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Displaying items by tag: Scotland

A £2.5m fund to help marine tourism businesses in Scotland restart operations in 2021 will be open for applications from next week, according to Marine Industry News.

The Marine and Outdoor Tourism Restart Fund is part of an overall £104.3m support package for tourism businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the fund is aimed at supporting businesses through the expense of gearing up for the 2021 season.

Both inland and coastal operators will be eligible to apply for grants from £1,000 up to £15,000 in the VisitScotland-administered scheme, which opens at noon on Tuesday 2 February.

“Industry surveys indicated over 75% of operators in the charter and small cruise sector secured two months or less of trading in 2020,” Sail Scotland chief executive Alan Rankin said.

“Managers of local visitor moorings and pontoon services faced a vastly curtailed season, many of whom are not for profit community led groups operating on extremely thin margins.

He added: “The importance of supporting the sector at this time of year is vital, not just for direct jobs but also the valuable economic benefits marine tourism brings to rural and remote coastal and island communities.”

Marine Industry News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Scottish Waters

Scotland’s vast potential for sailing and adventure tourism post-Covid-19 is the focus of a new webinar series next week.

Marine Industry News reports on the online inaugural Adventure Tourism Week, an initiative of VisitScotland, Wild Scotland and Sail Scotland.

The five-day programme of live online seminars will explore what affects the coronavirus pandemic has had on the adventure tourism sector in Scotland, and how the region can capitalise on emerging trends around the world.

“The commercial sailing charter and holiday sectors have been severely impacted by the pandemic,” says Sail Scotland chief executive Alan Rankin.

“This event will provide a positive stepping-stone for future planning, provide a much-needed confidence boost to businesses and help focus attention on the sector that can be at the very heart of tourism recovery in Scotland.”

Marine Industry News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Scottish Waters

Three northern bottlenose whales were the subject of special rescue operation in Western Scotland yesterday (Thursday 1 October) as boats worked to guide them out to sea ahead of a major military exercise.

As the Guardian reports, rescue teams led by British Divers Marine Life Rescue formed a barrier with their boats as they coaxed the whale pod towards the Firth of Clyde and away from Loch Long, near the Faslane naval base west of Glasgow that will host the international Joint Warrior exercise next week.

The deep-water beaked whales, which are rarely seen in inshore waters, have been monitored in the area over the past month — with observers expressing concern over the health of one of the trio, even aside from their sensitivity to underwater sounds, according to BBC News.

The whales are of the same marine wildlife species that died in a stranding in Donegal this past August which was described as the largest of its kind in Ireland, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The UK’s Cruising Association’s Regulations and Technical Services group (RATS) has welcomed the move by the Scottish government to update its rules for marking lobster pots in Scottish waters.

The best practice guidance, which came into force on 20 June, makes unlawful the marking of a string of creels (lobster or crab pots) with anything other than a buoy made for that purpose.

RATS said it has been “vociferously campaigning” for clearer marking of static fishing gear and lobster pot markers since 2017, and will be pressing for England, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow suit.

More details on guidance for marking fishing creels in Scottish waters can be found on the Scottish government website HERE.

Published in Scottish Waters

The Isle of Man Steam Packets' chartered in MV Arrow, which is used by the Manx ferry operator to cover freight traffic, ran aground in Aberdeen Harbour, Scotland (yesterday).

The (ro-ro freightferry),reports Manx Radio, is on a sub-charter to Serco-Northlink for Aberdeen-Northern Isles services (see related Afloat story).

According to the BBC News, the Arrow 'got into difficulties during manoeuvres on its arrival from Lerwick (Shetland) early this morning, and ran aground at the entrance to the harbour.

She was freed by harbour tugs, with no injuries reported, whilst a full investigation with the relevant parties will be conducted.

The vessel is on a long-term charter to the Steam Packet, but has been sub-charted to Serco-Northlink for two weeks.

It's being managed and crewed by Seatruck Ferries during this period.

