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#rnli – Two maritime legends finally met last bank holiday weekend at the Gathering of the Fleet Maritime Festival when Arklow RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Jimmy Tyrell climbed aboard the Shannon class lifeboat. Jimmy and his father before him lobbied the life-saving charity for many years to call one of their lifeboat classes after an Irish river and was finally rewarded when the Shannon class lifeboat was put into production last year.

Its arrival at this year's Arklow Gathering of the Fleet Maritime Festival was one of the highlights of the event. The lifeboat is on a tour of RNLI stations to introduce volunteer lifeboat crews to the new vessel. Jimmy was given a warm welcome onboard and had a full tour of the lifeboat from its RNLI crew.

The Shannon class lifeboat is the first all weather lifeboat to be powered by twin waterjets instead of propellers, making it more manoeuvrable and safer to operate in shallow water. It has a top speed of 25 knots and is due to replace the Mersey class lifeboat.

The Gathering of the Fleet Maritime Festival which was held in aid of the RNLI, played host to vessels of all shapes and sizes over the August bank holiday weekend.
Just prior to the departure of the new Shannon Class Lifeboat "RNLB Jock & Annie Slater" Arklow RNLI's crew made a presentation to Jimmy and the boats Coxswain Tommy to mark the visit and its importance to Jimmy and indeed all at Arklow RNLI.

East Coast FM broadcast their popular morning radio show with Declan Meehan live from the Arklow RNLI lifeboat station with special guests Diarmuid Gavin and Shane Byrne and our own volunteers getting involved in the fun. The lifeboat crew gave their guests a warm welcome but had taken the precaution of having a fully kitted out crew on scene in case they received a callout during the show.

Commenting on the festival Arklow RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer Mark Corcoran said, "This weekend is the fruition of months of hard work by the committee. Living on the east coast, the sea is such a big part of everyone's lives and we wanted to celebrate our proud maritime history and traditions with this Gathering of the Fleet Maritime Festival. Thanks to all the boat owners near and far and to the many people who have given their time and energy to make this year's event something special."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A celebration of European maritime communities is to be held tomorrow Tuesday (May 21st) but who here has heard of it?

We are a small island in the North Atlantic but thanks to our sea territory we're also one of the biggest countries in Europe so you would imagine some maritime folk at least would be interested in celebrating this EU backed promotion of something so crucial to our island life.

Ireland is the third biggest country in the European Union by virtue of our claimed seabed territory of 220 million acres.

Unfortunately a quick check of the google Ireland index confirms the international date does not figure high on any Irish government website.

Five different Government Departments deal with aspects of Ireland's maritime sphere.

We emailed the Department of the Marine about the celebrations but we got no response.

This is surprising given our current EU role and the recently adopted European Atlantic Action Plan designed to complement the Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland "Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth" launched by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D., in July 2012.

The aim of European Maritime Day is to provide an occasion to highlight the crucial role that oceans and seas play in the everyday life not only of coastal communities, but of all EU citizens, and for Europe's sustainable growth and jobs at large, and to encourage better stewardship of coastal zones, seas and oceans by all citizens and actors concerned.

Of course our own very active coastal communities have put their future in good hands for some time now. Their own. But there is only so much isolated little harbour towns can do on their own.

A marine alliance of these communities and fishing and boating sectors could forge a national voice for a maritime nation. Who knows Ireland might even get to celebrate this important European date?

This year, the sixth edition of the European Maritime Day will be held on another European island, in Malta in the city of Valletta.

It is organised by the European Commission (DG for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) in partnership with the Maltese Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, and the Maltese Ministry for Tourism. The seas and oceans, and the opportunities they offer, will be at the heart of discussions. There will be high-level political debates as well as more practical exchanges between maritime stakeholders. Thoughts, ideas and new concepts will be devised during the Conference. Lets hope the third biggest sea territory in Europe gets a mention.

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Published in Water Rat

#spatialplanning– Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is coming to prominence as a new approach to the governance of the seas and oceans.  The European Union has taken important steps to promote the uptake of MSP by Member States. Trans boundary planning in the European Atlantic is a project funded by DG Mare and the first workshop in the project is being held in Newry, Co. Down today.

