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Displaying items by tag: Lough foyle

#MarineWildlife - Lough Foyle area environmental group Celebrate Water is organising a family afternoon to highlight the wealth of marine wildlife off the Inishowen Peninsula this Saturday 6 September.

As the Derry Journal reports, the day will see Greencastle's coastguard station in Co Donegal open to the public with an special exhibition on the area's whales and dolphins, followed by a talk by local wildlife expert Emmett Johnston on how to spot cetacean species and identify them for the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.

These events and more on the day follow Celebrate Water's live strandings training course last month, organised in the way of some controversy over the issue of what to do in the event of mass strandings of cetaceans on Irish shores.

The Derry Journal has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#CruiseDonegal – Having sailed from Belfast, the 51,000 tonnes Crystal Symphony anchored this morning off Greencastle from where as previously reported, Donegal Co. Council are backing the Loughs Agency to upgrade facilities.

The visit of Crystal Symphony is an impressive sized cruiseship to Lough Foyle. The €170,000 investment in Greencastle is to develop the lucrative cruise trade to the north-west. The aim is to increase cruise-based visitors to tour the Inishowen Peninsula, with Malin Head been the main destination attraction.

Crystal Cruises, operators of the ultra-luxury 900 passenger-plus cruise line won three first-place awards from CruiseLine.com's Bon Voyage magazine. The online publication's panel of experienced cruise editors chose the winners for the first annual Editor's Choice awards, giving Crystal five accolades overall – more than any other luxury line.

Among the categories won was for Best Refurbished Ship in which Crystal Symphony was awarded Silver. The 238m long cruiseship having recently undergone a $15 million redesign.

The redesign for example involved a newly-styled Avenue Saloon, one of the ship's most popular venues. The piano bar retains its 19th-century gentlemen's club feel with rich mahogany woods, buttery leathers, and luxe velvets. So click HERE for a peak and more!

Published in Cruise Liners

#MarineWildlife - The Irish Examiner reports on efforts to save an injured porpoise calf that was found beached on the shores of Lough Foyle yesterday (25 February).

Local people managed to help the young marine mammal, which has a wound on its tail fin, back into deeper water - but strong wind and wave action forced it into the stream of the Bredagh river.

It currently appears to be struggling in the mix of saltwater and freshwater, the latter of which can cause kidney and skin serious problems if cetaceans are exposed to it for extended periods.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#LoughFoyleMonster - Could Lough Foyle be hiding its very own version of the legendary Lough Ness Monster? As the video above attests, some witnesses to a mysterious sighting in the lake recently seem to think so.

According to The Canadian, a glimpse of what appears to be a large rock-like creature just breaching the surface of the water was captured by a group on the lough.

“It's really difficult to determine what species of creature it was," said one of the group. "I really don't think this can be a whale. I've seen whales, but I've never seen one swim like this before. Also, the pattern on it doesn't really look like it’s a whale.”

But before we all get too excited, consider that the group who made the video admitted that they were shooting for a student film called Fishing With David Lynch - a film and TV director well known for his other-worldly twists on reality.

Published in Inland Waterways

#INLAND WATERWAYS - It was a hotly anticipated find - but the image of what appeared to be a rare German submarine in the depths of Lough Foyle turned out to be a ghost.

RTÉ News reports that a team brought in to verify a sonar image captured by a search and rescue team from Mallow have confirmed that it was a 'sonic illusion'.

Northern Ireland's Environment Minister Alex Attwood called in the experts after the search team discovered what looked like the outline of a midget U-boat on the lough bed near Derry.

The possibility was a real one, as the lough had been a major naval base during the Second World War.

But a full survey of the lough revealed that the original image was an apparition caused by sonar distortion.

"There is no doubt for a moment there was a thrilling possibility which has now not come to pass," said the minister. "I do share a sense of disappointment."

RTÉ News has more on the story, including images and video, HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#FERRY NEWS – After a gap of six months the Greencastle-Magilligan ferry service across Lough Foyle reopened over the St. Patrick's weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The return of the 10-minute cross border route, which offers an alternative to a road journey of nearly 80kms /50 miles was announced by Donegal County Council and Limavady Borough Council.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the route operated by Lough Foyle Ferry Company is a joint initiative of the two councils and  for the remainder of this month the service will be running to a weekend-only schedule.

Sailings however are to increase to a regular daily service, subject to weather conditions, between 1st April-30th September.

