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A humpback whale regularly spotted in Ireland’s South West has been traced to Norwegian waters in the first confirmed link between our two countries, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

Researchers and citizen scientists in the Happywhale collective made the discovery last week as they matched images of #HBIRL43 — first recorded in Ireland in 2015 — with a whale sighted in the waters of the High Arctic in the vicinity of the Svalbard arcipelago.

“This is our first international re-sighting of this individual who was the first humpback recorded this season off the Stag Rocks in West Cork,” IWDG sightings officer Pádraig Whooley says.

“We documented it this spring/summer on four occasions between 27 April and 6 June. This match suggests it travelled a minimum distance of 3,800km over a period of 75 days, a daily average of 50km.

File image of HBIRL43 sighted off off Toe Head in West Cork | Credit: Dan LetticeFile image of HBIRL43 sighted off off Toe Head in West Cork | Credit: Dan Lettice

“This sighting puts it circa 900km further north of the last known position of #HBIRL07 and is our only humpback to be recorded in what we’d term the High Arctic.”

It wasn’t the only remarkable news this week, as Whooley confirms that another Norwegian whale, #NA09849 — which has been sighted regularly off Tromso and Iceland over the last decade — was photographed this past June some 500km west of the Aran Islands.

“We’ve decided that, as this animal was so far offshore and well outside the Irish EEZ in international waters, for now anyway we’d keep it off the Irish catalogue,” he says.

“But it’s another important link to Norway and who knows just how useful these offshore encounters may prove to be in years to come as IWDG continue to unravel the mystery of this most iconic of our whales.”

Published in Marine Wildlife

A modern-day Viking hopes to complete an epic journey by land and sea from Norway to the Midlands despite the setbacks of stormy weather and the coronavirus pandemic.

As RTÉ News reports, Darragh Carroll left the island of Tromoya off Norway’s southeast coast last November in a traditional wooden boat named Rán, for the Norse goddess of the sea.

The chef by trade made it as far as Cape Wrath in the Scottish Highlands when Storm Brendan struck in January, and Run was stranded on the sandy band in Loch Eriboll for two months until the tides were high enough to refloat.

With the boat’s engine flooded, Carroll was forced to rely on wind power alone for the final leg from northern Scotland to the East Coast of Ireland.

But as he neared his home in Dublin, the coronavirus crisis put a roadblock on his plans to bring a flame he’d taken from Norway to the Hill of Uisneach in Co Westmeath.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under

Nearly 400 people have been airlifted from a cruise liner adrift off the coast of Norway, as RTÉ News reports.

More than 1,300 passengers and crew were on board the luxury liner Viking Sky yesterday (Saturday 23 March) when it sent out a Mayday after engine failure caused it to drift towards land southwest of Trondheim.

Seventeen injured passengers were hospitalised after the ship became adrift amid stormy conditions in the Norwegian Sea.

Others described chaos on board yesterday afternoon as “window panes were broken” and water began flooding the decks.

A sizeable number of the more than 900 passengers on the manifest are from the United States and Britain.

Airlifting of passengers was suspended this morning (Sunday 24 March) as weather conditions eased and tugboats were attached to move the vessel towards the nearest port at Molde.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners
Tagged under

#ShipTunnel - Norway has an engineering first in the works in the form of a tunnel for ships, as gCaptain reports.

Plans for the Stad Ship Tunnel involve blasting a 1.7km canal through the Stad Peninsula, 200km north of Bergen, bypassing a treacherous stretch of coastline.

Funding has already been confirmed for the project, though it could be more than a decade before the first vessels sail through.

Upon completion, the tunnel — at a height of 37 metres and width of over 26 metres — may even accommodate some cruise liners drawn to what’s bound to be a major visitor attraction.

gCaptain has more on the story HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Tagged under

#islandnation – "Now, why would you say that Tom?"

And when Fionán Murphy rightly challenged me about my question, I did ask myself why I had just said:

"It's unusual, isn't it, for a boat for Norway to be built in Kerry?"

"I don't know why you would say Kerry, Tom," Fionán said back to me. "Ireland maybe, but why would you say 'Kerry'? The guy involved found us, came over to us and we have a fantastic relationship with him. He has been here for two months and he will be here with us until the boat is finished. It is a great place to do business because the Norwegian currency is very strong. To do anything in Norway costs a fortune, so they are getting great value for money here and we are still getting a good price for our product. It is a great place to do business and if we can do more business there, it will be fantastic."

