Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Offshore Wind

Irish renewable energy developer Simply Blue has joined a North Sea consortium working on a commercial scale seaweed farm located within an offshore wind farm.

The “North Sea Farm 1 Project” involves ten hectares of water off the Netherlands coast, and is billed as the world’s first commercial scale operation of its type.

It aims to become operational this autumn when it will be deployed and seeded, with first harvest anticipated during Spring of 2025.

The project is sponsored by Amazon’s “Right Now” climate fund, and aims to help address climate action targets in Europe by “tapping into the vast, unmet potential of seaweed cultivation”.

Seaweed absorbs nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon dioxide and produces oxygen, and has been identified as part of the solution to climate change and ocean acidification.

It produces a valuable biomass with a wide range of uses from pharmaceuticals to animal feed to fertilisers.

The project is sponsored by Amazon’s “Right Now” climate fundThe project is sponsored by Amazon’s “Right Now” climate fund

Simply Blue Group says it has a keen interest in multiple use of wind farms, and believes that efficient use of sea space is key to working with the oceans on climate change bringing more local communities and supply chains into the transition to a low carbon economy.

“At Simply Blue Group, we want our marine projects to make a tangible difference, which is why we’re delighted to join this consortium,”Simply Blue chief executive and co-founder, said.

Eef Brouwers, project Manager of the North Sea Farm 1 initiative, welcomed Simply Blue’s involvement and said its expertise in aquaculture and offshore wind "will be valuable in the successful execution of seaweed production in an offshore wind farm for the first time”.

“The North Sea Farm 1 project aims to help the seaweed industry in scaling-up within offshore wind farms and Simply Blue Group’s capabilities in both areas make them an ideal partner,” Brouwers said.

North Sea Farmers (NSF) is an independent and not-for-profit sector organisation for the European seaweed industry. It has a member base of over 100 companies, pioneering start-ups, research institutes, NGOs and other stakeholders.

For North Sea Farm 1, NSF will head up a consortium of partner organisations extending across Europe and involved in the entire seaweed production supply chain.

This includes researchers Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Deltares and Silvestrum Climate Associates, seaweed extract manufacturers Algaia and maritime contractors Van Oord.

Listen to an Afloat podcast on how Seaweed Farming Can Feed The Globe and Capture Carbon

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

Enterprise Ireland will host the third Enterprise Ireland Offshore Wind Forum in Croke Park next Tuesday (28 November), featuring an address from Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

This one-day knowledge and networking event will convene the Irish offshore wind supply chain with industry stakeholders from across the Irish, UK and global offshore wind markets.

The forum will include updates on both the Irish and UK offshore wind markets, with key contributions from project developers and industry experts.

It will assess the timelines, opportunities and challenges facing the offshore wind industry and will examine how the supply chain can help facilitate continued growth.

While the main focus is on Ireland and the UK, attendees will also receive updates from European markets, including France, Germany and Italy.

Attendees will also hear from EirGrid on their supply chain support needs, and the forum will take a look at the Irish technology and innovation that is working to advance floating offshore wind.

See the full forum agenda and register to attend via the Enterprise Ireland website.

Published in Power From the Sea

An indicative “road map” towards the State’s next offshore wind auction has been published by the Government.

The timeline relates to “ORESS 2.1”, which will take place off Ireland’s south coast and provide for up to 900MW of offshore wind.

Public consultation is already taking place on a draft Designated Maritime Area Plan (DMAP), within the marine waters off the south coast, aiming to “determine the appropriate location for the auction site off the south coast”.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan has welcomed the publication by the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) of long-range plans by its members, including Ireland, towards the development of offshore wind up to 2040.

The plans put forward “indicative auction timelines” for offshore wind auctions across all nine NSEC member states up to 2030, which includes their potential construction window up to 2040.

“The published database also includes Ireland’s indicative plans to meet its 2040 target of 20GW of offshore wind through competitive processes in the period up to 2030, with related construction taking place up to 2040,” Ryan’s department says.

