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Displaying items by tag: Bangor Marina

Did you know that our Native oysters have been an important food source for centuries - the Romans even exported them back to Italy!

The first report of a recognised commercial oyster fishery in Belfast Lough was in 1780 and although the native oyster has been considered extinct there since 1903, in the summer of 2020, live oysters were discovered for the first time in over 100 years – evidence that the environmental conditions for establishment are right.

The charity, Ulster Wildlife Trust, is hoping to establish the first native oyster nursery in Northern Ireland in Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough to support the declining population and to help create a natural long-term carbon store to tackle climate change. So under F, G and H Pontoons, Ulster Wildlife's Heidi McIlvenny with Harbour Master Kevin Baird and his staff will deploy a native oyster nursery.

Highly prized Loch Ryan OystersHighly prized Loch Ryan Oysters

Around 26 cages will be suspended under the pontoon walkways and will be populated with highly prized Loch Ryan Oysters. The Loch Ryan Oyster Bed, one of Scotland’s largest, dates to 1701 when King William 111 granted a Royal Charter to the Wallace family.

The native or flat oyster stays fixed in one place and is a filter feeder meaning it uses its valves to pump water filtering out microscopic algae and small organic particles from the surrounding water. A single oyster can filter up to 200 litres of seawater per day, which can significantly improve water quality and clarity.

Already thriving in another Marina in Conwy Wales, over time the oysters will start releasing oyster larvae into the harbour which will be carried out to settle on the seabed, ultimately resulting in cleaner waters and better marine biodiversity.

Classified as a Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework and a Feature of Conservation Importance for which Marine Conservation Zones can be designated, the oyster has a lifespan of six years.

Harbour Master Kevin Baird would like to get local schools involved after the oysters are in place. “It’s a great environmental project with many very positive benefits”. He added “There will be no disruption to marine traffic”.

Published in Belfast Lough

Megayacht, superyacht – certainly bigger than any craft in Bangor Marina. Lying alongside the Eisenhower Pier in Bangor Harbour on the North Down coast on a recent visit, after a passage from the Clyde, the 39.62 m motor yacht, Liquid Rehab arrived in Bangor for a brief stopover but stayed longer.

Built in 2004 by Westport Yachts, USA, whose sales office is in Fort Lauderdale in Florida and has two yards in Washington State, this huge three-decked craft cruises at 24 knots and has a top speed of 28 knots. She sleeps 10 and has a crew of seven.

Liquid Rehab is owned by Kevin Martyn, who is in the pharmaceuticals business and has an interest in the USA National Football League. Captain is Jameson Cooper, from North Palm Beach in Florida.

Vice Commodore Alan Espey, (third right) welcomes Liquid Rehab owner Kevin Martyn (second right) and Captain Jameson Cooper (right) and friends to RUYCVice Commodore Alan Espey, (third right) welcomes Liquid Rehab owner Kevin Martyn (second right) and Captain Jameson Cooper (right) and friends to RUYC

Kevin Martyn, Jameson Cooper, members and friends were welcomed to Royal Ulster Yacht Club by Vice Commodore Alan Espey, where they enjoyed lunch in the famous Lipton Room.
Harbour Master Kevin Baird was delighted to welcome Liquid Rehab to Bangor and said on its arrival, " We wish all onboard an enjoyable visit and we trust you will enjoy your stay in Bangor".
Liquid Rehab is currently in Leith near Edinburgh and plans to return to the North Coast of Northern Ireland before calling in Belfast.

Published in Superyachts
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The British Government has announced a three-month delay in the implementation of the red diesel ban for private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland.

The move follows lobbying by Bangor Marina and others in the NI leisure boating industry who emphasised the dearth of white diesel options in the region.

Originally set to come into effect on 30 June, the red diesel ban is intended to meet the UK’s obligations under the Northern Ireland Protocol and bring the region in line with the 2018 judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

This is the same ruling which prompted the Republic of Ireland’s ban on green-dyed diesel for leisure craft propulsion last year.

In March, British Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his first post-Brexit Budget that boaters in England, Scotland and Wales would continue to use red-dyed diesel for pleasure boating without penalty in domestic waters — leaving NI boaters in limbo.

Bangor Marina says it met earlier this year with officials from HM Revenue & Customs, HM Treasury and RYANI “to discuss the difficulties we would face if we had to switch to white diesel in June.

“During that meeting, we did put forward a compelling proposal that the switch to white diesel should take place after the summer holidays.

