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Displaying items by tag: Royal Navy

#RESCUE - The Royal Navy search and rescue unit at HMS Gannet was the busiest in the UK last year, STV News reports.

The unit - based in Prestwick, near Glasgow - responded to nearly 300 call-outs and rescued 240 people in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland throughout 2011 with its fleet of Sea King helicopters.

The big numbers put HMS Gannet at the top of the UK's 12 search and rescue units for the fifth year running.

"Like all emergency services, we work under significant pressure and always aim to provide the best service we possibly can," said HMS Gannet's Lieutenant Commander Debdash Bhattacharya. "Frequently lives depend on it."

Since 2007 the unit has rescued 1,575 people from 1,865 call-outs in total. Last year's call-outs represented 17% of all call-outs from military bases in the UK.

STV News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#WEATHER - A new project has been launched encouraging web users to help recover worldwide weather data recorded by Royal Navy ships a century ago.

Old Weather is 'crowdsourcing' volunteers to assist in transcribing weather readings and location data from First World War ships' logs into a database, in order to identify weather patterns and extremes the world over.

At present the site needs help transcribing data from 27 Royal Navy vessels and the courses they sailed, from Britain and Ireland to the farthest reaches of the globe.

The more people that take part in Old Weather, the more accurate the data extracted from the ships' logs will be.

Each logbook will be also looked at by more than one person, allowing mistakes and errors to be filtered out.

The historical data will enable scientists to improve their understanding of weather variabilty in the past and in turn improve their ability to predict weather and climate in the future.

For more details visit www.OldWeather.org.

Published in Weather
1st December 2011

NATO Foils Pirate Attack

#PIRATES– On 28 November, the Royal Navy vessel, RFA Fort Victoria was patrolling in an area approximately 420 nautical miles from the Seychelles and 350 nautical miles from the Somali coast as part of NATO's counter piracy task force 508.

Early that morning, she received information that a Spanish fishing vessel operating to the north of their position had come under attack from a group of pirate vessels to the North of their position. The ship's Lynx helicopter was quickly despatched to investigate.

Once at the scene, the helicopter identified two suspect vessels, a whaler and a skiff, in the vicinity of the fishing vessel. The faster of the two, a skiff, sped away at over 25 knots as the helicopter gave chase. When the skiff ignored orders to stop, the Lynx helicopter fired warning shots ahead of the fleeing vessel which stopped and the suspected pirates onboard were then transferred to Fort Victoria via boat.

pirate

RFA Fort Victoria was approached by a pirate skiff at speed as they attempted to board her, However after Fort Vic laid down warning shots using their Miniguns the pirates had a sudden change of heart and started to make a run for it. Fort Vic gave chase and launched her boarding teams to stop them.

Fort Victoria's Royal Marines boarding team then boarded the whaler and another skiff in the vicinity. As a result of the day's action, a total of seven suspected pirates were detained onboard Fort Victoria along with their whaler as evidence, with no injuries being sustained by either side.

Captain Gerry Northwood Royal Navy, embarked in Fort Victoria said:

"It has been a long but rewarding operation with many complex aspects. Operating under NATO tasking and in consultation with our headquarters in the Middle East and in the UK, we utilised a range of national and international assets to bring these events to a satisfactory conclusion. Fort Victoria has once again demonstrated that multinational coordination can be successfully deployed to disrupt piracy in this area in order to protect international merchant shipping."

Published in Ports & Shipping
20th November 2011

Anglo-Irish Relationships

#NAVAL VISITS- HMS Tyne (P281) the leadship of four River-class Fishery Protection Vessels is due to dock in Dublin Port tomorrow, in the meantime her allocated berth is currently taken by a former Royal Navy (RN) vessel now serving in the Irish Naval Service (INS), writes Jehan Ashmore.