In September 2022, at the NSEC Ministerial Meeting hosted in Dublin, nine NSEC countries agreed to reach at least 260GW of offshore wind energy by 2050.

“The target highlighted a significant increase in the collective ambition of NSECs members. It represented more than 85% of the EU-wide ambition of reaching 300GW by 2050, as set out in the EU strategy for offshore renewable energy,” the Department of Environment says.

The 2050 NSEC ambitions are complemented with intermediate targets of at least 76 GW by 2030 and 193 GW by 2040, of which Ireland will contribute 5GW and 20GW, respectively.

“The success of Ireland’s first offshore wind auction earlier this year highlighted Ireland’s enormous potential in offshore wind,” Ryan, who attended an NSEC meeting in The Hague, says.

“ORESS 2.1 will be another important milestone towards the delivery of our offshore wind ambitions and to reach our climate targets,” he said.

“Our ambitions in the area will be further supported by the publication next year of Ireland’s Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, and the Future Framework for post-2030 Offshore Wind, by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications,” he said.

The NSEC is a regional non-binding and voluntary EU cooperation framework which aims to advance development of offshore renewable energy in the geographical area of the North Seas, including the Irish and Celtic Seas.

The NSEC is based on a political declaration adopted in 2016, and members are Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the European Commission.

Indicative roadmap towards the State’s next offshore wind auction

Indicative roadmap towards the State’s next offshore wind auction

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

If Government targets on offshore wind are met by 2050, Ireland’s seas will have turbines stretching for at least twice the length of Ireland, according to calculations by a group of seafood organisations.

A submission to the Department of Environment by the group says that it welcomes the “plan-led” approach to future (phase 2) offshore renewable energy (ORE).

However, it says there is “deepening unease” within their sector about lack of consultation and “spatial squeeze”.

The group warns that Ireland cannot afford to repeat “planning mistakes of the past”, as occurred with the Corrib gas project in north Mayo.

Eight seafood organisations, representing catching, fish-farming, processing, and inshore sectors, made the submission to the department as part of public consultation over draft maritime area plans (DMAP) for the Irish south coast.

The draft “DMAP” outlining an area for ORE was published by the new Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA) in mid-July, and involves development of up to 900 megawatts ( MW ) offshore renewable capacity.

The current Government programme is to provide an overall 5 (five) gigawatts (GW) off the Irish coast by 2030.

The seafood group queries how much ORE development is planned in total off the south coast, given references to “further programmes”. It also asks whether ORE will be permitted within the footprint of marine protected areas (MPAs).

The group says it has calculated that the Government’s 2050 target of at least 37 GW of offshore wind will translate into a wind farm (or farms) covering an area of some 12,333 km2.

Assuming that the development is six nautical miles (11.1 km) wide, a single farm of 37GW would stretch, continuously, for some 1,110 km, the submission claims.

This would represent over twice the length of Ireland, which is approximately 500 km in length, it says.

The eight organisations welcome the principle of lower carbon emissions as part of a commitment to tackle climate change, and state that seafood is a “low carbon, healthy, and sustainable part of our food supply”.

However, they say that the current developer-led approach in phase one windfarm projects - which have already been given maritime consents and grid contracts off the east and west coasts - has the potential to result in “bitter planning hearings and mounting local resistance” due to a “poorly structured, often opaque approach”.

It calls for a risk-based assessment of potential impacts of ORE, which should include measuring impact of electromagnetic fields generated by inter-array cables; navigational hazards; insurance factors; and impact of noise on marine life during installation and operation.

The submission says that the seafood industry believes that “it is possible to reduce considerably the impact of offshore renewables on fishing if we opt for better planning, design and through the implementation/build process.

The State should “openly address the cumulative impact on fishing of all aspects of spatial squeeze” and incorporate “appropriate” mitigation measures to minimise impacts on fishing businesses and communities”.

Speaking at the launch of the joint submission, John Lynch, CEO of the Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation said “Ireland’s seafood industry recognises that an orderly development of offshore wind is critical to the future relationship between the seafood and offshore renewable industries. And that relationship is essential if the state is going to meet it targets for ORE development”.

