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Displaying items by tag: Dredging

One of the country’s leading marinas will become unusable for keelboats unless urgent action is taken to address increasing silting in the harbour area writes David Forsythe in West Cork

Kinsale-based Fine Gael councillor Kevin Murphy told the recent meeting of Cork County Council’s Western Division that the issue was among the most serious he had ever had to bring to the attention of the council.

“The story is that Kinsale Harbour itself has severe silting at the yacht marina and around pier head itself. A substantial number of the keelboats are bottoming out now. This is a very serious issue and a very expensive one to sort out because there is a substantial dredging to be done,” he said.

Matthias Hellstern, Commodore of the Kinsale Yacht Club said that the issue had become much more serious in the last few years and the rate of silting in Kinsale Harbour seemed to be increasing.
“During Covid there was obviously a lot less activity at the marina and in the harbour in general because of the restrictions. It has been happening over a number of years but seems to be getting much worse now. It is something that we really need to address urgently,” he said.

Matthias Hellstern, Commodore of the Kinsale Yacht ClubMatthias Hellstern, Commodore of the Kinsale Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

The 200 berth marina brings in some 3,500 visiting boat nights to the town every year contributing an estimated €525,000 to the local economy according to the yacht club’s own estimates. A non-profit organisation run by volunteers, it is one of only three yacht clubs in the country that owns its own marina, the others being Howth Yacht Club and the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven.
“We have visitors coming from France, the UK, Spain, Germany, the USA and all around Ireland,” said Matthias Hellstern, “and we run also run national and international sailing championships which we could not do without the marina facility.”

The KYC is due to host the upcoming Squib UK National Championships, Dragon Gold Cup and also hosts the biennial Sovereign’s Cup, but silting is already causing problems for events in Kinsale.
“We hosted the April Spring series recently and we were having yachts running aground at low tide,” said Matthias, “they simply couldn’t get out of the marina and obviously that’s a serious problem.”
Mr Hellstern said that already about 25% of the marina was not useable for keelboats at low tide.

Marina pontoons at Kinsale Harbour A KYC Marina pontoon at Kinsale Harbour Photo: David Forsythe

“At the moment we can move things around a bit. The berths furthest from the channel are most affected so we can put power boats, boats without keels in there for the time being but as the silting gets worse more and more of the marina will be affected.”

Cllr Kevin Murphy said that silting was affecting other users of the harbour as well across leisure, fishing and commercial sectors.

“We have to at all times ensure Kinsale continues being useable for leisure and also commercial and fishing, it’s all three. The Kinsale Yacht Club will help out with a survey that needs to be done on the silting and I would expect that the county council will also chip in if we can to help out in their endeavours to get that done as soon as possible.”

The 200 berth Kinsale Yacht Club marina(Above and below) The 200 berth Kinsale Yacht Club marina brings in some 3,500 visiting boat nights to the town every year contributing an estimated €525,000 to the local economy Photos: Bob Bateman

The 200 berth Kinsale Yacht Club marina

Cllr Murphy said that he would put down a notice of motion at the next municipal district meeting to have all of the stakeholders attend a meeting at Kinsale Yacht Club, “to make sure this is addressed as soon as possible”.

Responding to Cllr Murphy, Kevin Morey, Director of Water Services at Cork County Council said, “We will engage just to take stock and see what is the issue there. From your description, it sounds like it might be quite a significant one and we are aware from other locations that that could bring us into quite complex and protracted processes. Let’s start looking first and take stock so we’ll get back to you on that and arrange some kind of assessment on site.”

Published in Kinsale

Environmental campaigners have hit out at a Stormont decision to approve sand dredging in Lough Neagh, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Sand dredging has been practiced in Lough Neagh since the 1930s, with no permission needed until after the lough was designated as a Special Protection Area for wildlife in 1999.

Most recently the practice has been subject of a years-long legal battle, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, with Friends of the Earth claiming that as much as 1.5 million tonnes of sand are removed from the lough each year.

The final say on the matter was left to Northern Ireland’s Department of Infrastructure, whose minister Nichola Mallon signed off on the approval and said the decision was a “finely balanced” one “where I had to weigh up the various benefits with the potential for harm to the designation features of the lough”.