The project is a partnership between the University of Liverpool and the Coastal Management Resource Centre of UCC. Delegates from a number of N Ireland government departments and the Republic have joined with industry stakeholders to discuss in the workshops some of the issues surrounding MSP. The Irish Marine Federation is the single voice representing the marine leisure sector.

Already the group are settling in to try to develop a methodology to ensure that all sectors will contribute to the debate from a social, environmental and an economic view point.

Steve Conlon of the IMF stated that it is important that the marine leisure industry full engages with this type of forum to ensure that the leisure boating voice continues to be heard.

Published in Marine Science
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#training – SeaRegs Training has opened a Maritime Training Centre based in Plymouth, Devon.

SeaRegs Training specialises in courses for people who want to work in the marine industry, offering internationally recognised MCA and STCW95 courses including STCW First Aid, STCW Personal Survival Techniques, STCW Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities, plus preparation courses for MCA Master 200/Officer of the Watch 500 and Boatmaster licences.

"We have a background in providing sound advice and solid training to people looking at coming into the industry or increasing their knowledge and certification. We hope to extend our range of courses over the coming year to ensure we fully reflect what skills the marine industry and the mariner require'. Simon Jinks, Managing Director of SeaRegs said.

"SeaRegs also offer online training for navigation and safety modules allowing seafarers to learn at their own pace or onboard ship. This is becoming an increasing popular way to learn with the increasing demands on people's time. Whilst the learning is online, help is only a phone call or email away" Jinks added.

SeaRegs also offer a host of professional RYA/MCA powerboat, motorboat and sailing training for people who work afloat so that they gain commercial endorsements and instructor courses for those who would like to teach in the industry.

SeaRegs M.D., Simon Jinks has over 25 years experience in the field of marine training, having previously run the RYA's Yachtmaster Training Scheme and also recently authored the RYA Commercial Regulations - Small Vessels book and ISAF Guide To Offshore Personal Safety For Racing And Cruising.

Courses run throughout the year in Plymouth and often in other areas and countries. For more information visit: www.searegs.co.uk or call 01392 580771

Published in Marine Trade
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In THIS 'ISLAND NATION' this week, I invite you to join me on a sea crusade, report that the Shipping Industry should encourage youngsters from Sail Training... A song for the Kilmore Quay fisherman who defied the EU ... 50 years of diving in by Galway university students ... Sunny but cold, the oddest fish in the sea .... More developments on boat security .... Piracy at sea levels fall and Limerick Water Safety Developments ...

JOIN ME IN A SEA CRUSADE

For some time I have been trying to raise interest in the concept of an independent, voluntary organisation to represent the widest interests of the maritime sphere. There has been some support, but it has been limited, despite the fact that over the past few years public interest in Ireland's maritime resources has increased. There is more awareness of the sea and that we are an island. In more and more circumstances, ranging from political to government, commercial, industry, fishing and leisure, I have heard the words used which I spoke for 20 years as a radio presenter: "This Island Nation...."

 afloat islandnationspread

There is more awareness at State level of the maritime sphere now. There are more positive initiatives being taken. The leisure sphere has expanded. There has been a vast increase in participation in watersports. But still the maritime sphere lacks a voice at national level dedicated to raising marine awareness generally, to regularly, constantly, highlighting maritime matters - representing the marine across its widest perspective, from fishing to shipping, the marine environment, to the leisure sector.

My focus is to try to establish a maritime foundation which would do this. If you are interested, read more in the Autumn edition just on sale of Afloat magazine.

SHIPPING INDUSTRY SHOULD ENCOURAGE YOUNGSTERS FROM SAIL TRAINING

The Chief Executive of Sail Training International has told the International Chamber of Shipping that he is surprised "that there has been no systematic attempt by the shipping industry to encourage youngsters who have taken voyages on sail training vessels to seek jobs at sea."

CEO of STI Peter Cardy challenged the shipping industry at its annual conference to take advantage of what he described as "the vast incubator of potential talent" that existed for the shipping industry amongst young people who had shown an interest in the sea by taking a voyage aboard a sail training ship. He is the former Head of the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency and said that the sail training sector was continuing to grow internationally. There had been 55 sailing vessels from 20 countries and 7,000 trainees of 31 nationalities involved in this year's Tall Ships Race.

