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On the Manx coast a cargo ship which had ran aground along the island's northern coast has been successfully refloated.

The Ceg Orbit, according to Manx Radio, was on a passage in the Irish Sea from Liverpool to Belfast with 1,200 tons of wheat, when it went ran aground at Cranstal during the early hours of Thursday morning.

In what was the second attempt to free the vessel, the Laxey Towing Company tug Wendy Ann assisted by the Liverpool tug CT Vector successfully freed the coaster during high-tide overnight.

The coaster was towed into Douglas Harbour's South Quay this morning where diving teams will survey for any damage caused by the grounding.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Attempts to recover a 32–foot that went aground in Schul, West Cork during Storm Ophelia get underway this morning.  

A recovery team is expected to slide the yacht down the rocks and back into the water using inflated rubber bags.

Published in West Cork
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#Astrid - The Irish Times reports that marine salvage experts met on Friday with insurers of the Dutch tall ship Astrid to determine a wreck removal plan for the sunken vessel.

The sail training ship, which was taking part in The Gathering Cruise around Ireland, capsized after hitting rocks inside the Sovereign Islands near Kinsale in Co Cork on the afternoon of Wednesday 24 July.

All 30 crew on board - including a number of teenage sail trainees - were brought to safety by RNLI lifeboats from Kinsale and Courtmacsherry in a major rescue operation.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, investigations got under way last Thursday 25 July to determine what caused the 42-metre brig to run aground at the mouth of Oysterhaven harbour.

Despite strong winds and rough seas at the time of her foundering, the Astrid remains largely intact apart from rips along the hull.

And according to expert salvage diver Colm Harrington, the 95-year-old ship will be salvageable - using slings to lift the vessel from the water.

However, the severity of the damage sustained means that it's unlikely the Astrid will be restored to her former glory.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Tall Ships

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI launched shortly before 7pm yesterday evening (Thursday 27 June) to assist an 11m yacht with one person on board that had run aground north of Rush Harbour.

The Dublin branch of the Irish Coast Guard requested Skerries RNLI to launch after two members of the public, who had been out kayaking, reported that the yacht was in difficulty.



Weather conditions at the time were a force one to two wind with calm seas.

The lifeboat, helmed by Willie Boylan with crew members Conor Walsh, Karl Duff and Peter Kennedy on board, was on scene in less than 10 minutes. However, by that time the yacht was completely aground above the tide line.



Two volunteer crew members were put ashore to assess the casualty vessel. There was only one person on board and he was not in any immediate danger. There also appeared to be no significant damage to the hull of the boat.

The crew members laid out an anchor from the vessel to ensure that it did not drift onto the nearby rocks when it began to float again. Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 was also on scene briefly to ensure that no assistance was required.



With the tide still falling, the decision was taken for the lifeboat to return later after the tide had turned to ensure that the yacht floated safely and to assist in helping it safely back to a harbour.

At 10.20pm the volunteer crew launched the lifeboat again to attend to the yacht, this time with Conor Walsh at the helm and Karl Duff, Eoin Grimes and Emma Wilson as crew, bringing a salvage pump with them.

One of the crew was put ashore to check on the casualty again and to secure a tow line to the boat. As the tide rose, the lifeboat kept the tension on the tow to prevent the yacht being pushed further on to the rocks.

At 11.45pm the yacht was refloated and guided back to Skerries Harbour with the lifeboat leading the way to help navigate around the islands safely in the dark.



Speaking after, Skerries RNLI lifeboat operations manager Niall McGrotty said: "There didn’t appear to be much damage and the conditions were calm. However, it was a large boat with a lot of equipment on board, so there were some concerns around whether it would refloat successfully. Thankfully, it did and everyone made it home safe and sound."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#NEWS UPDATE - The body of the last missing crewmember of the stricken Tit Bonhomme was recovered in Glandore Bay in West Cork on Friday, The Irish Times reports.

The remains of 23-year-old Egyptian national Saied Ali Edlin were discovered floating on the surface to the west of the bay off Long Point, almost a mile from the wreck site and close to a month after the tragedy occurred.

It also comes just two days after the body of skipper Michael Hayes was found close to the mouth of the harbour, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The fishing vessel Tit Bonhomme ran aground in rough seas near Adam's Rock, at the mouth of Glandore Harbour, on Sunday 15 January.

Five of the six-person crew - Eldin, Hayes, Attea Shaban (26), Kevin Kershaw (21) and Wael Mohammed (35) - lost their lives when the boat went down.

Only 43-year-old Abdul Mohammed, the brother of Wael Mohammed, survived the sinking after he was able to reach the shore.