The INS L.É. Ciara (P42) docked at Sir John Rogersons Quay (berth No.8) yesterday evening after spending the previous day with a call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour's St. Michaels Wharf. Tomorrow she is due to depart in advance of HMS Tyne's morning arrival.

Unusually she and her three sisters are leased to the RN from BAE Systems (who retain responsibility for any major maintenance and upkeep) and shipbuilding partners, Vosper Thornycroft, Southampton which built all of the River-class. To read more about the quartet click HERE.

L.É. Ciara was originally launched as HMS Swallow (P242) at Hall Russell Shipyard, Aberdeen and in 1984 was commissioned for the RN, forming one of five 'Peacock' class coastal patrol vessels (CPV). She served her entire RN career with sisters designed specifically for the Hong Kong Squadron.

In 1988 the INS purchased her alongside a sister HMS Swift (P243) and the pair set sail from the UK colony for Cork Harbour. L.É. Ciara and her sister which became L.É. Orla (P41) were commissioned into the service after a ceremony performed by An Taoiseach C.J. Haughey at the Naval Base in Haulbowline.

Amongst the eight-strong INS fleet is L.É. Emer (P21) commissioned in 1978, an improved version of the Deirdre-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV). She appeared along with a sister of the River-class ship, HMS Severn in the Irish language river series 'Abhainn' which returned to our screens on RTE 1 last month, during the episode about the River Foyle /An Feabhal. The naval vessels were attending 'Foyle Days' in May as previously reported on Afloat.ie

Published in Navy
The Royal Navy's HMS Portland (F79) a 4,900 tonnes displacement Type 23 Duke –class frigate built as the last of fifteen such vessels a decade ago is on a weekend visit to Dublin Port, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Launched in 1999 at the shipyard of the then Marconi Marine at Scotstown on the Clyde, she then entered service two year later. During her contractor's sea trials she achieved a top speed of 30.8 knots and claims this as a record across the entire class.

She measures 133m (436ft) long and on a beam of 16.1m (52.9ft) and has a crew compliment of 185 in total. An array of highly sophisticated arnament is packed on board in addition she can convey a Lynx helicopter. Propulsion is derived from a combined use of diesel and gas (CODLAG) .To read more about the penultimate Type 23 class and her sisters click HERE

Published in Navy
In recognition of her service to the sea and Britain's maritime heritage, record-breaking British yachtswoman Dee Caffari MBE has been appointed by the Royal Navy as an Honorary Commander.

Caffari, who set her third world record earlier this year by sailing non-stop around the planet more times than any other woman in history, joins the likes of adventurer Bear Grylls and fellow British yachtswoman Dame Ellen McArthur who have both received similar naval distinctions. On receiving the news that her appointment had been approved by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a delighted Caffari said:

"It is an honour to be recognised for my achievements and support of the armed forces. I have enjoyed the links I have established and maintained with the Royal Navy and look forward to being presented with my uniform! Having not worn a uniform since school, I am excited about preparing for my role at Dartmouth, being fitted with a uniform and learning to salute correctly"

One of the main links Caffari has with the navy is through her work as an ambassador for the tri service initiative, Toe In The Water. The volunteer based charity uses competitive sailing as a direct extension of the rehabilitation programmes carried by the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Headley Court to re-inspire profoundly and traumatically injured service personnel to explore life beyond their injuries. Caffari first competed with Toe in the Water at the Dartmouth Regatta in 2009 and has continued to work closely with them since them, racing alongside many injured and able-bodied Royal Navy and Royal Marines crew members, as well as soldiers and airmen.

Director General of Army Medicine and Toe in the Water Chairman, Major General M von Bertele OBE commented:

"Dee has been a great inspiration to many of our injured servicemen and women and her energy, genuine enthusiasm and commitment to the work we do is invaluable. It's great to see her dedication and passion recognised in this way."

Caffari's next goal is to compete in the Vendée Globe 2012 with the intention of securing a podium position and the search for a new title sponsor to support her on-going sailing campaign continues.