"Given the continuing manning crisis in the shipping industry about which we hear I am surprised that there has been no systematic attempt by the shipping industry to encourage a flow of recruits from the sail training vessels."

KILMORE QUAY'S FISHING FACEBOOK

The Kilmore Quay Fishing Fleet has set up its own Facebook page on which Roger McGuire has written and placed via soundcloud.com 'The Ballad of the Saltees Quest,' a tribute to Skipper Jimmy Byrne following his refusal to dump monkfish and landing it on the quayside.

jimmybyrne

Kilmore Quay skipper Jimmy Byrne

"It's a little tune I threw together in support of Jimmy and the crew who made a stand by landing fish that by some stupid law they would have had to dump at sea. This action put them in danger of legal proceedings against them," says Roger. "I used the melody from an old Irish song called 'The Golden Jubilee'. The lyrics are all my own."

And here's the song!

FIFTY YEARS OF DIVING

The Irish Underwater Council, CFT, is making plans to mark its 50th anniversary next year and a commemorative booklet will be produced by the anniversary date in September 2013. The occasion will be marked on September 28 in the City North Hotel, Gormanstown, Co.Meath. However, one Irish sub-aqua club has already reached its 50th year in existence -

the NUIG/GMIT Sub-Aqua Club which launched its new 6.5m XS-650 RIB Rigid Inflatable Boat, Alice Perry. The club dives locally on a regular basis to such sites as Coral Beach, Bóthar Buí and Killary Fjord. Larger weekend trips also take place to dive sites all along the west coast, from Donegal to Cork. The club is open to all current students, alumni or staff of NUI Galway or GMIT. For further information on the NUIG/GMIT Sub-Aqua Club, or to join, visit www.galwaydiving.com

SUNNY BUT COLD – THE ODDEST FISH

The ocean sunfish is one of the oddest specimens in the seas and is being studied by scientists because of its pattern of swimming at depths as far as 2,000 feet under the surface, but then surfacing to bask on its side where sea birds then snack on parasites clinging to the sunfish's rough greyish skin. Basking may be a way for sunfish to thermally recharge themselves as they cannot tolerate prolonged exposure to cold ocean temperatures, according to the scientists. The sunfish is a flat oval shape found in tropical and temperate oceans, though an occasional one has been reported in Irish waters in recent years, seen as an indication of changing ocean temperatures.

Its scientific name is 'mola mola.' Mola is the Latin word for millstone and accurately describes the flat oval shape of this fish, the heaviest- known bony fish in the world. Bony means that their skeletons are composed of bones instead of cartilage. The weight of an average adult sunfish is about 2,000 pounds. The heaviest known sunfish weighed close to 5,000 pounds.

They eat mostly jellyfish but will also eat small fish, plankton, squid and crustaceans. Sunfish meat is not widely consumed by humans although considered a delicacy in some parts of the world such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

BOAT SECURITY

Following my report about boat and equipment thefts Kevin Hennessy has been in touch with me from Youghal where he heads up BoatWarden International Ltd., an Irish-designed and developed product, with all components sourced and assembled in County Cork.

"BoatWarden is a security and management system for small ribs to yachts. Some of the features we cover are - intruder alerts, high water in bilges, theft of boat, breaking of moorings, automatically switching on heat and lights, all from your smart phone," he tells me. "Our system will text up to 5 people if there is a problem. There is no annual fee and all our clients use a pay-as-you-go SIM card. We sell our product globally and the UK and Australia would be our biggest markets. We have units worldwide. The theft of boats right now is on the increase."

The company is developing video systems and I will be having a further look at its work in future weeks. It is good to see a Cork company developing responses to the problems of boat theft.

SEA PIRACY LEVELS DOWN

Sea piracy has fallen to its lowest level worldwide since 2008, as policing by international naval forces has deterred pirates operating in the waters off Somalia, new figures from the piracy watchdog this week indicate. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said there were 233 actual and attempted attacks on vessels globally in the first nine months of 2012, compared with 352 in the corresponding period last year.

The number of attacks by Somali pirates has fallen, with 70 attacks by the end of September, down from 199 in 2011 and the lowest number since 2009.

