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Displaying items by tag: Marine Notice

The Department of Transport has been advised by Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) and the Marine Institute that hydrographic and geophysical survey operations will be undertaken by INFOMAR in the Celtic Sea, Atlantic Ocean, western coastal areas and Irish Sea areas between 1 March and 30 December.

RVs Keary, Geo, Mallet, Galtee and Lir are expected to carry out survey operations in three areas: the Atlantic Ocean, west of Galway and Mayo; an offshore area north-west of Belmullet, Co Mayo and western coastal areas stretching from Galway Bay to Malin Head, Co Donegal; and the Irish Sea adjacent to the Ireland/UK border from east of Co Dublin to east of Co Wexford and in coastal areas of Co Dublin.

Meanwhile, the RV Tom Crean is expected to carry out survey operations in the Celtic Sea, south of the 30-nautical-mile limit, and potentially in the Atlantic Ocean west of Kerry, Clare and Galway west of the 30nm limit between 5 March and 25 November.

This vessel will be towing a magnetometer sensor with a single cable of up to 200 metres in length and a moving vessel profiler cable of variable length up to a maximum of 200 metres.

All vessels will display appropriate lights and markers and will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the course of the survey.

Full details of the surveys, including maps, coordinates and contact details, can be found in Marine Notice No 06 of 2024 attached below.

Published in Marine Science
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The Department of Transport has been advised by University College Cork (UCC) that it intends to deploy hydrophones east of the Arklow Bank at four locations, and southwards to 15km off the bank and east of Gorey and Blackwater.

This marine science research aims to describe seasonal and diurnal occurrence of the cetaceans (the order of marine wildlife that comprises whales, dolphins and porpoise) present in the areas.

UCC plans to deploy four moorings with attached hydrophones on the seabed between the dates of Monday 5 and Saturday 17 February, subject to operational and weather constraints. The moorings will be fully recovered after three to four months for maintenance and then redeployed.

The hydrophones will be deployed in four locations in a latitudinal gradient, from east of the turbines at the Arklow Bank to 10km south of the bank, east of Gorey and Blackwater, Co Wexford.

A single vessel will be used for deploy the hydrophones: the Sharpshooter (callsign EI5069). Deployment operations will be conducted during the hours of daylight, during favourable weather conditions.

Throughout operations, the vessel will be displaying the appropriate lights and shapes as required under the COLREGS Rule 27(b). As Sharpshooter will be deploying survey equipment and moorings, the vessel will be restricted in its ability to manoeuvre, therefore all other vessels are requested to leave a wide berth.

Coordinates and a map of the survey areas as well as contact details can be found in Marine Notice No 05 of 2024, attached below.

Published in Marine Science

The first and second legs of this year’s Irish Anglerfish and Megrim Survey (IAMS 2024) will be carried out from Thursday 8 February to Sunday 3 March.

Surveys will be conducted to the West, South-West and South Coasts of Ireland by the Marine Institute in fulfilment of Ireland’s obligations under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

IAMS is a demersal trawl survey consisting of approximately 110 otter trawls, each of 60 minutes duration, in ICES areas 7b, 7c, 7g, 7h, 7j and 7k.

Fishing in 2024 will take place within a three-nautical-mile radius of the positions indicated in Appendices 1 and 2 of Marine Notice No 03 of 2024, a PDF of which is attached below.

The survey will be conducted by the RV Celtic Explorer (callsign EIGB) which will display appropriate lights and signals. The vessel will be towing a Jackson demersal trawl during fishing operations.

The Marine Institute requests that commercial fishing and other marine operators keep a 3nm radius area around the tow points clear of any gear or apparatus during the survey period.

Further details are included in the Marine Notice below.

Published in Fishing

The Department of Transport has been notified by Optic Marine that it will carry out works from Wednesday 10 to Friday 22 January off the coast of Ireland north-west of Belmullet, subject to operational and weather constraints.

The subsea surveys with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), underwater cable repairs, cable recovery with grapnel and buoy operations will be conducted by the cable vessel Cable Vigilance (callsign FMQW).

Regular safety messages will be broadcast on VHF Channel 16 and a buoy will be rigged with white flashing lights.

As the work vessel will be restricted in its ability to manoeuvre during operations, it is requested that all other passing vessels leave a wide berth.

Coordinates and a map of the work area, as well as contact details, can be found in Marine Notice No 1 of 2024 attached below.

Published in Coastal Notes

The final Marine Notice of 2023 draws attention to and provides information regarding the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention).

These 2023 regulations give effect to the Convention in Ireland and the specific compliance requirements that apply to particular vessels in the immediate term and with effect from 29 February 2024.

Under these regulations, all ships are required to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard, according to a ship-specific ballast water management plan, and to carry a ballast water record book.