Published in Offshore
This weekend's 'Foyle Days' in the north-west city is set to welcome two offshore patrol vessels (OPV) the Naval Service LE Emer (P21) and the Royal Navy's HMS Severn (P 283), writes Jehan Ashmore.
The maritime event includes a variety of sailing organisations and accompanying craft to include the 96ft tall-ship schooner Johanna Lucretia. In addition the festival's star visitor attraction will be the inaugural call of the 68ft yacht Derry-Londonderry which is to take part in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.

On the naval front, LE Emer was built in Cork's Verolme Dockyard in 1978. She represents the oldest of the eight-strong fleet and is designed from the Naval Service's first purpose built patrol vessel OPV LE Deirdre (P20) but was modified to improve her stability and speed. This vessel was decommissioned several years ago and was converted into a private yacht.

The original BOFORS 40mm L60 gun of the LE Emer was recently upgraded to a BOFORS 40mm L70 to improve range and accuracy of her main armament. She alongside her 65m sisters LE Aoife (P22) and LE Aisling (P23) where all built primarily to patrol the Irish section of the European Economic Zone (EEZ).

During their careers the 'Emer' class vessels have also completed numerous re-supply missions to Irish troops serving overseas with the United Nations and in particular in the Lebanon. A crew compliment of 46 (5 officers) operate the vessels which are all now in their fourth decade of service.

OPV HMS Severn is the third of four 'River' class offshore patrol vessels and like her Irish counterpart is deployed on fishery duties. The 1,677 displacement tonnes vessel was built in 2001 in the UK'S south coast port of Southampton at Woolston Docks. Her home port for the 30 crew is at HM Naval Base in neighbouring Portsmouth.

She becomes the fifth ship to bear the name and with sisters HMS Mersey (P 282) and HMS Tyne (P 281) they are assigned to the Fishery Protection Squadron. Click the ship's diary to follow the ship news. The final member of the River class HMS Clyde (P 257) serves as a Falklands Islands Patrol Vessel (FIPV).

Published in Navy
An Irish fishing vessel was detained for alleged breaches of the fishery regulations by the navy's OPV L.E. Niamh (P52) some 65-miles off the west Galway coast, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The detention took place just after midnight on Wednesday and the trawler was escorted into Castletownbere and handed over to the Gardai.
The LE Niamh is an offshore patrol vessel (CPV) that was built in 2001 by Appledore Shipbuilders near Bideford. Her elder sister LE Roisin (P51) was also built at the north Devon shipyard in 1999. 

Less then a month ago the Naval Service detained a Northern Irish registered fishing vessel the Lynn Marie seven miles east off Bray Head. Onboard was a crew of 4 UK nationals who were taken into custody to the Gardai after the trawler was escorted by the CPV L.E. Orla to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. To read more about this detention click here.

Ironically the L.E. Orla was a former Royal Naval vessel, HMS Swift (P241) which was deployed on her first assignment to the Hong Kong Patrol Squadron for a four-year period. In 1988 Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party Government disposed HMS Swift and HMS Swallow (P242) to the Irish Naval Service. The pair were built by Hall Russell Shipyard of Aberdeen as part of an eight 'Peacock' class coastal patrol vessel (CPV).

The 'Peacock' pair were commissioned into the Naval Service and renamed L.E. Orla (P41) and L.E. Ciara (P42) in a ceremony attended by An Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey at the Naval Base in Haulbowline, Cork Harbour.

This weeks' detention is the second conducted by the Naval Service in 2011. Last year the Naval Service carried out 1,666 vessel boardings which resulted in 70 warnings and eight detentions.

Published in Navy
One of the of first officers appointed to the Irish Naval Service, Cdr Liam Ahern passed away last week in Cork aged 90. Ahern was recruited into the new Irish Naval Service which had been established in 1947 following the running down of the Marine and Coastwatching Service at the end of World War II.
He was posted onto the corvettes L.É. Macha and L.É. Maeve and became a lieutenant in 1956 and rose to the position of commander in 1968. After a career at sea he moved to a shorebased position within the navy's dockyard engineering service and retired as senior marine engineer officer.