Sean O’Donoghue, CEO of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, also welcomed the move to a state-managed and plan-led approach but added that the true test would be whether the Minister and Department for the Environment, Climate and Communicatons (DECC) accepted the recommendatons made in the seafood industry submission.

The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications said it “welcomes the submission by the representative organisations of the Irish seafood industry to the recent public consultation on the establishment by Government of the south coast DMAP for offshore renewable energy”.

“It highlights the strong support of Ireland’s fishing industry for the decision by Government that future offshore renewable energy developments in Ireland will take place according to a plan-led regime, through the establishment of DMAPs, including an initial South Coast DMAP,”it said.

“Crucially, the process to establish all DMAPs will provide comprehensive opportunities for public participation to ensure that future offshore renewable energy development takes place with the support of local communities and in consideration for other marine activities, including fishing. The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications is keenly aware of crucial role of fishing, aquaculture and seafood production in supporting economic activity and employment for many Irish coastal communities,” it said.

“The Department is therefore committed to ensuring that constructive and comprehensive engagement with fishers continues to take place throughout the process to establish all DMAPs, including the South Coast DMAP. Facilitating co-existence and shared marine space between different marine users, including fishers, with offshore renewables is a further key objective of the process to establish DMAPs,” it said.

It said that “beyond 2030, the location and size of all future offshore wind developments will be determined by the establishment of DMAPs, which will take place in cooperation with all key stakeholders, crucially including the fishing and seafood sector”.

“It is important to note that the size of offshore wind developments, including the number of offshore wind turbines, required to meet Ireland’s decarbonisation targets will also be determined by technological advances, which has in recent years led to a substantial increase in the volume of green energy that a single turbine can produce,” the department said.

“This has had a corresponding reduction on the marine space required to generate a given level of green power, and this trend is continuing with offshore wind farms currently under construction,” it said.

Signatories to the seafood group submission on the south coast DMAP include IFA Aquaculture, the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters’ Association, the Irish South and East Fish Producers’ Organisation, the Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation, the Irish Fish Producers’ Organisation, the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, the National Inshore Fishermen’s Association and the South East Regional Inshore Fisherman's Forum.

Published in Marine Planning
Tagged under

The British Labour Party has promised to fast-track infrastructure such as wind turbines, pylons and solar farms through the planning system and to protect developers from legal challenges.

The Labour Party has promised British voters it will pledge to protect significant infrastructure from “vexatious” legal action by offering clearer guidance to developers, and will offer local communities “sweeteners” such as cheaper energy for accepting wind turbines in their area.

As The Times newspaper reports, the Labour Party has said it will initiate a review of national planning statements to ensure that priorities like net zero and economic growth play a key role in decisions.

Shadow chancellor of the exchequer Rachel Reeves says cheaper energy will be offered as “sweeteners” to local communities closest to offshore and onshore renewable projects

She has promised that a Labour government will overhaul Britain’s “antiquated” planning system.

“If the Tories won’t build, if the Tories can’t build, then we will. Taking head-on the obstacles presented by our antiquated planning system,” she has said.

“We will set clear objectives, hardwiring national priorities like economic growth and net zero into the planning system, as is done in Germany,” her party has said.

Read more in The Times here (subscription required)

Published in Power From the Sea

Industry leaders and policy makers discussed the “pivotal role” that Ireland can play in the EU’s transition to a greener future during a conference this week in the European Parliament.

"Powering up Europe: Ireland's offshore wind potential” was the title of the event, streamed online, which Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly hosted in partnership with wind generating company SSE.

"The EU is currently undergoing an ambitious systemic change in how we produce, consume and store energy. Although this will mean fundamental changes for Ireland, we also have the opportunity to be at the very heart of Europe’s energy transition,” Kelly said.