LIMERICK WATER SAFETY DEVELOPMENTS

Limerick County Council, in conjunction with Irish Water Safety and Loc8 Code Ltd. have started a pilot project which enables anyone requiring help at any one of 86 ringbuoy locations around the county to direct the emergency services to their position, with an accuracy of six metres. Ringbuoys and their holders along the Shannon River and Estuary, River Mulcair, River Maigue and dozens of other locations popular with members of the public have been fitted with Loc8 codes containing GPS coordinates. The information is accompanied by contact details for the Samaritans' support services to assist in the reduction of suicide through drowning.

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Brian Kennedy, Water Safety Development Officer, Limerick County Council; Cllr Leo Walsh; Con Murray, Limerick Local Authorities Manager; Gary Delaney, CEO Loc8 Code. Photo: Brian Gavin Press 22

Loc8 Codes were originally developed by GPS Ireland, run by former Naval officer and CEO of the company based in Crosshaven, Gary Delaney. "The placing of these codes on ringbuoys and their holders will help to further improve the emergency services' response times when dealing with an emergency incident," he said.

The 86 ringbuoy locations featured in the Loc8 Code pilot project include Castletroy, Foynes, Adare, Annacotty, Pallaskenry, Croom, Glin, Loughil, Askeaton, Castleconnell, Lough Gur, Bruree, Athlacca, Cappamore, Clareville, Montpellier, Murroe, Newcastle West, Pallasgreen, Abbeyfeale, Dromkeen, Bruff and Kilmallock.

Email your comments on maritime matters to : [email protected]

Follow Tom for more maritime news and comment on Twitter: @TomMacSweeney

Published in Island Nation

#coastguard – A major maritime exercise, 'Exercise Diamond', which involves HM Coastguard, vessels, RNLI lifeboats, helicopters, search and rescue coordinators, Belfast Harbour, emergency services and local authorities will be held on Sunday 23 September from 9.30 am. Exercise Diamond, a live large-scale incident exercise, will be held within Belfast Lough, Northern Ireland and involve 365 people.

A briefing will take place in Bangor RNLI Lifeboat Station by the MCA media team at 8.40 am.

A vessel will be available for media representatives, for filming and photographing the exercise as it unfolds. The boat will depart from Bangor Marina at 09.00 am and is expected to return at roughly 11.00 am. There will be limited places on board so please contact the MCA press office as soon as possible to book a place.

The RNLI will be supplying footage, taken from lifeboat cameras during the exercise. Further detail about where this can be obtained will be available nearer the date.

The exercise director and other exercise players will be available on the day for interview. Please contact the MCA press office in advance to make bids for interviews.

Steve Carson, who is the Exercise Controller says:

"Exercise Diamond will test the major incident plans for all of the organisations that would be involved should a major maritime incident happen in Northern Ireland. We would particularly like to thank Stena Line and RFD Survivitec who will be providing vital resources for the exercise."

Published in Coastguard
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#maritimetourism – The Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly says the strategy, due to be published next year, should prioritise sustainable tourism, taking safety and environmental concerns into consideration. Promoting competitiveness, job creation and benefits for local communities are also pivotal in Mr Kelly's view.

"Ireland may not be able to guarantee year-round sunshine but we have some of the best conditions and resources to attract water sports enthusiasts and general holiday-makers in search of beautiful seascapes.

"Ireland needs to focus on boosting the image and profile of our coastal areas as high-quality destinations. Let's concentrate on the unique appeal ofIrelandand increase tourism. The new EU strategy must support Member States like Ireland in its efforts and that means financial support for SMEs involved in tourism and community grants or regionally diversification of the structural funds," Mr Kelly commented.

The European Commission Directorates-General for Maritime Affairs & Fisheries and for Enterprise & Industry have jointly launched a Public Consultation of individuals and stakeholders to better understand the key challenges and opportunities for the maritime and coastal tourism sectors.

Responses will feed into discussions during this year's European Tourism Day, to be held in Brussels, on September 27th and which will include a dedicated focus on coastal and maritime tourism.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
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#island nation – Barryoe Oil from West Cork; can Irish civil servants co-operate in the interest of the marine sphere; more signs of the difficult economic times with sailing cutbacks; deciding whether the white shark should continue to be protected; Ireland winds the British School Sailing Championships; consumers are using ecolabels to decide their fish-buying habits, the Atlantic Challenge and the continuing mystery of the Lusitania, are my topics this week.