It was a bright exchange which I enjoyed, because it is good for an interviewer to be challenged. I was trained in radio broadcasting in the days when the interviewee was the most important person, not the interviewer. Too much of radio now centres on the personality of the programme presenter, not the interviewee. I still believe that the interviewee is the most important part of an interview, so Fionán and myself chuckled at my gaffe and as Managing Director and the man who owns Murphy Marine Services on the Shore Road in Valentia Island and so an islander, he made a strong point about Kerry and the importance of our offshore islands. I was talking with him and other members of the island community who were making the point that the Government does not show enough commitment to Ireland's offshore islands. I interviewed Fionán about the future of the island and how his boatyard, which builds, maintains and stores boats, is going.

FIONAN_MURPHY_VALENTIA_ISLAND.jpg

Fionán Murphy of Murphy Marine Services, Valentia Island

"Our predominant thing is new builds. If we get four-to-five of those a year we would be very happy. This keeps jobs on the island and that is what we need."

Fionán is also Chairman of the island's Development Company:

"Rural Ireland is in decline and we are doing what we can, but the island needs people and people need jobs to stay here. Islands need special recognition from the Government."

Fionán tells me in the interview, which you can hear here, how he started the yard fourteen years ago and how it has developed to its present stage of building boats which are sold all over Europe and how he overcame the economic, recessionary downturn.

fishing_Vessel.jpg

A new fishing vessel built in Valentia and bound for Norway

You can hear him on this current edition of THIS ISLAND NATION, Ireland's niche maritime programme, now broadcast on seven radio stations around the country and on this website. Also on the programme, the value of maritime safety training is emphasised by the interim Chief Executive of Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Michael Keatinge, who outlines how three fishermen's lives were saved when their boat capsized off the East Coast, because they had done the BIM safety course.

There's a lot more to be heard on THIS ISLAND NATION and you can Email me direct about the programme to: thisislandnatio[email protected] or leave a comment below.

Published in Island Nation

#Rescue - RTÉ News reports that a Norwegian couple have been rescued after their yacht suffered damage off the south coast.

The vessel sailed by the couple in their late 60s apparently dismasted some 160 miles off the Cork coast en route from the Azores to the Shetland Islands.

They were discovered by a passing fishing trawler early yesterday (21 May) and assisted last night by the Naval Service vessel LE Aoife, which is currently towing the stricken yacht to Castletownbere.

Lt Captain Erica Downing of the LE Aoife told RTÉ that the couple were "extremely lucky" to be spotted by the French fishing boat, having not seen any other sea traffic the previous fortnight.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

The Norwegian coastguard have taken over the hunt for a missing Dutch sailing ship which has vanished with a crew of three on board.

The Warnow was apparently heading for Norway from Scotland and should have arrived on April 22 but nothing has been heard from the ship for two weeks.

Norwegian coastguards are using helicopters with special sensors in an effort to locate the ship. Officials in Sweden, Denmark and Germany have also been warned to be on the alert for internet signals, Dutch media reported.

A spokesman for the Dutch coastguard said the final destination of the ship is unknown and it was believed to be heading for the Northern Lights.

More from: www.dutchnews.nl/news/

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

#NORWAY DROWNING - An Irishman has died in a kayaking accident in Norway, as The Irish Times reports.

UCC student and keen kayaker Colm Johnson, from Bandon in Co Cork, was paddling with four Irish friends on the "popular but challenging" Sjoa river in central Norway on Monday when he got into difficuly going over six-metre drop.

The rest of the group threw ropes from the shore to where the 25-year-old went under the surface but were unable to rescue him.

A rescue helicopter was dispatched to the scene less within an hour but was also unable to recover him, citing the operation as "very difficult" due to the narrowness of the ravine.

Johnson's body was later recovered downstream, and police in Norway are currently awaiting postmortem results.

He is survived by his parents, brother and two sisters. The Department of Foreign Affairs has offered consular assistance to the family.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#FISHING - The licence application for a proposed new deep-sea fish farm in the Aran Islands is expected to be lodged in January.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Bord Iascaigh Mhara's (BIM) planned 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm off Inis Oírr would be the largest of its kind in Europe, and would create hundreds of jobs in the area.

Commenting on the plans, Galway West Senator Fidelma Healy Eames said it was "a major opportunity for Galway and would represent a very significant economic boost for our coastal communities."

She added: "Deep sea fish farming has proven to be very economically beneficial in countries such as Norway, Chile and Scotland. It is timely that Ireland would capitalise on our fantastic marine resources as these countries have."

According to Healy Eames, the project is expected to "meet all environmental standards and will be barely visible from 2km away and effectively not visible from land.

"It would take up a negligible amount of inshore fisheries ground in the bay (0.22%) and would not interfere with existing fishing routes or Galway Bay ferry routes."