"Ireland's extensive coastline and strong winds present us with a unique advantage in harnessing clean and renewable energy sources. By scaling up our offshore wind capacity, we can not only contribute substantially to our domestic energy needs but also play a pivotal role in helping the EU meet its ambitious climate and energy targets,” he said.

However, Kelly said there was also a need for expediency.

“ We still face major barriers to getting projects to the generation phase, most notably the extensive time taken for projects to get approved. This must be addressed immediately if we are to stay on track. This means simply more skilled personnel and more resources to planning authorities so that we can reduce the unnecessary significant delays,” he said.

SSE chief executive officer Alistair Phillips-Davies said the discussion in the European Parliament highlighted that “with the right policies and infrastructure in place delivered through cooperation across the EU and through the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) initiative, Ireland can become an offshore wind hub, powering Europe’s energy and climate goals”.

Speakers at the event included Ambassador Barbara Cullinane – Ireland; Stefano Grassi – Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Simson; SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies; Sonya Twohig – Secretary General ENTSO-E; and Kristian Ruby – Secretary General Eurelectric.

The conference can be viewed below

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

Communities along the coast of East Antrim and North Down in Northern Ireland will have the opportunity to learn about proposals for the installation of floating wind turbines in that part of the Irish Sea, commonly known as the North Channel.

There will be local exhibitions on 31st May in Carnlough, 1st June in the Gobbins Centre, Islandmagee and 2nd June in Bangor.

As Afloat reported previously, meetings with fishing communities in Portavogie, Bangor and Larne have already occurred.

North Channel Wind says it is engaging with local communities to share information and gather feedback.

Fiona Stevens, Stakeholder Manager at North Channel Wind says the wind farms off the coasts of Antrim and North Down could be a game changer for Northern Ireland, bringing much improved energy security and the potential for Northern Ireland to become a net exporter of clean electricity.   “Offshore wind capacity is critical to NI’s target of reaching 80% renewable electricity by 2030 and zero net emissions targets,” says Mrs Stevens. “Department for Economy figures released last month show that Northern Ireland generated 51% of all electricity through renewables in 2022, so we are heading in the right direction, but still have a long way to go.”   

The North Channel Wind project has the potential to generate electricity equivalent to around 82% of NI’s total electricity consumption, based on 2022 figures. The project could potentially save over 2.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year compared to the equivalent generation by non-renewables, the equivalent of taking over 1.7 million cars off the road.

“There is a collective understanding at policy level that the climate and biodiversity emergency is upon us and that we must move to embrace new forms of clean electricity generation. One solution is to install and operate floating turbines in the North Channel,” she says, “which we aim to progress with the support of stakeholders through consultation and minimising the impact of the array on animals and natural habitats.   We are proposing wind farms on two sites: North Channel Wind 1 is off the coast of east Antrim, and North Channel Wind 2 is off Antrim's south-east coast and County Down's northeast coast”.

North Channel Wind is engaging with Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy, (DfE) Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in relation to the consents required.   

The project is backed marine engineering and offshore energy specialist SBM Offshore. The project would create significant local supply chain opportunities, including assembling the required steel floating devices, logistics, assembly, marine services, and construction. A community benefit fund will likely be linked to the project in the longer term.     

Mrs Stevens says: “We are in discussions with the Northern Ireland government, the grid operator SONI, the energy regulator UREGNI and The Crown Estate. Significantly, we have completed our site characterisation and submitted a scoping document to the Department of Environment and Agriculture (DAERA) in early May. This is the first step in applying for a marine licence to build offshore infrastructure. The scoping report will be available as part of the public consultation, and we welcome feedback.”

North Channel Wind information tells that the potential installed capacity of the combined wind farms is 1420 MW , and the total potential electricity generation is equivalent to approximately 82% of NI’s electricity consumption based on 2022 consumption figures. The potential carbon reduction is around 2.6 million tonnes per annum.