Among those criticising the move was Green Party NI leader Clare Bailey.

She said that sand dredging has “a devastating impact on the entire ecosystem of the lough”, and claimed the situation underscored the notion that “Northern Ireland is disintegrating into an environmental wasteland”.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Dredging
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The Dublin Port Company has given notice that maintenance dredging will take place between Alexandra Basin and the Dublin Bay Buoy from tomorrow, Thursday 10 September.

Four weeks of dredging works are scheduled in the fairway and berth pockets from the buoy to a line drawn due south of berth OB1 and including Alexandra Basin East.

Three vessels will be involved in the dredging works: the trailing suction hopper dredger Shoalway; the survey vessel Smit Neyland; and Norma, a bed-levelling plough.

The three craft will maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 12 and show the required lights and shapes.

All other vessels should pass at slow speed and make due allowance for their operations and restricted manoeuvrability.

Published in Dredging
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The Port of Cork reminds mariners that maintenance dredging will be taking place in Cork Harbour on all main shipping channels and berths from this Wednesday 19 August.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the dredging campaign by the TSHD Taccola will progress 24 hours a day until late September.

It follows a prior survey conducted last week, and bed levelling operations which began yesterday, Sunday 16 August.

Mariners are requested to navigate with caution when in the vicinity of the work craft, to pass by as wide a margin as possible and proceed with minimum wash and speed.

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A maintenance dredging campaign has begun in recent days at the Port of Waterford where activities will involve the waters of Duncannon Bar, Cheekpoint, and at the port's main terminal at Belview, writes Jehan Ashmore

Prior to the operations at the south-east port, the Cypriot flagged Shoalway, a trailing suction hopper dredger had been carrying out operations for the Dublin Port Company. Shoalway sailed from the capital to arrive on the Waterford Estuary on Sunday. 

According to the Port of Waterford (click to consult campaign notice here), the dredger will dispose spoil at an approved site south west of Hook Head, Co. Wexford. Dredging will be followed by a bed levelling campaign by the vessels, Fastnet Sound and or the Glenesk.

Afloat adds that Irish Dredging which is a subsidiary of Royal Boskalis Westminster nv, the world’s largest dredging group, was given the contract from the Port of Waterford. The extensive fleet of the Dutch group provides Irish Dredging access to the use a of wide range of vessels for projects around the Irish coast.

Further tracking of the Shoalway since introduction on the Waterford Estaury has seen the 90m long dredger kept busy between Cheekpoint to the spoiling grounds out to sea.

The campaign according to the Port of Waterford is expected to last approximately 24 days.

Published in Dredging

#Irishports - The Port of Waterford have issued a Marine Notice in recent days to advise all ship owners, shipmasters, agents, fishing vessels, pleasure craft users, seafarers and fishery organisations of a dredging campaign, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The dredging operation along Waterford Estuary began in mid-March and according to the south-east multi-modal Port the campaign will continue until around 6 April.

Carrying out these works is the task of trailing suction hopper dredger Freeway which will conduct dredging activities in the vicinity of Belview Port. The lo-lo facility located downriver of Waterford City is the main port along the estuary.

Freeway is operated by UK firm, Royal Boskalis Westminster based in Hampshire. They are no strangers to these waters having been contracted previously by the port and more recently from the Dublin Port Company. Due to berth capacity constraints the 92m dredger during December had to dock in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

On this occasion, Freeway's role on Waterford Estuary will include duties carried off Cheekpoint and at the Duncannon Bar located further downriver and beyond where the Passage East ferry links to Ballyhack.

Disposal material from Freeway will take place at an approved site south west of Hook Head. Following such work a bed-levelling campaign will be assigned to the Waterford City based catamaran craft Fastnet Sound.

Published in Dredging

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has updated local Fingal councillors on its proposals for the dredging of Howth Harbour.

On his Facebook page, Cllr Cian O’Callaghan says the meeting with the department and the Howth Harbour Master on Wednesday (6 March) detailed a plan to dredge five key areas of the harbour, namely:

  • The fishing trawler basin between the West Pier and Middle Pier
  • The approach channel at the mouth of the harbour
  • The marina used by Howth Yacht Club
  • The approach channel to the marina
  • The outer moorings area which is used by the Howth Sailing and Boat Club

This would result in the extraction of 225,000 cubic metres of silt, the equivalent of up to 30,000 lorry loads, says Cllr O’Callaghan.