Following his retirement in September 1980 he worked with Irish Shipping Ltd for a further five years during the construction of the state-owned company ships at the Verolme Cork Dockyard. At the same dockyard, he had also been closely involved in the design and commissioning of the Naval Service's helicopter patrol vessel L.É. Eithne, its largest vessel which was built in 1984.

To read more about the distinguished career of Cdr Liam Ahern and also his wartime role in the Royal Navy, his obituary is published in today's Irish Times.

Jehan Ashmore adds that the L.É. Eithne arrived into Dublin Port this morning to dock at Sir John Rogersons Quay next to the French Navy minehunter Cassiopée (M642) and mine-route survey craft Altaïr, which have been on a visit to the capital for the St. Patrick's festivities.

At 1,760 tonnes the L.É. Eithne is not only the largest vessel of Ireland's eight-strong fleet but is also the last ship of any type built in the Republic of Ireland. For a photo of the 27-year-old ship seen off Cobh (where Cdr Ahern was born) click here.

The 80m vessel has a crew of 85 (9 Officers and 77 ratings). Her main armament is a Bofors 57mm anti-aircraft gun with a LIOD fire control system and two 20mm Rheinmetals.

In 1986 L.É. Eithne made a historic visit as the first Irish Naval Service ship to cross the Atlantic, where she sailed to the United States, visiting Hamilton, New York and Boston. A decade later she became the first Irish Naval ship to tour the continent of South America.

Published in Navy

The Royal Naval frigate HMS Cumberland (F85) departed Malta today, to conduct a second evacuation mission of stranded nationals in Libya. In the early hours of this morning, HMS Cumberland had arrived into the Grand Harbour, Valetta, Malta with 207 stranded people, after departing the port of  Benghazi on Thursday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Onboard the 5,300 displacement vessel (see photo) were 68 British nationals and 138 passengers from other nations who were rescued after the frigate docked at Benghazi, the second city of Libya. During the turmoil, 12 Irish citizens also managed to escape by boarding one of two vessels involved in assisting foreign nationals at the port which included HMS Cumberland.

According to the Commanding Officer, Captain Steve Dainton, said: "The ship's company have responded magnificently. Ten days ago we were off the coast of Somalia conducting counter-piracy operations. I think it gives an indication of the flexibility and the versatility of a British warship and indeed of the ship's company onboard."

Following the first evacuation, HMS York was expected to arrive in the vicinity of the Libyan coast, should further assistance be required by HMS Cumberland. To read on the latest developments click here and this link too.

In addition the US authorities had chartered a fast-ferry catamaran to bring back stranded US nationals and other nationalities from Tripoli, the capital of Libya. The fast-craft vessel arrived in Valetta last night.

As the crisis was unfolding in Libya, HMS Cumberland was returning to the UK via the Suez Canal after completing a four-month operation in the Gulf, where her duties included helping to protect Iraqi oil platforms. The installations account for nearly 90% of Iraq's national income.

A sistership of HMS Cumberland, the 1986 built frigate, HMS Chatham (F87) was the last Royal Naval visitor to call at Dublin in late November
(click here and for photo). 

At the time of HMS Chatham's visit to the capital, the 1988 built frigate had recently returned to UK waters, after also been engaged on anti-piracy duties, while off Somalia.

When HMS Cumberland has completed duties off Libya, the frigate, as originally planned is due to resume her voyage home to UK waters. The British Ministry of Defence are to decommission the 23-year old vessel.

Both frigates are 'Broadsword' Type 22 Frigates (Batch 3) along with HMS Campeltown (F99) HMS Cornwall (F86). All four frigates were launched during the mid 1980's and have a crew of 250-sailors.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 5 of 6

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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