This series of community consultations is planned as follows:

  • 2pm – 8pm, 31 May: Glenlough Community Centre, Carnlough on the Antrim Coast north of Glenarm.
  • 2pm – 8pm, 1 June: The Gobbins Visitor Centre, Islandmagee on the Antrim Coast between Larne and Whitehead.
  • 2pm – 8pm, 2 June: Hamilton Road Community Hub, Bangor on the north Down coast.

More information on North Channel Wind

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

Concerns about whether Ireland has the port capacity to support the development of offshore renewable energy will be debated at an Oireachtas committee today (Tues, May 16).

The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action will hear from representatives of the Port of Cork, Shannon Foynes Port Company and Rosslare Europort.

Committee Cathaoirleach and Green Party TD Brian Leddin said that the Programme for Government commits Ireland to install five gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 to achieve 80 per cent of electricity generation from renewable energy.

“ However, to ensure this is effective and efficient, we require our ports to have the capacity to utilise this renewable power,” Leddin said.

“The committee looks forward to hearing from the operators of Cork, Shannon-Foynes and Rosslare ports about their plans for developing the capacity to exploit the energy that will be generated by windfarms proposed off Ireland’s south and west coasts,” he said.

A study published last September by Wind Energy Ireland said that Belfast was the only port on the island of Ireland with the necessary infrastructure to construct offshore wind farms.

The study by Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions examined 13 ports and harbours.

The joint committee has 14 members, nine TDs and five senators. It will meet in Committee Room 3 at 11 am today Tues, and can be viewed live on Oireachtas TV.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney has announced plans to develop a National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind which will set out how Ireland can maximise the economic opportunity arising from the production of offshore wind energy (OWE).

Ireland’s offshore energy programme includes a target to deliver 5GW of OWE by 2030 and a further 2GW of floating OWE to be in development by 2030. The total target for OWE rises to at least 37GW by 2050. This forms part of the Government’s target to provide 80% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

In order to deliver the enterprise opportunities associated with these targets, the Government says a collaborative approach between State and industry is needed.

The National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind will be developed in consultation with the relevant Government departments, agencies and industry, with the objective of ensuring that Ireland fully captures the value of both the supply chain to deliver an OWE sector at scale and the routes to market for this renewable energy.

It is expected that the National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind will be published in the first quarter of 2024 and complement the suite of upcoming government policies led by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications through the Offshore Wind Delivery Taskforce.

Announcing the plan, Minister Coveney said: “The impact of recent geopolitical events on the European energy market has accelerated our decarbonisation ambitions and added real urgency to transitioning to clean, renewable energy.

“Ireland has an internationally recognised significant offshore wind resource which we are now beginning to develop. It is essential to ensure that our enterprise sector is ready to contribute to the delivery of offshore wind, while also maximising the economic benefit which will arise from the availability of abundant clean, renewable energy.”

The minister said the announcement “is an important step towards developing new, regionally dispersed economic opportunities based on offshore wind, and I very much look forward to working with colleagues across Government and industry over the coming months as we develop an industrial strategy that will deliver real long-term benefits to both the economy and society”.

Welcoming the strategy, Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said: “Developing an offshore wind sector requires a whole-of-economy mobilisation, and an industrial strategy will provide a clear signal to international markets that across government, and indeed across Ireland; we are serious about this opportunity.”

Minister Coveney made the announcement on the eve of EirGrid’s auction for offshore wind project contracts this past week.

Codling Wind Park and three other projects were successful in this first auction of its kind in Ireland and all are expected to pursue their respective planning approvals.

Published in Power From the Sea

The ESB says it “remains committed” to the Oriel Wind Farm project after it was unsuccessful in yesterday’s offshore wind energy auction, as RTÉ News reports.

The proposed wind power array in Dundalk Bay — a partnership between the ESB and Belgian green energy supplier Parkwind — missed out on one of the four contracts awarded to offshore wind projects around the country in the State’s first such auction.

In a statement on Friday (12 May), the ESB said that “while the Oriel project was not awarded a contract in this auction round, Parkwind and ESB believe that it is a well-positioned project and will ultimately play its part in generating the renewable electricity we need. We will continue to progress the project and are actively investigating alternative routes to market.”

