Sail Scotland chief executive Alan Rankin.

“This event will provide a positive stepping-stone for future planning, provide a much-needed confidence boost to businesses and help focus attention on the sector that can be at the very heart of tourism recovery in Scotland.”

Marine Industry News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Scottish Waters

Three northern bottlenose whales were the subject of special rescue operation in Western Scotland yesterday (Thursday 1 October) as boats worked to guide them out to sea ahead of a major military exercise.

As the Guardian reports, rescue teams led by British Divers Marine Life Rescue formed a barrier with their boats as they coaxed the whale pod towards the Firth of Clyde and away from Loch Long, near the Faslane naval base west of Glasgow that will host the international Joint Warrior exercise next week.

The deep-water beaked whales, which are rarely seen in inshore waters, have been monitored in the area over the past month — with observers expressing concern over the health of one of the trio, even aside from their sensitivity to underwater sounds, according to BBC News.

The whales are of the same marine wildlife species that died in a stranding in Donegal this past August which was described as the largest of its kind in Ireland, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The UK’s Cruising Association’s Regulations and Technical Services group (RATS) has welcomed the move by the Scottish government to update its rules for marking lobster pots in Scottish waters.

The best practice guidance, which came into force on 20 June, makes unlawful the marking of a string of creels (lobster or crab pots) with anything other than a buoy made for that purpose.

RATS said it has been “vociferously campaigning” for clearer marking of static fishing gear and lobster pot markers since 2017, and will be pressing for England, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow suit.

More details on guidance for marking fishing creels in Scottish waters can be found on the Scottish government website HERE.

Published in Scottish Waters

The Isle of Man Steam Packets' chartered in MV Arrow, which is used by the Manx ferry operator to cover freight traffic, ran aground in Aberdeen Harbour, Scotland (yesterday).

The (ro-ro freightferry),reports Manx Radio, is on a sub-charter to Serco-Northlink for Aberdeen-Northern Isles services (see related Afloat story).

According to the BBC News, the Arrow 'got into difficulties during manoeuvres on its arrival from Lerwick (Shetland) early this morning, and ran aground at the entrance to the harbour.

She was freed by harbour tugs, with no injuries reported, whilst a full investigation with the relevant parties will be conducted.

The vessel is on a long-term charter to the Steam Packet, but has been sub-charted to Serco-Northlink for two weeks.

It's being managed and crewed by Seatruck Ferries during this period.

Published in Ferry

A modern-day Viking hopes to complete an epic journey by land and sea from Norway to the Midlands despite the setbacks of stormy weather and the coronavirus pandemic.

As RTÉ News reports, Darragh Carroll left the island of Tromoya off Norway’s southeast coast last November in a traditional wooden boat named Rán, for the Norse goddess of the sea.

The chef by trade made it as far as Cape Wrath in the Scottish Highlands when Storm Brendan struck in January, and Run was stranded on the sandy band in Loch Eriboll for two months until the tides were high enough to refloat.

With the boat’s engine flooded, Carroll was forced to rely on wind power alone for the final leg from northern Scotland to the East Coast of Ireland.

But as he neared his home in Dublin, the coronavirus crisis put a roadblock on his plans to bring a flame he’d taken from Norway to the Hill of Uisneach in Co Westmeath.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under

An overdue vessel sparked a major search off Skye in western Scotland last night (Saturday 9 May) involving two RNLI stations, multiple coastguard teams and an SAR helicopter.

The operation began at 8.40pm after a four-metre RIB, reportedly with two people and a dog on board, had failed to return to Strollamus on Skye as expected.

Kyle RNLI’s lifeboat Spirit of Fred Olsen launched within minutes after a report from a concerned member of the public.

The crew began a search of the coastline and small islands from Kyleakin heading north, while volunteers with Portree RNLI did the same heading south.

With light fading fast at 10pm and still no sign of the missing RIB, the Stornoway-based HM Coastguard helicopter was tasted to the scene.

Meanwhile, one of the Kyle lifeboat crew spotted a small light on the normally uninhabited island of Scalpay, which on investigation belonged the two people from the missing RIB.

They explained that they had gone ashore after suffering engine problems with their vessel, and were uninjured by their ordeal. The crew took them back to the Skye mainland at Broadford.

Speaking of the incident, a Kyle RNLI spokesperson said: “The couple had gone out searching for whelks when they had issues with their engine, so went ashore on Scalpay.

“The initial report had said they had a dog with them, however we discovered they had decided to leave it at home on this occasion.

“This search shows that during these unprecedented times of lockdown with bans on non-essential travel, the RNLI is still on call 24 hours a day.”

Published in Scottish Waters
Tagged under

Salvors successfully offloaded the last recoverable cargo from the grounded MV Kaami in western Scotland last Thursday, 30 April.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the MV Kaami ran aground in the Minch between Skye and Lewis on 21 March, just days after leaving Drogheda Port en route for Sweden.

The MV Kaami’s eight Russian crew were rescued within hours of the incident, but the 90m cargo vessel remains at the spot known locally as Eugenie Rock.

Work began last month to remove cargo from the vessel, and divers were able to access the hold to assess any internal damage.

Weather conditions during the early part of last week made it unsafe for the salvors to board the vessel and slowed down the salvage operation.

But more settled weather on Thursday allowed for some 30 tonnes of cargo to be removed and transferred to a landing craft for disposal.

The focus of the salvage operation is now on completing repairs to make the vessel watertight and to allow for it to be refloated.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Work continues at pace to remove cargo from the MV Kaami which ran aground off Skye in western Scotland after sailing from Drogheda Port last month.

A further 22 skips of cargo were removed yesterday (Monday 20 April), meaning a total of 160 skips worth of cargo have now been taken ashore.

Divers have also now been able to access the hold of the vessel to begin internal damage assessment.

The ship remains aground in the Minch between Skye and Lewis.

Stephan Hennig, the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, said: “Thanks to good weather and sea conditions, progress is being made swiftly.

“The removal of so much cargo now means we’re getting closer to the next phase of the salvage which will focus on assessing the internal damage and attempting to temporarily repair damaged sections of the ship.”

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, an exclusion zone had been stablished around the Nassau-registered cargo ship after it ran aground at Eugenie Rock within days of leaving Drogheda Port on 21 March.

The vessel’s eight Russian crew were rescued from the spot some six nautical miles north-west of Duntulm on Skye.

Published in Ports & Shipping

An exclusion zone was set up around a cargo ship out of Drogheda that ran aground in Scotland’s Hebrides earlier this week, as it was battered by persisting storm conditions.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, eight crew were airlifted from the MV Kaami on Monday (23 March) after it grounded on a reef known locally as Eugenie Rock, some six nautical miles off the Isle of Skye.

The MV Kaami had left Drogheda Port less than two days previously, en route for Slite in Sweden, with a cargo of refuse-derives fuel (RDF) in pellet form.

The Press and Journal reports that a salvage team arrived on Tuesday (24 March) to inspect the abandoned vessel, while the tug Ievoli Black remained at the scene on guard.

Published in Ports & Shipping
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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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