OIL FROM WEST CORK OFFERS PROSPECTS!

I held a phial containing Barryroe Oil in my hand on Saturday, the first time I have seen an example of this discovery off West Cork.

johnosprovidenceresources

John O'Sullivan of Providence Resources

John O'Sullivan, Technical Director of Providence Resources, was outlining the find at the Glandore Maritime Summer School which was discussing Ireland's Ocean Wealth.

He said the oil is of good quality and during the initial testing had flowed at 1,500 barrels a day. The find has great potential, he said and told the audience that the company was considering Irish facilities to bring it ashore and there will be drilling in other areas, including off Spanish Point.

It was an encouraging description of the resources off our coast.

CAN CIVIL SERVANTS CO-OPERATE IN MARITIME DEVELOPMENT?

I chaired the Saturday afternoon session at the summer school where fundamental questions were raised about government and civil service commitment to the marine sphere. The Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Mark Mellett, a courageous speaker, made the case that the Navy can contribute a wider role to the national economy than just that of a defence force. Micheal O Cinneide, formerly with the Marine Institute and now with the Environmental Protection Agency highlighted lack of co-ordinated decision-making amongst Government Departments.

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Glandore Summer School 2012

The level of actual sea-going experience amongst civil servants forming the government's Marine Co-ordinating Group which is drawing up the national maritime development plan was discussed. Many people at Glandore had never heard of this Group, though the plan they have been preparing is due to be launched later this month. The issue of whether the nine government departments on the Group, competing against each other for scarce resources, can co-operate in the interest of advancing the marine sphere as a major national economic resource, was raised. The school was told that top civil servants regularly go to the high-powered Harvard Business School in the USA to hone their skills and are top of the class in administration, but regularly fail to show that they can co-operate or work together. An interesting reflection!

Marine Minister Simon Coveney maintained that they can and are co-operating and that the plan will point to an exciting future for the marine sphere, establishing it as a major economic sector. He said there had been strong public interest in making submissions.

CALVES CUTBACKS

Alan Dwyer the Commodore of Schull Harbour Sailing Club in West Cork has been telling me of another sign of the difficult economic times - Calves Week will be a different event this year.

"We have made major changes to what was an event which had grown with time and tradition to lasting almost two weeks. That grew with the holiday season in Schull but as people have come under more time and economic pressures, those who took part told us they wanted a shorter and less expensive alternative."

The club has responded by cutting the event back to a four-day Calves Week Championships which will start on Tuesday, August 7 and run until Friday, August 10. Schull will have a sailing festival with the village decorated in a maritime theme by local businesses and events for all the family. The traditional regattas in Baltimore, Crookhaven and Schull will continue as stand-alone events with their own courses and prizegivings, organised by the local clubs.

Schull Harbour SC was founded in 1977 as a summer sailing club and from its inception has actively promoted leisure and competitive sailing in the West Cork harbour. The first commodore was Billy Pope who had sailed in the area from the fifties in his yacht Pendua.

SCHULL REVENGE IN BRITAIN

The Fastnet International Schools Regatta is being revived in Schull this month following the hosting of the World Team Racing Championship there last year and will be held from Monday to Thursday next week, July 23-26. Gold Fleet Racing will take place in the TR3.6 dinghies which were designed and built for the world championships. Handicap Racing will take place in both silver and bronze fleets with class racing where sufficient entries are received.

The success of what has been achieved by the concentration which Schull Community College has placed on sailing as part of the sports curriculum is shown by the College winning the British Schools Dinghy Team Racing Championships for the second time in 3 years. Racing was at Bough Beech Reservoir in Kent. The students of Schull Community College beat Magdalen College, Oxford, by 2 races to nil in the final. The Schull team crews were: Oisin O'Driscoll/Katie Moynihan; Connor Millar/Ellen O'Regan; Fionn Lyden/Mark Hassett.

BANTRY CHALLENGE

Next week also, this time in Bantry, young sailors from 16 nations will be taking part in the Atlantic Challenge. Competitions involving sailing and rowing the Bantry Longboats which are replicas of the Wolfe Tone Expedition and the French Armada dating back to 1796. There will also be seafaring competitions.

