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#RNLI - Three RNLI lifeboats from Wicklow and Arklow launched after 5am on Tuesday morning (23 February) to assist a grounded fishing vessel with seven people onboard.

The volunteer lifeboat crews quickly located the 20m fishing boat, which had run aground on the Wolf Rock near the beach at Brittas Bay.

Weather conditions in the area at the time were described as blowing north-easterly with Force 4-5 winds and rough seas.

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crews observed that no one was in immediate danger. No leaks or damage were found during an inspection of the hull.

Towlines were quickly established between the casualty vessel using Wicklow RNLI’s inshore lifeboat. The vessel was re-floated by the all-weather lifeboats from both stations and the vessel was towed clear of the rock and onward to Wicklow Harbour, where she was safely secured alongside the East Pier shortly before 11am.

Speaking following the callout, Wicklow RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Tommy Dover said: "Our lifeboat and shore crews had an early call this morning but we were delighted to help and bring this vessel safely to shore.

"The callout was a real team effort this morning where ours crews from both Wicklow and Arklow were able to put their skills and joint training to good use in assisting the fishermen to Wicklow Harbour."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Arklow RNLI's volunteers were enjoying their Sunday morning (27 September) when their pagers sounded at 10.55am.

Within minutes Arklow’s all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchleaar had slipped her moorings and was en route to a catamaran that had reported engine trouble, some eight miles off the coast on the outside of the Arklow Bank.

The lifeboat crew located the casualty, who had re-routed across the bank, and a crew member was put aboard the 9m vessel to assist the sailor.

Once aboard, a towline was quickly established and the lifeboat proceeded the long, slow tow back to Arklow.

The stricken catamaran had been on a passage from Holyhead to Kilmore Quay when it got into difficulty.

All hands – including the sailor's pet dog – came ashore safely on the Avoca River at Arklow.

Arklow RNLI’s volunteer crew on this call out included coxswain Brendan Dillon, mechanic Geoff Kearnes, Roger Tyrell, Aidan Downey, David Lee, Jimmy Myler and Craig O’Reilly.

Speaking following the incident Arklow RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Mark Corcoran said: "This man made the call for help early which ensured our crew could get out to his assistance in time.

"No matter how experienced a sailor is, we would always encourage anyone to carry a means for calling for help and plan your passage with sufficient fuel and other required items for the trip."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Following an alert by pager on Saturday afternoon (5 September), Arklow RNLI’s lifeboat Ger Tigchleaar was launched within minutes to the aid of the casualty vessel that was reported to be taking on water and at risk of sinking.

The volunteer lifeboat crew proceeded to the scene and after locating the fishing vessel 2.4km east of Mizen Head, it was established that the 44-metre mussel dredger was taking on large volumes of water, but was not in immediate risk of sinking as the vessel's own pumps were keeping it afloat.

The skipper of the mussel vessel requested the Arklow lifeboat to standby to assist should the situation worsen and escort the them back to Arklow Harbour.

Upon arrival back at Arklow, where all crew came ashore safely, the vessel was grounded on the slipway to prepare for repairs to be made. At this point the casualty vessel's pumps failed.

Immediately the Arklow lifeboats crew rendered assistance and put crew and a salvage pump aboard to help empty the hull of water. They assisted in stemming the ingress of water and making a temporary repair using one of the lifeboat crew's trademark yellow wellies as part of the temporary fix.

Speaking following the incident, Arklow RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Mark Corcoran said: “Thankfully the skipper of this vessel made the call for help early. When you are going to sea in any vessel always plan for the worst, always carry a means of calling for help and never hesitate in making the call to 999 or 112 or contacting the coastguard via marine VHF.:

Arklow RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew for this callout were Brendan Dillon, Michael Fitzgerald, Geoff Kearnes, Jimmy Myler, Eddie McElheron, Leigh Downey and Craig O’Reilly.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Following a lifeboat pager alert at 1.18pm yesterday afternoon (Thursday 9 July), Arklow RNLI's volunteer crew launched to a stricken sailing vessel.