"Some of those lost were Egyptian, some were Irish but if you fish the sea, you’re all part of the same family," commented harbour master John Minihane. "We’re all the same, we’re one fishing family and we brought them home.”

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#CRUISE LINERS - Cruise ship passengers will be given a safety briefing before leaving port under new industry rules drawn up in the wake of the Costa Concordia incident, The Guardian reports.

Three organisations representing international cruise lines have agreed that the 'muster drill' - which is currently conducted within 24 hours of setting sail as per maritime law - must now be held before departure from any port.

The move comes after reports that hundreds of passengers who had boarded the stricken vessel hours before it ran aground off the western Italian coast had not yet had any kind of safety instruction.

Muster drills, whereby passengers are shown how to put on lifejackets and directed to exits, are already common practice in the industry.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, an Irish couple were among thousands rescued from the Costa Concordia after the incident on Friday 13 January. At least 32 people are believed to have died in the disaster, with 15 recorded passengers still missing.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners

#NEWS UPDATE - RTÉ News reports that a body found in Glandore Harbour today is that of Tit Bonhomme skipper Michael Hayes.

The body of the 52-year-old from Helvick Head in Co Waterford, who went missing more than three weeks ago, was discovered floating close to the mouth of the harbour around lunchtime by his brother, Garda Chief Spt Tom Hayes, according to The Irish Times.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the search operation in Glandore is being wound down this week after the remains of three of the five missing crew were recovered. Egyptian crewman Said Mohammed (23) - also known as Saied Ali Eldin - is still missing.

The fishing vessel Tit Bonhomme ran aground and went down in rough seas near Adam's Rock, at the mouth of Glandore Harbour, on Sunday 15 January.

Only one crewmember, 43-year-old Abdul Mohammed, is confirmed alive after he was able to reach the shore.

Published in News Update

#NEWS UPDATE - The search for two fishermen still missing after their boat went down off West Cork nearly three weeks ago will be wound down next week, The Irish Times reports.

Search teams have been combing the area for any trace of Michael Hayes (35), skipper of the Tit Bonhomme, and crewman Said Mohammed (23) after the fishing vessel ran aground in rough seas near Adam's Rock, at the mouth of Glandore Harbour, on Sunday 15 January.

The bodies of Kevin Kershaw (21), Attia Shaban (26) and Wael Mohammed (35) were recovered in the days and weeks following the tragedy. Only one of the six-person crew - 43-year-old Abdul Mohammed – is confirmed to have survived.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, last weekend saw more than 90 divers embark on an extensive search of the wreck site and the Glandore bay area, with hundreds more volunteers searching the coastline and on land.

Published in News Update

#COASTGUARD - Representaives of Italy's coastguard will give an account of its handling of the Costa Concordia tragedy at an international conference in Dublin next month, The Irish Times reports.

The Italian coastguard has been invited to deliver the keynote address at Search and Rescue 2012, which is being hosted in Ireland for the first time.

It is expected that this address will include a detailed account of the sinking of the cruise liner Costa Concordia last month.

At least 17 people have died and 12 are still missing after the ship ran aground on the western Italian coast. One Irish couple were among the thousands rescued from the stricken vessel.

Meanwhile, attendees at the conference - which is being hosted in the year of Ireland's charing of the EU coastguard network - will also witness demonstrations of the Irish Coast Guard's rescue helicopter fleet at Weston Airport in Leixlip.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds has been charged with preparing the grounds for a permanent secretariat to be run by EU coastguard officers.

Published in Coastguard

#NEWS UPDATE - The search is set to resume again this morning for the three fishermen not yet recovered after their trawler sank off West Cork last Sunday.

Skipper Michael Hayes and Egyptian crewmen Saied Ali Eldin and Wael Mohammed have been missing since the fishing vessel Tit Bonhomme ran aground and went down in rough seas near Adam's Rock, at the mouth of Glandore Harbour.

Only one of the six-person crew, 43-year-old Abdul Mohammed, is confirmed alive after he was able to reach the shore immediately following the incident.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Garda divers retrieved the body of Attia Shaban (26) on Thursday morning, followed in the afternoon by that of Kevin Kershaw (21).

Yesterday the search was expanded to cover an 18-mile radius after a dive at the wreck site was unsuccessful, according to The Irish Times.

Divers from the Garda and Naval Service will continue to focus on the wreck today, helped by favourable weather conditions, while volunteers join in the wider search of the coastline.

It emerged on Friday that that boat's aluminium wheelhouse sheared off in the rough seas that followed for three days after it ran aground.

RTÉ News has video of the search operation in progress HERE.

Published in News Update
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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