I once sailed in one of the boats and, as they are also rowed, they do not have the traditional keel which keeps sailing vessels upright, so they are balanced by the weight and positioning of the crew. That keeps you on your toes, but it is exhilarating and challenging sailing.

REVIEWING PROTECTION OF WHITE SHARKS

Continuing the protection of white sharks is being questioned in Western Australia after a fifth fatal attack on humans since September of last year. The State's Fisheries Minister, Norman Moore, said that the level of attacks on humans by white sharks was higher there than documented anywhere else in the world and action would have to be taken to deal with the situation.

White sharks have been a protected species for more than a decade, since the International Union for Conservation of Nature identified them as vulnerable. The Federal Government's White Shark Recovery Plan was released in 2002 and reviewed in 2008. That review found insufficient evidence to confirm an increase in the species. He wants the Federal Government to discuss the research data on which the protection of these sharks is being maintained and whether that status should be reviewed.

BUYING FISH BY LABEL

Consumers around the world, particularly in Northern Europe, are using ecolabels to find out if fish they buy come from sustainable stocks, according to the Marine Stewardship Council. It commissioned an independent study which found that label recognition was highest in Germany and lowest in France.

LUSITANIA MYSTERY CONTINUES

The underwater footage of the Lusitania wreck shown on the National Geographic Channel was very impressive and concluded with a US government weapons research centre testing the theories about a second explosion after the liner had been torpedoed.

The conclusion was that this was a boiler explosion and that only the German U-boat torpedo sank her. Greg Bemis who owns the wreck disagreed and says he will continue to explore the second blast theory.

You can follow me for more marine news and comment on Twitter: @TomMacSweeney

And on Facebook – THIS ISLAND NATION page

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Published in Island Nation
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#VOR – Catch all the latest action and news from the Volvo Ocean Race on TG4 . TG4 will broadcast the in-port race live from Lorient next Saturday as well as the start of Leg 9 on Sunday. On Saturday 7th July, TG4 will broadcast the in-port Race from Galway.  The race started in Alicante, Spain last October and finishes in Galway in July. The 2011-12 race is the 11th edition of the event with six boats participating: Groupama Sailing Team, Team Telefónica, PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG, CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Sanya.

*UPDATE:  Please note change of timings to in-port race in Lorient on Saturday and start of Leg 9 on Sunday next*

Coverage on TG4
SATURDAY 30 JUNE

11:45am LIVE Volvo Ocean Race

Live coverage of the In-Port Race from Lorient, France. Situated in Brittany in north-west France, Lorient has a long-standing link to the maritime world and is the first French harbour to welcome the Race since La Rochelle did in 2002. The race course for the in-port race is always close to shore, so spectators will have a great view of the races.

SUNDAY 1 JULY

11:45am LIVE Volvo Ocean Race

Live coverage of the start of Leg 9, which sees the boats depart Lorient and make their way to Galway - a distance of 485 nautical miles (898 kilometres). Ironically, Lorient has been a twin town of Galway since 1978. The last stage of the Volvo Ocean Race will be short but intense with around 3 days at sea. The gun will be fired at 1pm in the Lorient's bay and the boat will head back south to Belle-Ile before they head back up towards Galway. The race's final sprint from France to Ireland takes the fleet on a predominantly coastal course: first north along the shores of western Brittany, then across the English Channel and up the prehistoric south coast of Ireland to the finish line in Galway. Short as it is compared to the preceding legs, this final passage is fraught with obstacles to be negotiated including commercial shipping lanes and rocky outcrops, as well as a seemingly endless series of headlands and major tidal gates. Added to this is the potential for rapidly changing weather conditions, which will keep the crews on their toes as they battle their way to the finish line in Galway.

MONDAY 2 JULY

7:30pm Volvo Ocean Race

Highlights from the start of Leg 9, which sees the boats depart Lorient and make their way to Galway, a distance of 485 nautical miles (898 kilometres).