Within minutes of the alert, the lifeboat Ger Tigchleaar was en route from Arklow Harbour in good weather and slack winds to the casualty boat, a local sailing yacht about 1.5 miles north.

The vessel, with two crew onboard, had suffered engine failure. 

Under the direction of coxswain Ned Dillon, the lifeboat crew – Michael Fitzgerald, Andrew Loughlin, Jimmy Myler and Leigh Downey – secured a tow line to the vessel and brought her and her crew back safely to Arklow Harbour, bringing her alongside at the inner dock marina pontoons.



Speaking following the callout, Arklow RNLI volunteer press officer Mark Corcoran said: "Even very experienced sailors can get into difficulty. If you’re going out on the sea, be prepared and plan for the worst and always have a means of calling for help. Always respect the water."

Howth RNLI had a trickier callout to deal with three days earlier after a sailing yacht beached on rocks at Lambay Island.

The lifeboat was on scene and located the casualty vessel just before 11.00am on Monday 6 July. Volunteer lifeboat crew Ian Martin and Ian Sheridan launched their small XP inflatable boat and went ashore to investigate in poor weather conditions, with the win gusting to 58 knots and a rough sea state. 


Two men were located aboard and the decision was made by lifeboat coxswain Fred Connolly to request the coastguard helicopter to lift the casualties to safety as the sea was too rough to risk a transfer to the all-weather lifeboat using the XP inflatable.


The two men were airlifted to safety and the lifeboat returned to station in what was described by the volunteer crew as "challenging conditions".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Arklow RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew were alerted by pager at 6.44pm yesterday evening (14 June) to a call for help from a local fishing vessel in the station's second callout of the week, following the lifeboat's midweek rescue of a stricken sailboat.

The crew consisting of coxswain Ned Dillon, station mechanic Michael Fitzgerald, John Bermingham, Scotty Heaney, Keith Forde and Eddie McElheron launched the lifeboat Ger Tigchleaar and proceeded to the vessel, which had suffered machinery failure and was adrift outside the mouth of Arklow Harbour.

After locating the casualty vessel, the lifeboat crew established a tow line and proceeded back in to Arklow with the vessel alongside. All crew members aboard the casualty remained aboard during the service and all hands came ashore safely.

Speaking following the incident, Arklow RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Mark Corcoran said: "All people who take to the water whether for a living or for pleasure must always wear their lifejackets and should always have a means of raising the alarm."

Elsewhere, RNLI volunteers aboard Donaghadee's all-weather lifeboat Saxon sped to the rescue of a stricken vessel as darkness fell on Friday evening (12 June).

The 10-metre craft with a crew of one developed engine trouble on a passage to Westport in Co Mayo and was adrift in the busy sea lanes at the mouth of Belfast Lough.

The Donaghadee lifeboat launched at the request of the coastguard at 10.15pm and conducted a search in the gathering gloom one mile north of the Copeland Islands until the vessel was located.

In light sea conditions, a member of the RNLI crew boarded the vessel to assist with repairs and the lifeboat then escorted it to the safety of Bangor MarinaSaxon was back on station and stood down shortly after midnight.

Donaghadee RNLI coxswain Philip McNamara advised all boat owners "to conduct a thorough check of their engines, communications and safety equipment before putting to sea.

"If you encounter a problem, call for assistance at the earliest opportunity. We are ready to be of service and It is always better to be safe than sorry."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Arklow RNLI came to the assistance of a sailing vessel with sail damage and mechanical failure on Wednesday evening (10 June).

Following a planned exercise, Arklow lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr and its volunteer crew of Eamonn Kavanagh, John Berminghham, Michael Fitzgerald, Jimmy Myler and Trevor Conroy were returning to station around 8.30pm when a distress call was received from the vessel, about one mile south-east of Arklow Harbour.

