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For the first time an Irish maritime journalist was honoured by the British Maritime Foundation at its annual awards ceremony in London. The Desmond Wettern Award was presented to Afloat's Tom MacSweeney. It is made to the writer, broadcaster, journalist who in the opinion of the Foundation's Awards Committee has made the most constructive contribution to generating awareness of maritime issues.

The Awards Committee said that the significance of issues chosen, work in radio, television and newspapers and magazines, the range and depth of analysis and impact on public awareness of maritime issues were the reasons for the award to be made to a journalist outside of the UK for the first time.

There was a £1,000 award with the trophy which MacSweeney donated at the ceremony back to the Foundation for support to their work, particularly in the area of tall ships opportunities and sea training for young people. The Foundation will be offering places to Irish people and are interested in extending the work of the Foundation to Ireland.

The Award was presented by Countess Mountbatten, President of the Maritime Foundation at a ceremony in the Institute of Directors building in Pall Mall, London.

Tom MacSweeney is a columnist with Afloat, Ireland's national sailing magazine and Special Correspondent with Ireland's national fishing industry newspaper, The Marine Times. He was formerly Marine Correspondent with RTE, Ireland's national radio and television service and is a former winner of Ireland's maritime person of the year award as well as a maritime author.

TV historian Dan Snow won the Donal Gosling Award for his four-part BBC2 series, Empire of the Seas. This is for the best television, film or radio contribution.

Over 200 celebrities, journalists, business figures and senior naval officers attended this year's Maritime Media Awards, held at the Institute of Directors in London Foundation president Countess Mountbatten of Burma presented prizes to winners of the six categories:

• The Desmond Wettern Media Award for the best journalistic contribution – freelance writer and broadcaster Tom MacSweeney for exemplary coverage of maritime matters
• The Donald Gosling Award for best television, film or radio contribution – Dan Snow, Empire of the Seas
• The Desmond Wettern Fleet award for best media contribution from HM Ship, submarine, Royal Navy Air Squadron or Royal Marine unit – HMS Kent
• The Mountbatten Maritime Award for best literary contribution – Richard Guilliatt and Peter Hohnen, The Wolf

• The Maritime Fellowship Award for an outstanding lifetime contribution in a particular maritime field – Undersea explorer David Mearns

• The Society for Nautical Research Anderson Medal for best contribution to maritime history – Nicholas Black, Head of History, Dulwich College for his book, British Naval Staff in the First World War

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The awardees in Pall Mall

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Tom MacSweeney receives the award from Countess Mountbatten

Read Tom MacSweeney's weekly 'Island Nation' blog HERE

Published in Island Nation

A wonderful weekend of maritime celebration took place in Rosses Point in August. It was the inaugural festival of Shanty and Seafaring organised by a local committee. The event took place over three days in the in the village which is steeped in seafaring history. As well as the singing readings and poetry, traditional Rosses Point events such as the "Go as you Please" and "Maugherow Cup" were hotly contested.

Many people from the village who lost their lives at sea were remembered in a special Mass and wreath laying ceremony at the "waiting on the shore" monument.

The total amount raised over the weekend through bucket collections, bbqs, and purchase of a specially commissioned CD by the local group Ashore for a Loaf, was a staggering €4434.00.

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The Liverpool crew 

The cheque was presented to the RNLI fundraising Chairman Pat Carter by Ann Mannion on behalf of the Shanty Festival Committee.In accepting the cheque Pat Carter congratulated the Shanty committee on a wonderful event and thanked them for their most generous donation to the RNLI. Pat Carter went onto thank the local people who as ever give very generously the RNLI Sligo Bay. The RNLI lifeboat service is funded entirely through voluntary donations.

The Committee have just announced that they will be holding an even bigger and better Shanty & Seafaring Festival in mid June 2011

Published in Maritime Festivals

The cost of upgrading fishing boats to comply with new regulations first mooted three years ago means some boats cannot put to sea again. It's a move that will cost hundreds of jobs to coastal communities says Tom MacSweeney

The nation may be reeling from the revelations about Anglo Irish Bank and AIB. The fishing industry is reeling from another shocker. While earlier this week it cranked up its PR machine in an attempt to convince the public it was going to create jobs, the reality is that this Friday, October 1, it wiped out at least 200 and the overall effects of what it has done may throw as many as 800 people out of work in coastal areas.

That is callous disregard for people and underlines the disinterest and disrespect which the Government has for the maritime sector.

These jobs are in the fishing industry and are being lost because of a decision by the Department of Transport that smaller fishing boats, ranging in size from 15 to 24 metres must conform to the same safety standards as bigger boats, those over 25 metres, even though they operate under different fishing methods.

There can be no argument against safety, but there should be moderate, reasonable implementation of regulations. To quote the Taoiseach in his own recent defence, "moderation in all things." There are 99 boats in the Irish fleet in the 15-24 metre category. These are, effectively, day boats which operate in inshore waters, close to land. The Department has decided to implement regulations requiring them to conform to the same standards as bigger vessels that operate farther out to sea for extended periods.

Of the 99 boats nationwide faced with the implementation of the new regulations, 39 have not applied for certification, apparently because owners could either not afford the costs of upgrading the boats to the higher standard or felt the vessels would not be able to meet those standards, irrespective of how much money was spent on them. Those 39 boats have to be tied up, unable to go fishing any longer, another blow to the Irish fishing fleet. Their owners and crews will face unemployment.

The total number of jobs lost nationally could be up to 800, according to fishing organisations, when those whose livelihoods ashore depend on the 200 direct fishing jobs are added.

The Department makes the point that it has been known for three years that these new regulations would be imposed and that there has been ample time for owners to upgrade. Fishing organisations asked the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, who also holds the brief of marine safety, to establish a separate category of safety requirements applying specifically to the smaller boats. Dempsey, who has not been a friend of the fishing industry, refused. So around 200 fishermen are out of work, directly due to a Government decision. It has not been explained why different regulations cannot be applied to different sizes of boats.

The sight of more Irish fishing boats tied to the quay wall, stopped by Irish Government regulations from working will not be pleasant.


• This article is reprinted by permission of the CORK EVENING ECHO in which Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation
Page 9 of 9

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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