SATURDAY 7 JULY

12:45pm LIVE Volvo Ocean Race

Live coverage of the in-port race from Galway Bay.  After nine months, nine legs and 39,000 nautical miles it all comes down to this one race in Galway that will be broadcast live on TG4. The In-Port Race is the final scoring opportunity for teams in the 2011-2012 edition of the race so this is where the overall podium positions could be awarded.  The fleet will sail for an intense hour around a course positioned close to land to both challenge the crew and delight those lining the shore along Salthill and Barna. The Galway stopover for the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race was a huge success for the city and for the race, and once again the Volvo Ocean Race will visit this ancient west coast city of Ireland, this time as the finish line of the 2011-12 race. The Volvo Ocean Race fleet will finish the race in the fabled waters of Galway Bay in July 2012 where they are bound to receive a tremendous Irish welcome at the end of the final leg from Lorient.

9:40pm Volvo Ocean Race

Highlights from the in-port race in Galway and the Prize Giving.

SUNDAY 29 JULY

2:00pm Volvo Ocean Race Official Film

A look back at the 2011/2012 race as the boats left Alicante last October, sailing around the world and visiting ports and cities such as Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, Itajaí, Miami, Lisbon, Lorient and Galway. It is undeniably the world's premier global race and one of the most demanding team sporting events in the world. The race is the ultimate mix of world class sporting competition and on the edge adventure, a unique blend of onshore glamour with offshore drama and endurance.

Published in Maritime TV

In this week's column: Safety in sailing; ocean wealth in Galway; the US Navy going green; increased shipping in the Arctic Circle; Denis Noonan and the Round Ireland Race; Australia's world ocean reserve and the UK Coastguard suggests offshore sailors use satellite phones.

OCEAN WEALTH IN GALWAY

Rain was lashing against the bridge windows of the Irish Lights' vessel Granuaile in Galway Docks, the wind was howling. Most definitely, it was not a nice day to be on the water when I told the audience listening to me that we Irish people are fortunate to live on an island. I was launching the Ocean Wealth Showcase with Yvonne Shields, Chief Executive of the Commissioners of Irish Lights. It will take place at the Volvo Ocean Race Festival from June 30 to July 8 and will be well worth a visit.

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Yvonne Shileds with the new Twitter buoy off Galway yesterday

Driving into Galway you can see that the city has embraced the Volvo Race and, talking to that great member of Galway Bay Sailing Club and one of the men whose determination brought the race to the City of the Tribes, John Killeen, we agreed that the overall result will be decided in the city. Eamonn Conneely, who sailed Patches to international success and Enda O'Coineen, were the other members of the trio which led the Galway Volvo campaign. Well done to them and all those involved, including hundreds of volunteers, who have established Galway on the world maritime map.

State agencies and commercial companies and organisations have put together the Ocean Wealth Showcase. Throughout the week there will be a wide range of exhibits demonstrating the scale and diversity of Ireland's ocean resources and their economic, social and environmental value to our island nation. In addition there will be a range of business and family events throughout the week.

It was a pleasure to launch the Showcase and to see how much commitment is being given to it.

The launch coincided with the placing of the Galway 'Twitter' Buoy in the Bay which will Tweet information about the Showcase as well as navigation and metocean information about the Volvo Race and Galway Bay. Look it up on www.twitter.com/GalwayBuoy.

TO SAIL OR NOT TO SAIL

There has been a lot of heavy weather around to test the ability of sailors. Not surprisingly, the issue of how safe is the sport and in what state of bad weather racing should be held, has arisen. I did not finish the first race of the Union Chandlery evening league at the RCYC in Crosshaven due to prevailing heavy weather conditions. The forecast was not encouraging but it seemed a reasonable assumption that the race could be held before a strong front arrived. Shortly after it began, though, the very heavy weather arrived. Wind strength was 27 knots, with gusts of 34 according to meteorological reports recorded at Roche's Point. With a reef in the main, two rolls of the headsail taken in on the furling jib, the boat still taking a pounding while reaching speeds of 8 to 9 knots at times, I decided it was better and safer for my 33ft. Sigma and crew not to continue to race and withdrew. In Class 3 in which I was competing, six of the seven boats taking part retired. Class 1 and 2 boats raced on to their finish.