The lifeboat crew proceeded to the location and took the vessel under tow back to Arklow, where all hands came ashore safely.

Following the rescue, Arklow RNLI sea safety officer Mark Corcoran said: "All skippers of vessels going to sea for work or pleasure should carry a means of calling for help and wear lifejackets.

"Calling for help in good time will lessen the chances of people ending up in the water and increase the chances of successful rescue."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#arklow legend – We are fortunate in this country to have people who are dedicated to the marine sphere and who give freely and willingly of their time and efforts in pursuit of their belief that maritime matters really should matter to the national community.

Jimmy Tyrell from Arklow is such a man. I have known and respected him through his work for the lifeboats for many years.

The RNLI has a proud history of over 190 years and the port of Arklow in County Wicklow, a town founded by the Vikings in the 9th century, lays claim to being the first lifeboat station established in Ireland, back in 1826. Jimmy Tyrrell has led lifeboat operations there for 46 years. His family is legendary in maritime matters.

Twenty-seven years ago Jimmy made a decision. The RNLI named its different classes of boat designs after rivers, but had never used the name of an Irish river. Jimmy was determined to change that and being a determined man, he achieved his goal. So when the new Shannon Class was born, the most modern vessel in the RNLI fleet and the first into Ireland arrived at the Lough Swilly Station at Buncrana in County Donegal, Jimmy was there to see it.

It was a great day for Jimmy, well-deserved and he describes his feeling as he saw the boat arrive on this edition of THIS ISLAND NATION.

When Jimmy retired from RNLI duties in Arklow another member of that great maritime family stood up to take over from him and continue the family association, John Tyrrell, who is now Lifeboat Operations Manager there.

The new Shannon lifeboat at Lough Swilly cost €2.4m and was designed by a Derry man who works for the RNLI at its Poole headquarters. It uses twin waterjets instead of propellers, giving it more manoeuvrability and the ability to operate in shallow waters. The man who designed it is Peter Eyre and he was once saved by the lifeboat service when he got into difficulty on the water, the story of which he tells also on the current edition of THIS ISLAND NATION.

When the RNLI describes a boat as "all-weather..." they mean it, the service always responds to calls for help, even in the worst of sea conditions, so the crews deserve the best boats. The Shannon has a top speed of 25 knots, a range of 250 nautical miles and a unique hull to minimise slamming of the boat in heavy seas, with shock-absorbing seats to protect the crew from impact when powering through the waves. The Lough Swilly lifeboat has been largely funded through a legacy from Derek Jim Bullivant of Bewdley, Worcestershire, in the UK who died in September of 2011.and is named Derek Bullivant. Coxswain, Mark Bennett, commands it and was welcomed by a huge crowd when he and his crew brought the boat from Poole to Buncrana. He tells us how it was an emotional day for him.

BASS BAN

This edition of Ireland's niche maritime programme also has an interesting story about supermarket advertising which can mislead purchasers into thinking they are buying Irish bass when it is illegal to catch them for commercial purposes in Irish waters, where such fishing is banned. So why are the public misled by advertising which says "Irish produced bass" when they come from fish farms abroad?

David Stanton, the Fine Gael TD for Cork East interested – and somewhat pleasantly surprised me – by making an issue of the lack of Government and State attention to the marine sphere. It's not often, I put to him, that a politician is heard to draw attention to maritime matters. He has a good point -that there is no single, central point in the State system, no 'one-stop-shop,' where all maritime enquiries can be dealt with, so anyone proposing a project can be sent from one section of the State services to another so many times they could meet themselves coming back. He is worth listening to and I'll be looking forward to hearing how the self-imposed mission he has declared, to highlight maritime affairs at Government level, gets on.

The island communities join the programme with a regular report, in which we hear why €60,000 a year, not a huge sum of money, is vital to education on the islands.

A lot then, about maritime matters which you can hear THIS ISLAND NATION by clicking on the programme icon above

Your comments are welcome below. 