“Today [Friday 21 May] we have been advised by HM Revenue & Customs that the UK government has decided to delay the implementation of the prohibition on red diesel used for propulsion of private pleasure boats in NI until 1 October 2021.

“More detailed guidance is expected to be produced in July.”

The decision will come as a relief for cruisers and leisure boaters across Northern Ireland as it emerges from lockdown into the summer boating season.

But with freedom of movement on the cross-border Shannon-Erne Waterway, the extension poses a “customs headache” for Irish authorities, a source close to Afloat.ie suggests.

And if the delay is any indication of a proclivity to continue moving the deadline back, the situation would deal a heavy blow to Irish suppliers, particularly in border areas — while also encouraging boats “to spend more time in NI and less [in the Republic]”, the source added.

 It isn't an April Fool! Thursday will be to Bangor Marina berth holders the end of a long-awaited return to their craft after a roller coaster of lockdown, opening up and lockdown again over the past year.

In Harbour Master Kevin Baird's welcome email to berth holders yesterday he said "We have spoken with and taken advice from the British Marine Federation, the RYA NI, the UK Harbour Masters Association, as well as consulting with healthcare professionals in order to try and navigate through these extraordinary times". And added, " Last week, Boris Johnson added 'fresh air' to the Coronavirus slogan, as sea-loving folk, we already know that sailing and boating provides that clean, fresh sea air which at this time of the year can blow with considerable strength".

There has been an update to the Regulations (Amendment 6) that outlines aspects from 1st April 2021 - up to 10 people (including children of all ages) from a maximum of two households can take part in outdoor sports activities. He added, "In the reading of these, it would be our understanding that restricted access to the Marina may be permitted".

But the reception, washrooms and laundry will remain closed and overnighting on board is strictly prohibited. The Marina is also closed to visiting craft.

Although reception is closed, staff can be reached by telephone; +44 (0) 28 9145 3297; email [email protected] or VHF Ch 80 or Ch11

Kevin sought to reassure boat owners, "These strange times will not last forever, and the sea will still offer solace when we all need it, and when the time is right".

Published in Belfast Lough

Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough is switching its electricity to a renewable source with immediate effect. 

Marina Manager Kevin Baird said the marina takes its responsibility to the environment seriously and is constantly looking at ways in which it can reduce its impact on the planet.

"We estimate this fully renewable supply reduces our carbon emissions by up to 1000 tonnes a year compared with traditional carbon led electricity supplies, which is a massive positive impact", Baird said.

Northern Ireland's biggest marina is part of a network of 11 'boatfolk' operated marinas around the UK all now sourcing fully renewable electricity, and with minimal impact to the price.

The facility at Bangor is a multiple winner of the Blue Flag Award and a Five Gold Anchor Marina. There are facilities for 550 berths with berthing for 50 visiting craft. Laundry, showers, trolleys and local advise provided for sailors. 

Baird told Afloat  "We're on a journey to reduce our carbon footprint and this is a crucial next step on that journey. 2021 is an important year for the world's efforts to tackle climate change and choosing 100% renewable electricity isn't just a 'feel good' thing to do, it's something that has a very real impact."

Published in Belfast Lough

Bangor's favourite band, Snow Patrol, are well known for the lines in their hit 'Run' - Light up, Light up. And that's what, in this year of endless restrictions, Kevin Baird Manager of Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough, would like berth holders to do for a competition in December.

It would be especially cheerful in these Covid 19 times, to make an effort, get out your Christmas lights and decorate your boat.

There will be a prize for the best-illuminated craft and equally appealing, is the gift of Mulled Wine for each participant.

Details will be posted on the Marina Facebook page in the coming days and judging will be on the evening of 18th December. Also, keep an eye out for information about another highlight on 18th December.

The usual Mince Pies, Mulled wine, tea, coffee and soft drinks served to you onboard your boat between 2 pm and 5 pm.

Published in Belfast Lough

Mayor of Ards and North Down Councillor Trevor Cummings, visited teen solo sailor Timothy Long onboard his yacht Hunter Impala yacht, Alchemy to welcome him officially to Bangor.

As Afloat reported previously, fifteen-year-old Timothy aims to become the youngest person to sail solo around Britain. Throughout his challenge, Timothy will be fundraising for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

He began his voyage south to his home port of Southampton at the weekend.