Ships of 400 gross tonnes and over are also required to carry an international ballast water management certificate.

The regulations apply to all Irish ships and to foreign-flagged ships under port state control.

For further details, see Marine Notice No 83 of 2023, attached below.

Published in Ports & Shipping
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The Marine Survey Office (MSO) of the Department of Transport is seeking applications from interested parties who wish to act as Recognised Security Organisations - RSO (Ports) for the period from January 2024 to 31 December 2028.

The authorisation will cover work as an RSO in relation to both Regulation EC 725/2004 on enhancing ship and port facility security and Directive 2005/65/EC on enhancing port security.

The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 3pm on Tuesday 16 January 2024.

Requirements and conditions for application are set out in the annex of Marine Notice No 82 of 2023, attached below.

Completed applications should be returned to the Marine Survey Office by post, or by email to [email protected].

Published in Ports & Shipping

The Department of Transport has been made aware of a Safety Recall Notice for AWG fire hose nozzles by the EU Commission’s Safety Gate rapid alert system.

The affected nozzles are type HS 10, HS 12, HS 16 and HS 20, country of origin Germany, marked with batch number “EN15182-1/3 2015” on the nozzle cap and “55” marked inside the orange tube.

They were most likely supplied during weeks 24 to 37 in
2015.

According to the EU notice, the product is defective and does not comply with the requirements of the Marine Equipment Directive or with the European Standard EN 15182- 1.

The notice adds that the nozzle is not robust enough to withstand working pressure of 16 bar and may burst. As a result, the user may be injured due to bursting or suffer burns when extinguishing a fire.

For more details on the safety recall, see Marine Notice No 81 of 2023 attached below.

Published in Safety

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage has issued a direction regarding activities requiring prior ministerial approval within the site of the proposed special protection area (SPA) for seabirds in the North-West Irish Sea.

As reported earlier this year on Afloat.ie, the proposed new SPA will cover over 230,000 hectares extending out from Dublin Bay to as far north as Dunany Point in Co Louth, and will increase Ireland’s percentage of marine waters protected under the EU Birds and Habitats directive to over nine per cent.

The list of Activities Requiring Consent relating to the SPA includes the following:

  • Reclamation, including infilling.
  • Blasting, drilling, dredging or otherwise removing or disturbing fossils, rock, minerals, mud, sand, gravel or other sediment.
  • Introduction, or re-introduction, of plants or animals not found in the area. (Consent is not required for the planting of crops on established reseeded grassland or cultivated land.)
  • Undertaking scientific research involving the collection and removal of biological material.
  • Any activity intended to disturb birds, including by mechanical, air, gas, wind-powered or audible means.
  • Developing or consenting to the development or operation of commercial recreational/visitor facilities or organised recreational activities.
  • Undertaking active acoustic surveys in the marine environment.

Observations in relation to the classification of the site may be submitted by interested parties and must be supported by scientifically based ornithological criteria.

Any objections to the classification of the site as a SPA or the Ministerial Direction may be lodged with the National Parks and Wildlife service.

The closing date for receipt of any observations or objections is 19 February 2024 and further details are included in Marine Notice No 80 of 2023, attache below.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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The Department of Transport has issued a reminder regarding several circulars in relation to compliance with Chapter IV of the Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) as it pertains to radio communications and distress alerts.

These circulars detail the following:

  • Guidance for the Reception of Maritime Safety Information and Search and Rescue Related Information as required in the GMDSS
  • Flow Chart: GMDSS Operating Guidance for Ships in Distress Situations
  • Procedure for Responding to DSC Distress Alerts by Ships
  • Guidance on Distress Alerts

The guidance set out in these circulars will come into effect on 1 January 2024 and mariners are requested to ensure that they comply with the relevant procedures.

Each of the above circulars is included as an appendix to Marine Notice No 77 of 2023, attached below.

Published in Safety
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The European Union (Registration of Persons Sailing on board Passenger Ships) Regulations 2019 (SI No 677 of 2019), transposing Council Directive 98/41/EC as amended by Directive 2002/84/EC, entered into force on 19 December 2019.

It requires the reporting of persons on board passenger ships via SafeSeasIreland or via a vessel’s Automatic Information System (AIS).

A transitional period up to 19 December 2023 was provided for in the directive and regulations which allowed the reporting of persons on board to continue via the operating company’s passenger registrar located ashore.

The requirements affect all seagoing passenger ships on international voyages and a number of domestic passenger ships.

As the transitional period will end shortly, the requirements for reporting of persons on board passenger ships from 20 December 2023 onward are set out in Marine Notice No 76 of 2023, attached below.

Published in Ports & Shipping
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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.

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