Published in Island Nation

#MarineWildlife - On Friday morning (3 April) Arklow RNLI was made aware of a seal apparently caught in fishing gear close to the Arklow Harbour entrance.

Two of Arklow RNLI’s team went to the area to ascertain if it was feasible to launch the lifeboat to rescue the weary marine mammal, identified locally as Sammy - the subject of a previous rescue some 18 months ago when still a pup.

Due to conditions in the area and due to the proximity of the shoreline and an ebbing tide at the location, it was decided it was inadvisable to launch the Ger Tigchelaar.

Because of the trapped animal's proximity to the shore, and to eliminate the further risk of any members of the public entering the water to save the seal, it was decided instead to try to rescue the animal from a smaller rescue craft.

Two of Arklow RNLI’s volunteers, station mechanic Michael Fitzgerald, and Brian Heaney, went to sea to the aid of the tiring animal.

After hauling in the fishing gear, the exhausted and stressed seal was moved to an area where it could make for the shore to rest and was then cut loose from the fishing gear. 

The seal had a short break on the lower rocks of the shoreline before making for open water.

Speaking following the incident, Fitzgerald said: “Luckily we were able to get to the seal in time to save it.

"When members of the pubic come across injured or stressed animals like this trapped in fishing gear or injured, they should inform the authorities immediately, they should never enter the water to try to save the animal.

"They should always leave this to persons who are experienced and have the right equipment to carry out the rescue safely. Always respect the water.”

Published in Marine Wildlife

#RNLI - Wicklow RNLI's all-weather lifeboat launched at 5.10pm on Saturday (28 March) to assist a kitesurfer in difficulty off Potters Point, south of Wicklow Head.

The kitesurfer was unable to get ashore after leaving the beach at Jack’s Hole. One of his friends saw him in the water and immediately contacted the Irish Coast Guard for help.



Conditions in the area at the time had a south-easterly Force 6 wind with a moderate sea state.


"We located the kitesurfer drifting off the south end of the Wolf Rock near Jack’s Hole," said Wicklow RNLI coxswain Nick Keogh after the callout. "He was using the floatation end of the kite equipment to stay afloat, after he got separated from his board."



A first-aid-trained member of the lifeboat crew assessed the casualty as they returned to Wicklow. He had no injuries and did not require any further medical assistance. The man was landed safely ashore at Wicklow Harbour at 6.30pm.


The crew on the callout were Keogh, mechanic Connie O'Gara, Ciaran Doyle, Terry Sillery, Graham Fitzgerald, John Vize and David Collard.

Arklow's nearby RNLI lifeboat was also requested to launch but was stood down by the coastguard as Wicklow took command of the situation.


Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer, hailed the "lightning response by both RNLI volunteer crews at Arklow and Wicklow" which "shows the dedication our volunteers have to saving lives at sea".



Corcoran, who is also Arklow's sea safety officer, added: “All persons who take to the water over the coming summer months must always wear their lifejackets and should always have a means of raising the alarm."

Any groups or individuals who would like advice on any water safety issue from kayaking to sailing, angling, kitesurfing or windsurfing can contact Corcoran at 086 826 0439 or [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Arklow's RNLI lifeboat Ger Tigchleaar was launched within minutes in response to a call for help from a local fishing vessel yesterday afternoon (Sunday 8 March).



The vessel had suffered engine failure and was without navigation ability approximately 15 miles south of Arklow.



The volunteer crew consisting of coxswain Eamonn Kavanagh, station mechanic Michael Fitzgerald, Jimmy Myler, Craig O’Reilly, David Lee, James Russell and Cead Muller dropped their normal Sunday afternoon family activities and rushed to the lifeboat station.

After launching the lifeboat and locating the casualty vessel, they established a tow line and proceeded with the long slow tow back to Arklow.



All three crew members on the casualty vessel remained aboard during the tow home and all hands came ashore safely at Arklow Harbour.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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