Timothy with left, Rear Commodore RUYC Maurice Butler and Peter Eagleson  - Hunter Impala Association

Timothy's Mum, Sue Elder, who is looking after publicity for his voyage, is full of praise for the welcome he has received. "He has certainly had a wonderful welcome in Bangor! At this rate, he may not want to leave...all of you have been so kind and supportive of him, which means a lot to us as parents, as I'm sure you'll appreciate".

Timothy has been paddleboarding, been treated to lunch, had help with his mast maintenance from another sailor, had dinner on board another boat and been shown round Royal Ulster Yacht Club by Rear Commodore Maurice Butler. Sue Elder adds " Please pass on our heartfelt thanks to the Bangor network for making him so welcome".

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Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough had high profile visitors last week. Three naval ships, HMS Biter, HMS Charger and HMS Express docked at the marina. All are Archer class patrol and training vessels and attached to Universities in the North West of England. Biter is assigned to Manchester and Salford, Express to Wales University, and Charger to Liverpool University. And a few days before the armed patrol boat HMS Tracker docked in the Harbour.

A few days later the Marina welcomed Minister of State for Northern Ireland Robin Walker.

Ards and North Down Mayor, Councillor Trevor Cummings, Chief Executive Stephen Reid and Director of Regeneration, Development & Planning Susie McCullough, hosted a meeting with the Minister to discuss the opportunities offered by the Belfast Region City Deal and to view the Bangor seafront regeneration programme.

Three naval ships, HMS Biter, HMS Charger and HMS Express docked at Bangor marinaThree naval ships, HMS Biter, HMS Charger and HMS Express docked at Bangor Marina

Published in Belfast Lough

Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough in County Down welcomes visitors from far and wide, but this Mediterranean gull must be one of the most interesting, having travelled from Poland, Spain, and France before flying into Bangor.

Berth holder, wildlife expert and photographer Ronald Surgenor who works for the Ulster Wildlife Nature Reserves team, captured this wonderful photograph of the gull roosting on pontoon B. He was able to trace the bird’s movement via the red numbered ring on its leg. In 2015 the bird was ringed in Poland and over the next five years flew across Europe before flying into Bangor. A truly international visitor!

Ronald says “ Good chance it'll be around the roosting gulls for a while, always worth a quick check on the way past; the white wingtips help pick it out amongst the Black-headed gulls and their dark wingtips. I always carry the camera on the boat as you never know what you will see out on the water”.

As previously portrayed in Afloat.ie on 5th June, Bangor Harbour is a valuable haven for wildlife.

Published in Belfast Lough

The Ards and North Down coastal area has done well by winning awards for excellence in facilities, environmental management, environmental education, accessibility and safety.

Bangor Marina has been awarded the internationally renowned Blue Flag for the 2020 season. The Blue Flag award is certified by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and is delivered in 47 participating countries.

The beaches at Ballywalter, Cloughey, Groomsport and Millisle, managed by Ards and North Down Borough Council, along with Crawfordsburn beach, which is operated by Northern Ireland Environment Agency, have received the prestigious Seaside Award. The Seaside Award is the national standard for beaches across the UK. This programme ensures visitors of a clean, safe, attractive, and well-managed beach with the facilities provided being appropriate for the location of the beach. Helens Bay, also operated by Northern Ireland Environment Agency received a Green Coast Award, which recognises an agreement between the operator and the local community to protect and promote a natural beach. Green Coast Award beaches can also be found in the Republic of Ireland and in Wales, but due to their more natural state, may not be flying a flag.

Helens Bay Beach in Bangor received a Green Coast AwardHelens Bay Beach in Bangor received a Green Coast Award

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings commented: "Our borough encompasses the southern shore of Belfast Lough, the Irish Sea coast and most of the perimeter of Strangford Lough, giving us 115 miles of stunning coastline. It is fantastic that so many of our beautiful seaside locations have been recognised in this year's Beach and Marina awards. It is a fitting tribute to the work of both the Council employees and the many groups of volunteers who together strive to keep our coastline clean, tidy and welcoming for visitors.

Dr. Ian Humphreys, CEO of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, stated: "We are delighted to see the high standards at so many of our local beaches continuing into 2020. Our fantastic beaches are an important part of the natural wealth that we can all enjoy as a community. This summer, it is important to follow guidance from the public health authorities around social distancing when visiting local beaches. Furthermore, it is up to all of us to ensure that we leave these beauty spots in good condition. I am appealing to everyone to make sure that they leave no trace on our local beaches by putting litter in the bin."

Published in Belfast Lough
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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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