For more information visit www.loughfoyleferry.com

Published in Ferry

#CRUISE LINERS-Aside the main ports where most cruise ships visit while touring this island, Londonderry would be a less frequent destination, as such vessels only began visiting the north-west port since 1995, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Some of the leading operators though have called over the years called to the port, they are: Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Residensea, Seabourn and Silverseas.

This year's line-up will see eight scheduled calls starting in May with the 446 passenger Quest for Adventure (for more click HERE) built in 1981 and operated by Saga Cruises. A younger near-sister Astor built in 1987 is also due to call in August.

Below is a list of the cruise callers and dates.

Quest for Adventure 9 May

Marco Polo 14 July

Prinsendam 16 July

Astor 11 August

Clipper Odyssey 18 August

Princess Daphne 30 August

Albatross 12 September

Ocean Countess 15 September

The vessels will use various berths dependent upon size within the port which is run by the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners. The facilities are at the city quays, Lisahally or require anchorage off Greencastle in Lough Foyle.

Published in Cruise Liners

#PORTS & SHIPPING- Berthed at the Steam Packet Quay, Drogheda is the suction-trailer dredger Lough Foyle (1979/868grt) which is on contract work with the Drogheda Port Company, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Following the sale last month of Hebble Sand, as previously reported on Afloat.ie (clcik HERE), the Lough Foyle (PHOTO) is now the only port-owned dredger on the island of Ireland. The Londonderry Port & Harbour Commissioners (LPHC) purchased the vessel from Dutch interests in 2009. She was originally the Saeftinge, built in 1979 at the Van Goor Scheepswerf in Monnickendam.

Since her introduction she has performed previous dredging operations to include the Drogheda Bar leading into the Co. Louth port. Her most recent contract was in Waterford Estuary, from where she arrived from on Tuesday after an overnight voyage.

In addition she has worked at the new Stena Line ferryport terminal at Loch Ryan, Cairnryan, to see related report click HERE. The Scottish ferryport is due to be officially opened tomorrow, to read more including the newly introduced 'Superfast' sisters click HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#DUBLIN PORT-The former Dundalk Port Company grab-hopper dredger Hebble Sand (1963/757grt), which has been laid-up in Dublin since last Summer, was sold to new owners a month ago, writes Jehan Ashmore.

She remains berthed at the Bulk Jetty, Alexandra Basin, where she arrived from the Co. Louth port on 14 July, two days after the assets, liabilities and operations of Dundalk Port Company were transferred to Dublin Port Company by an order of statutory instrument. Against this background, Dublin Port Company decided to divest in the business of dredging resulting in placing the veteran vessel for sale.

During her career in Drogheda, she was the only dredger to be operated and owned by a port company apart from the suction-trailer dredger Lough Foyle (1979/868grt) operated by Londonderry Port & Harbour Commissioners.

Hebble Sand, registered in Dundalk has retained her original name since her launch from Richard (Shipbuilders) of Lowestoft for British Dredging. She has been kept in good condition considering a career nearing five decades. To read some of her last contracts undetaken outside her homeport, click HERE.

From a distance some people have mistaken Hebble Sand (PHOTO) to the last of the  'Guinness ships, as she bores a resemblance to the final custom-built stout tanker Miranda Guinness ( PHOTO), taken on her farewell sailing. The vessels shared a similar red funnel and black funnel, a roomy sized superstructure painted in cream above and a dark blue hull. To read more about the last of the brewery tanker-fleet click HERE.

Published in Dublin Port
At the weekend, the Greencastle-Magilligan ferry Foyle Venture (1978/324grt) made her last sailing, marking the end of a service that started on Lough Foyle in 2002, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The closure has led to 12 full-time staff and six-part staff losing their jobs. Ongoing discussions are taking place between local TDs, councillors, the ferry operator and the Minister of Transport and Tourism and Donegal County Council to try and restore the route which has also been supported by Limivady Borough Council.
Funding for the service in recent years has become more difficult as councils suffer budget cuts and there are calls for direct assistance from governments in Dublin and Stormont.

According to the Lough Foyle Ferry Company website, the directors sincerely hope that the suspension of the service will be temporary and look forward to re-commencing operations in early 2012.

The 10-minute crossing served by the 300-passenger / 44-vehicle capacity Foyle Venture (photo) provided year-round sailings. During the summer months the schedule was increased to a continuous shuttle-service as it provided a convenient short-cut for Northerners heading to Donegal.

Motorists could save nearly 80 kms (50 miles) by travelling across the Inishowen Peninsula instead of having to drive through London/Derry. In its third year of operations, the company carried its one-millionth passenger and since then the route has exceeded 2m passegers.

Published in News Update
Page 3 of 4

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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