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan confirmed on this morning’s edition of RTÉ Radio 1’s Today programme that there will be “a second auction later this year and we will go on the same next year”.

Meanwhile, environmentalists have urged that Ireland must be “wise”, despite the huge potential of green offshore energy, and maintain an “open transparency approach” when it comes to monitoring the status of marine wildlife around such sites.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea
Page 1 of 4

Marine Institute Research Vessel Tom Crean

Ireland’s new marine research vessel will be named the RV Tom Crean after the renowned County Kerry seaman and explorer who undertook three major groundbreaking expeditions to the Antarctic in the early years of the 20th Century which sought to increase scientific knowledge and to explore unreached areas of the world, at that time.

Ireland's new multi-purpose marine research vessel RV Tom Crean, was delivered in July 2022 and will be used by the Marine Institute and other State agencies and universities to undertake fisheries research, oceanographic and environmental research, seabed mapping surveys; as well as maintaining and deploying weather buoys, observational infrastructure and Remotely Operated Vehicles.

The RV Tom Crean will also enable the Marine Institute to continue to lead and support high-quality scientific surveys that contribute to Ireland's position as a leader in marine science. The research vessel is a modern, multipurpose, silent vessel (designed to meet the stringent criteria of the ICES 209 noise standard for fisheries research), capable of operating in the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Tom Crean is able to go to sea for at least 21 days at a time and is designed to operate in harsh sea conditions.

RV Tom Crean Specification Overview

  • Length Overall: 52.8 m
  • Beam 14m
  • Draft 5.2M 

Power

  • Main Propulsion Motor 2000 kw
  • Bow Thruster 780 kw
  • Tunnel thruster 400 kw

Other

  • Endurance  21 Days
  • Range of 8,000 nautical miles
  • DP1 Dynamic Positioning
  • Capacity for 3 x 20ft Containers

Irish Marine Research activities

The new state-of-the-art multi-purpose marine research vessel will carry out a wide range of marine research activities, including vital fisheries, climate change-related research, seabed mapping and oceanography.

The new 52.8-metre modern research vessel, which will replace the 31-metre RV Celtic Voyager, has been commissioned with funding provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine approved by the Government of Ireland.

According to Aodhán FitzGerald, Research Vessel Manager of the MI, the RV Tom Crean will feature an articulated boom crane aft (6t@ 10m, 3T@ 15m), located on the aft-gantry. This will be largely used for loading science equipment and net and equipment handling offshore.

Mounted at the stern is a 10T A-frame aft which can articulate through 170 degrees which are for deploying and recovering large science equipment such as a remotely operated vehicle (ROV’s), towed sleds and for fishing operations.

In addition the fitting of an 8 Ton starboard side T Frame for deploying grabs and corers to 4000m which is the same depth applicable to when the vessel is heaving but is compensated by a CTD system consisting of a winch and frame during such operations.

The vessel will have the regulation MOB boat on a dedicated davit and the facility to carry a 6.5m Rigid Inflatable tender on the port side.

Also at the aft deck is where the 'Holland 1' Work class ROV and the University of Limericks 'Etain' sub-Atlantic ROV will be positioned. In addition up to 3 x 20’ (TEU) containers can be carried.

The newbuild has been engineered to endure increasing harsher conditions and the punishing weather systems encountered in the North-East Atlantic where deployments of RV Tom Crean on surveys spent up to 21 days duration.

In addition, RV Tom Crean will be able to operate in an ultra silent-mode, which is crucial to meet the stringent criteria of the ICES 209 noise standard for fisheries research purposes.

The classification of the newbuild as been appointed to Lloyds and below is a list of the main capabilities and duties to be tasked by RV Tom Crean:

  • Oceanographic surveys, incl. CTD water sampling
  • Fishery research operations
  • Acoustic research operations
  • Environmental research and sampling operation incl. coring
  • ROV and AUV/ASV Surveys
  • Buoy/Mooring operations