Afterwards there was quite a bit of discussion about the conditions. Views ranged from those who thought them too heavy, to others exhilarated by what they had encountered, underlining that individual views differ about conditions. For those who ask when racing should or should not be held, the decision on whether or not to race and responsibility for it must be taken by the Skipper. Clubs will provide racing, but do state in their regulations that the decision to sail is that of the Skipper. Therefore the crew who go with him or her are presumed to support that decision. Insurance companies are careful about stating their position, but my understanding is that they regard the responsible person as the one who has insured the boat.

Experience of heavy weather is necessary for sailors because weather patterns can change quickly in these waters. Leisure sailing, to which I am referring in this regard, is different to professional racing such as the Volvo Round the World Race where conditions far different to club racing are experienced and sailors must be capable of dealing with them.

The second race of the league was cancelled this week because of the very heavy weather conditions, quite rightly in my view. I would be interested to hear views from readers.

NICE DOCKS IN GALWAY

I like the comment which Galway Harbour Master Capt.Brian Sheridan made to me about the new view the people of Galway have of the city docks:

"The people of Galway no longer refer to the 'docks' as a dirty, disliked place. It is now 'the harbour,' a positive part of the life of the city and it will be even more important, because the West of Ireland deserves to have a strong, vibrant port as a major economic contributor to the city and the western region."

He is one of the driving forces in the successful staging of the race. It is on his shoulders that arrangements for the berthing of the race fleet and visitors falls.

DENNIS NOONAN, WICKLOW AND THE ROUND IRELAND

"There were those who thought we wouldn't make it, but again we have," Dennis Noonan told me from Wicklow Sailing Club in that quiet but determined voice of his when we talked about this year's Round Ireland Race which will start on Sunday, June 24 and for which there are 38 entries as I write. The number includes more British than Irish. There are 18 from the UK, just 12 from Ireland, with several other countries represented. Dennis is a legend who has devoted huge energy to the staging of the Round Ireland. 'Fair Sailing' to all competitors.

I hear indications that Green Dragon, Ireland's former Volvo entry may be returning to racing and participate, with plans to use it for offshore training.

US NAVY GOING GREEN

The United States Navy is making a move towards going 'green'. In exercises off the coast of Hawaii next month five warships are to make Stateside maritime history when they become the first to use biofuels to power their turbines, as well as jets flying off a carrier's deck and helicopters hovering overhead. The flotilla will be powered by a mixture of cooking grease and algae oil of which 3,400 tonnes was loaded aboard the Naval fleet oiler, Henry J.Kaiser, this week to supply the ships. This is part of the U.S. Navy's efforts to move away from dependence on petroleum.

AUSTRALIA HAS WORLD'S LARGEST MARINE RESERVE

Australia has created the world's largest network of marine reserves where it will restrict fishing as well as oil and gas exploration to safeguard the environment and access to food the government says. The area covers 1.2 million square miles of ocean, a third of the island continent's territorial waters, which sustain more than 4,000 species of fish.

The environmental group WWF has welcomed the development but the government's conservative opposition has vowed to review the boundaries if it gets into power at elections next year, an outcome that opinion polls indicate is likely!

"I am instinctively against anything that damages the rights of recreational fishing and anything that will further damage the commercial fishing industry and tourism," opposition leader Tony Abbott said. {youtube}KPLvgZa3ltA{/youtube}

MORE SHIPPING USE OF THE ARCTIC

Shipping cargoes moving through Arctic waters are set to rise to their highest this year as companies use the route to cut journey times and fuel usage compared with Suez Canal shipments.

Nordic Bulk Carriers A/S plans to transport about six to eight 70,000 metric-ton shipments of iron ore to China from the Russian port of Murmansk starting next month. Using the Northern Sea Route for the journey instead of the canal is saving the company 1,000 tons of fuel, or $650,000 per journey.

SATELLITE PHONES OFFSHORE

It was interesting to see what appears to be a change of approach by the UK Coastguard this week when it suggested that offshore sailors should carry a satellite phone for emergencies,

Following the helicopter rescue of a solo sailor whose 22ft boat had been knocked flat repeatedly in Force 9 conditions, Falmouth coastguard issued a statement: "For offshore voyages leisure sailors are recommended to carry a satellite form of communication."

"It makes life easier for us if we can be in direct touch, because then we can establish what the problem is," said James Instance, Watch Manager at MRCC Falmouth. "An EPIRB is fantastic, but although it indicates position it doesn't say what kind of distress it is."

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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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