The detailed plan follows testing of material extracted from the harbour which confirms that while is it contaminated by general harbour activity, it is not considered hazardous.

It is being proposed that the spoil be treated and used to create a 100-metre-wide infill area along the west side of the present West Pier. Plans for the use of this new space have not yet been decided but it is expected there will be a relevant public consultation by year’s end.

Four months ago the tender period closed for engineering services related to these long-awaited dreading works in the North Co Dublin harbour.

Published in Dredging
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Monday 12 November is the final date for receipt of tenders for engineering services for the long-awaited dredging of Howth Harbour.

Howth Yacht Club Commodore Joe McPeake has confirmed the date after contact with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

It is believed that consultants will be appointed within two weeks of tender closing date, and that they will engage with harbour stakeholders early in the new year to discuss issues such as minimising disruption to harbour operations, including the moorings and marina.

While no clear timeframe is available as yet, Commodore McPeake expects the initial stage towards securing licensing and planning permission to take 12 to 15 months, pending any potential challenges.

Following that, dredging works could take up to 18 months to complete, including works at both piers in Howth.

“As soon as the engineers have been appointed we will seek to meet with them to scope out their plan to methodology and review its implications for us,” said Commodore McPeake, who expects to further update Howth Yacht Club members in February.

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#Ports&Shipping - The second largest port in Northern Ireland, Warrenpoint Port, is inviting members of the public and other key stakeholders to comment on proposed changes to how dredged material from the harbour is dealt with.

The Co. Down port currently carries out a major dredging programme every two to five years with material disposed of in the Irish Sea.

However, new plans have been put forward to carry out dredging on a more regular but smaller scale, with material placed at a site in the mouth of Carlingford Lough between Cranfield Point and Greencastle.

Clare Guinness, CEO, Warrenpoint Port said: “In order for the Port to continue to support maritime trade successfully, it must ensure a sufficient water depth is maintained to allow for the safe berthing of vessels, which it does through dredging.

“In anticipation of a rise in trade over the coming years, and to ensure the Port continues to thrive as an economic driver to the local region, a new site for the disposal of dredged material is being proposed within the mouth of Carlingford Lough.

“This is also in line with current thinking that dredged material should be deposited as close as possible to source.

“In our role as a custodian of the marine environment, we want to hear the views of all stakeholders, including members of the public, before any plans are put into action.”

A number of surveys, studies and assessments will be undertaken to determine the suitability of the location between Cranfield Point and Greencastle, including marine ecology and sediment surveys, geophysical surveys, and hydrodynamic and sediment transport modelling.

A public drop-in consultation event will take place at Warrenpoint Town Hall on Wednesday 19th September from 4pm to 7pm. There will be an opportunity to discuss the proposed disposal site and the environmental assessment process with Port staff and its consultants Royal HaskoningDHV.

Published in Dredging

#DublinBay - The dumping of sewage sludge in deeper waters beyond the Kish Bank “might well serve as a model” for the current dredging of Dublin Port.

In a letter to The Irish Times earlier this week, Cormac F Lowth, a diver and member of the Maritime Institute of Ireland, responds to the claims of Dublin Port Company’s chief regarding the effects of recent dredging operations.

Dublin Port CEO Eamonn O’Reilly defended the dredging operations in the port, citing “the science available to measure its impact” in response to discontent among diving groups over the state of the water in Dublin Bay.

Divers concerned that the dredging is to blame for murky waters, which have seen all planned dives cancelled due to poor visibility, have however “ignored the obvious” and might now look further east for a potential answer to a question that’s left the bay’s crabs and lobsters with ‘an overcoat of silt on their backs’.

Lowth explains that dredging spoil such as that dumped at the Burford Bank at the edge of Dublin Bay contains estuarine mud and fluvial silt that “is not going to remain in toto on the top of this bank”.

“A glance at a tidal atlas for Dublin Bay is enough to convince one that much of anything that gets dumped near the mouth of the bay will get washed back in by the strong tidal currents,” writes Lowth. “This can surely be described as the maritime equivalent of defecating on your own doorstep.”