Published in Fishing
#TALL SHIPS - Eighteen vessels are on the entry list for the 2012 Tall Ships Races which are set to conclude in Dublin Port next August.
The list is dominated by British entries, with all nine UK tall ships expected to sail the third and final leg from A Coruña in northern Spain to Dublin.
Tall ships from Russia, Poland, France, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia and Belgium will also be in the fray when Ireland's capital hosts the final port of call for the 2012 races, presented by Szczecin in Poland and organised by Sail Training International - a charity established to harness sail training to develop and educate young people regardless of nationality, culture, religion, gender or social background.
The first leg of the 2012 races kicks off in Saint-Malo, France on 7 July with ships racing to Lisbon in Portugal (till 21 July); Cádiz in southern Spain (21-28 July) and A Coruña (28 July-12 August) before the final leg.
Dublin will be hosting the Tall Ships Races for the first time since 1998. Earlier this year Eamonn O’Reilly, CEO of Dublin Port Company, said he was “delighted to welcome the Tall Ships Races to Dublin Port" in 2012.
Since the announcement the port has already played host to the British tall ship Tenacious and the Norwegian vessel S/S Statsraad Lehmkuhl.
From Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 August 2012 as man as 100 ships are expected to arrive in the port and Docklands area for an event that includes a four-day festival programme of music, food and fashion showcases, markets, street theatre, water sport and water-based activities.
The weekend will also feature activities unique to the races including a crew parade, prize-giving event and a parade of sail.
Are you looking to get involved in Dublin's hosting of the Tall Ships Races? Check out the following links:
Become a trainee www.dublintallships.ie/trainees/
Take part as a volunteer www.dublintallships.ie/volunteers/
For further information see www.dublintallships.ie or e-mail [email protected]
Entry List for the Tall Ships Races 2012:
Akela (Russia)
Black Diamond Of Durham (UK)
Dar Mlodziezy (Poland)
Etoile Polaire (France)
Guayas (Ecuador)
Johanna Lucretia (UK)
John Laing (UK)
Kaliakra (Bulgaria)
Lord Nelson (UK)
Maybe (UK)
Moosk (UK)
Pelican Of London (UK)
Pogoria (Poland)
Rona II (UK)
Spaniel (Latvia)
St Iv (Estonia)
Thermopylae Clipper (UK)
Tomidi (Belgium)

#TALL SHIPS - Eighteen vessels are on the entry list for the 2012 Tall Ships Races which are set to conclude in Dublin Port next August.

The list is dominated by British entries, with all nine UK tall ships expected to sail the third and final leg from A Coruña in northern Spain to Dublin.

Tall ships from Russia, Poland, France, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia and Belgium will also be in the fray when Ireland's capital hosts the final port of call for the 2012 races, presented by Szczecin in Poland and organised by Sail Training International - a charity established to harness sail training to develop and educate young people regardless of nationality, culture, religion, gender or social background.

The first leg of the 2012 races kicks off in Saint-Malo, France on 7 July with ships racing to Lisbon in Portugal (till 21 July); Cádiz in southern Spain (21-28 July) and A Coruña (28 July-12 August) before the final leg.

Dublin will be hosting the Tall Ships Races for the first time since 1998. Earlier this year Eamonn O’Reilly, CEO of Dublin Port Company, said he was “delighted to welcome the Tall Ships Races to Dublin Port" in 2012.

Since the announcement the port has already played host to the British tall ship Tenacious and the Norwegian vessel S/S Statsraad Lehmkuhl.

From Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 August 2012 as many as 100 ships are expected to arrive in the port and Docklands area for an event that includes a four-day festival programme of music, food and fashion showcases, markets, street theatre, water sport and water-based activities. 

The weekend will also feature activities unique to the races including a crew parade, prize-giving event and a parade of sail.

Are you looking to get involved in Dublin's hosting of the Tall Ships Races? Check out the following links:

Become a trainee www.dublintallships.ie/trainees/

Take part as a volunteer www.dublintallships.ie/volunteers/

For further information see www.dublintallships.ie or e-mail [email protected]

Entry List for the Tall Ships Races 2012:

Akela (Russia)

Black Diamond Of Durham (UK)

Dar Mlodziezy (Poland)

Etoile Polaire (France)

Guayas (Ecuador)

Johanna Lucretia (UK)

John Laing (UK)

Kaliakra (Bulgaria)

Lord Nelson (UK)

Maybe (UK)

Moosk (UK)

Pelican Of London (UK)

Pogoria (Poland)

Rona II (UK)

Spaniel (Latvia)

St Iv (Estonia)

Thermopylae Clipper (UK)

Tomidi (Belgium)

 

Published in Tall Ships
Page 1 of 2

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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