Published in Ferry

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

An overdue vessel sparked a major search off Skye in western Scotland last night (Saturday 9 May) involving two RNLI stations, multiple coastguard teams and an SAR helicopter.

The operation began at 8.40pm after a four-metre RIB, reportedly with two people and a dog on board, had failed to return to Strollamus on Skye as expected.

Kyle RNLI’s lifeboat Spirit of Fred Olsen launched within minutes after a report from a concerned member of the public.

The crew began a search of the coastline and small islands from Kyleakin heading north, while volunteers with Portree RNLI did the same heading south.

With light fading fast at 10pm and still no sign of the missing RIB, the Stornoway-based HM Coastguard helicopter was tasted to the scene.

Meanwhile, one of the Kyle lifeboat crew spotted a small light on the normally uninhabited island of Scalpay, which on investigation belonged the two people from the missing RIB.

They explained that they had gone ashore after suffering engine problems with their vessel, and were uninjured by their ordeal. The crew took them back to the Skye mainland at Broadford.

Speaking of the incident, a Kyle RNLI spokesperson said: “The couple had gone out searching for whelks when they had issues with their engine, so went ashore on Scalpay.

“The initial report had said they had a dog with them, however we discovered they had decided to leave it at home on this occasion.

“This search shows that during these unprecedented times of lockdown with bans on non-essential travel, the RNLI is still on call 24 hours a day.”

Published in Scottish Waters
Tagged under

Salvors successfully offloaded the last recoverable cargo from the grounded MV Kaami in western Scotland last Thursday, 30 April.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the MV Kaami ran aground in the Minch between Skye and Lewis on 21 March, just days after leaving Drogheda Port en route for Sweden.

The MV Kaami’s eight Russian crew were rescued within hours of the incident, but the 90m cargo vessel remains at the spot known locally as Eugenie Rock.

Work began last month to remove cargo from the vessel, and divers were able to access the hold to assess any internal damage.

Weather conditions during the early part of last week made it unsafe for the salvors to board the vessel and slowed down the salvage operation.

But more settled weather on Thursday allowed for some 30 tonnes of cargo to be removed and transferred to a landing craft for disposal.

The focus of the salvage operation is now on completing repairs to make the vessel watertight and to allow for it to be refloated.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Work continues at pace to remove cargo from the MV Kaami which ran aground off Skye in western Scotland after sailing from Drogheda Port last month.

A further 22 skips of cargo were removed yesterday (Monday 20 April), meaning a total of 160 skips worth of cargo have now been taken ashore.

Divers have also now been able to access the hold of the vessel to begin internal damage assessment.

The ship remains aground in the Minch between Skye and Lewis.

Stephan Hennig, the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, said: “Thanks to good weather and sea conditions, progress is being made swiftly.

“The removal of so much cargo now means we’re getting closer to the next phase of the salvage which will focus on assessing the internal damage and attempting to temporarily repair damaged sections of the ship.”

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, an exclusion zone had been stablished around the Nassau-registered cargo ship after it ran aground at Eugenie Rock within days of leaving Drogheda Port on 21 March.

The vessel’s eight Russian crew were rescued from the spot some six nautical miles north-west of Duntulm on Skye.

Published in Ports & Shipping

An exclusion zone was set up around a cargo ship out of Drogheda that ran aground in Scotland’s Hebrides earlier this week, as it was battered by persisting storm conditions.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, eight crew were airlifted from the MV Kaami on Monday (23 March) after it grounded on a reef known locally as Eugenie Rock, some six nautical miles off the Isle of Skye.

The MV Kaami had left Drogheda Port less than two days previously, en route for Slite in Sweden, with a cargo of refuse-derives fuel (RDF) in pellet form.

The Press and Journal reports that a salvage team arrived on Tuesday (24 March) to inspect the abandoned vessel, while the tug Ievoli Black remained at the scene on guard.

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.

©Afloat 2020

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