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

This article was updated on Thursday 17 May to correct an inadvertent misrepresentation of Cormac F Lowth's comments.

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Sharks in Irish waters

Irish waters are home to 71 species of shark, skates and rays, 58 of which have been studied in detail and listed on the Ireland Red List of Cartilaginous fish. Irish sharks range from small Sleeper sharks, Dogfish and Catsharks, to larger species like Frilled, Mackerel and Cow sharks, all the way to the second largest shark in the world, the Basking shark. 

Irish waters provide a refuge for an array of shark species. Tralee Bay, Co. Kerry provides a habitat for several rare and endangered sharks and their relatives, including the migratory tope shark, angel shark and undulate ray. This area is also the last European refuge for the extremely rare white skate. Through a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) project, Marine Institute scientists have been working with fishermen to assess the distribution, diversity, and monthly relative abundance of skates and rays in Tralee, Brandon and Dingle Bays.

“These areas off the southwest coast of Ireland are important internationally as they hold some of the last remaining refuges for angel shark and white skate,” said Dr Maurice Clarke of the Marine Institute. “This EMFF project has provided data confirming the critically endangered status of some species and provides up-to-date information for the development of fishery measures to eliminate by-catch.” 

Irish waters are also home to the Black Mouthed Catshark, Galeus melastomus, one of Ireland’s smallest shark species which can be found in the deep sea along the continental shelf. In 2018, Irish scientists discovered a very rare shark-nursery 200 nautical miles off the west coast by the Marine Institute’s ROV Holland 1 on a shelf sloping to 750 metres deep. 

There are two ways that sharks are born, either as live young or from egg casings. In the ‘case’ of Black Mouthed Catsharks, the nursery discovered in 2018, was notable by the abundance of egg casings or ‘mermaid’s purses’. Many sharks, rays and skate lay eggs, the cases of which often wash ashore. If you find an egg casing along the seashore, take a photo for Purse Search Ireland, a citizen science project focusing on monitoring the shark, ray and skate species around Ireland.

Another species also found by Irish scientists using the ROV Holland 1 in 2018 was a very rare type of dogfish, the Sail Fin Rough Shark, Oxynotus paradoxus. These sharks are named after their long fins which resemble the trailing sails of a boat, and live in the deep sea in waters up to 750m deep. Like all sharks, skates and rays, they have no bones. Their skeleton is composed of cartilage, much like what our noses and ears are made from! This material is much more flexible and lighter than bone which is perfect for these animals living without the weight of gravity.

Throughout history sharks have been portrayed as the monsters of the sea, a concept that science is continuously debunking. Basking sharks were named in 1765 as Cetorhinus maximus, roughly translated to the ‘big-nosed sea monster’. Basking sharks are filter feeders, often swimming with their mouths agape, they filter plankton from the water.

They are very slow moving and like to bask in the sun in shallow water and are often seen in Irish waters around Spring and early Summer. To help understand the migration of these animals to be better able to understand and conserve these species, the Irish Basking Shark Group have tagged and mapped their travels.

Remarkably, many sharks like the Angel Shark, Squatina squatina have the ability to sense electricity. They do this via small pores in their skin called the ‘Ampullae of Lorenzini’ which are able to detect the tiny electrical impulses of a fish breathing, moving or even its heartbeat from distances of over a kilometre! Angel sharks, often referred to as Monkfish have a distinctively angelic shape, with flattened, large fins appearing like the wings of an angel. They live on the seafloor in the coastal waters of Ireland and much like a cat are nocturnal, primarily active at night.

The intricate complexity of shark adaptations is particularly noticeable in the texture of their skin. Composed of miniscule, perfectly shaped overlapping scales, the skin of shark provides them with protection. Often shark scales have been compared to teeth due to their hard enamel structure. They are strong, but also due to their intricate shape, these scales reduce drag and allow water to glide past them so that the shark can swim more effortlessly and silently. This natural flawless design has been used as inspiration for new neoprene fabric designs to help swimmers glide through the water. Although all sharks have this feature, the Leafscale Gulper Shark, Centrophorus squamosus, found in Ireland are specifically named due to the ornate leaf-shape of their scales.

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