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Displaying items by tag: Skerries

The team at Skerries RNLI in North Co Dublin is calling for new volunteers to help them to save lives at sea.

In particular, the charity is looking for new volunteers to take up the roles of inshore lifeboat crew, shore crew and tractor driver.

Volunteers in each of these roles play a critical part in ensuring that the inshore Atlantic 85 lifeboat is launched quickly and safely and can continue to save lives at sea in the local community.

“Volunteering with us gives people the opportunity to make a real difference in their local community, to save lives and become part of the larger RNLI family,” Skerries RNLI lifeboat operations manager Niall McGrotty says.

“We can’t keep people safe without the support of our wonderful volunteers, who truly make a difference every day no matter which role they are fulfilling.

“Becoming a volunteer in one of these roles is a great chance to play a crucial part in helping to save lives. We’re ideally looking for enthusiastic people who live or work within close proximity to the station.”

The RNLI provides first-class training and equipment, guidance and support to all volunteers, from volunteer lifeboat crew to shop volunteers and event marshals.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Skerries RNLI responded to two calls for help, one immediately after the other on Sunday afternoon (24 October) afternoon, responding to three kayakers in difficulty near Portrane and then two sailors in difficulty near Laytown.

Shortly after 2pm, Dublin Coast Guard received a 999 call from the public reporting that there was a number of people in distress on what appeared to be an inflatable off Portrane beach.

Skerries RNLI, the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 and the coastguard boat from Howth were all tasked to respond. The volunteers in Skerries launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and the crew entered a route for Portrane.

Further information then came through from the casualties to say that they had actually been knocked off their kayaks and had lost a paddle, confirming that there were three people in the water.

Rescue 116 was first on scene, maintaining a visual on the casualties until the coastguard boat and the Skerries lifeboat arrived on scene.

One of the casualties had managed to make their way ashore. The remaining two were taken on board the coastguard boat and brought safely back to the beach.

Just minutes later, Dublin Coast Guard re-tasked Rescue 116 and Skerries RNLI to an incident involving a sailing dinghy near Laytown.

They had received 999 calls reporting that the dinghy had capsized and its sailors were having difficulty in righting it. Clogherhead RNLI were also requested to launch.

Rescue 116 was on scene very quickly and established VHF communications with the casualty vessel. At that time they were still confident of righting the vessel and making their own way ashore.

However, with the weather conditions deteriorating and a small craft warning coming into effect — conditions at the time were choppy with a Force 3-4 southerly wind — Dublin Coast Guard requested the two lifeboats to continue on their course until the casualty was confirmed on shore.

Skerries and Clogherhead lifeboats both arrived on scene minutes later. The two men on the dinghy then realised that they had suffered some structural damage to the rigging of their boat and would be unable to make it ashore unaided. The Skerries lifeboat took them under tow and returned them safely to the slipway at the River Nanny.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It was a busy afternoon for our volunteers, but thankfully both incidents had a good outcome.

“It was another great example of how the different agencies and flank stations work together to keep people safe on the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Skerries RNLI thanked two young fundraisers when they were presented with a cheque for €150 this week.

Abi Ferguson and Niamh O’Reilly presented the volunteers at the north Co Dublin lifeboat station with the generous donation before GAA training on Thursday evening (30 September).

The two girls raised the money by holding a cake sale outside Abi’s house last month. The actual total was even higher as they raised €175.

Both girls love their GAA so to thank them for their support, Abi’s father Philip — who is a long-standing member of the crew in Skerries — organised for Dublin GAA legend and RNLI ambassador Lyndsey Davey to meet the girls and help them present the cheque.

Skerries lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It’s still a very difficult environment for fundraising at the minute so it’s an incredible achievement by two youngsters. They are two future fundraising superstars.

“We’d also like to say a huge thank you to Lyndsey for giving up her time. She was fantastic with the girls who were a little starstruck at first but were soon bombarding her with questions.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Two men have been towed to safety by Skerries RNLI after their 34ft yacht experienced engine failure.

Shortly after noon yesterday (Friday 24 September), the duo reported the loss of both drive and steering via VHF radio to Dublin Coast Guard — who in turn requested the launch of Skerries’ inshore lifeboat Louis Simson.

The RNLI volunteers headed for the yacht’s reported location some two miles northeast of Lambay Island, narrowed down with the help of GPS coordinates obtained by the coastguard.

Conditions at the time had one-metre swells with a Force 5-6 southerly wind, occasionally gusting to Force 7.

Once on scene, the lifeboat helm carried out a risk assessment and decided the safest course of action would be to tow the vessel to the nearest suitable berth in Malahide Marina.

A towing bridle was rigged on board the yacht before a line was passed from the lifeboat for an astern tow as far as the entrance to Malahide Estuary, which took about an hour.

From there the tow was changed to an alongside tow, giving the lifeboat better control as it manoeuvred up the narrow channel towards the marina, where the yacht was safely tied up at the pontoon.

Speaking later, Skerries RNLI’s Gerry Canning said: “Today’s callout goes to show the importance of carrying a means to contact the shore.

“The sailors today were very experienced and had all the best equipment, but things can still go wrong out on the water. They were able to provide us with their exact location using GPS which is always a great help.

“The crew in the boat then did a great job using all their experience and training to make a difficult tow look easy.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Skerries RNLI rescued a man and a woman who got into difficulty while swimming off the north Co Dublin town this week.

The lifeboat unit was requested to launch shortly before 5pm on Thursday afternoon (16 September) after a 999 call from the public that swimmers were shouting for help off the local swimming spot known as The Captains.

The Skerries volunteers had the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson on the water within minutes of the pagers being activated, and were on scene just two minutes later.

A member of the public standing on shore at The Captains indicated the direction that the swimmers had been seen and the crew soon spotted them in the water some 300 metres offshore.

The swimmers, a man and a woman, were taken on board the lifeboat where their condition was quickly assessed.

They were experienced swimmers but had been caught by a current and as a result they had been in the water for 40 minutes and were both cold and exhausted.

The lifeboat crew made the swimmers as comfortable as possible while they returned to the station. Once there they were brought into the crew changing rooms where they were helped to dry off and begin to warm up while local doctor and volunteer crew member Jack Keane further assessed their condition.

It was decided, as a precautionary measure, to request an ambulance. Following a thorough check by the paramedics, both swimmers were soon happy enough to be on their way.

Skerries Coast Guard volunteers also responded and were on scene when the lifeboat returned to offer assistance if needed. Conditions at the time were calm, with a Force 2 southerly wind.

Speaking about the callout, press officer Gerry Canning said: “When you hear that there is a swimmer in difficulty you are immediately concerned as they are already in the water, so every second counts.

“The crew assembled very rapidly, and shore crew and tractor driver did a great job launching the boat safely and quickly.

“The member of the public who made the prompt 999 call and directed the lifeboat in the direction of the casualties played a big part too. It’s a great outcome from a serious situation.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Skerries RNLI launched to the aid of a man who had fallen from the cliffs in Loughshinny yesterday afternoon (Sunday 5 September).

The lifeboat volunteers were tasked by Dublin Coast Guard after a 999 call was received reporting that a man had fallen from the clifftop and was trapped on the rocks below.

Shortly after 1pm the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson was launched and arrived on scene within minutes. The crew quickly spotted the man at the base of the cliff face with some people assisting him.

The lifeboat was manoeuvred as close as possible to the shoreline and was greeted by one of the assistants. They were members of a diving club who had been returning from a dive nearby when they heard the man’s cries for help.

Following a quick briefing on the casualty’s condition, two of the crew made their way ashore to further assess him and perform first aid.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116 was also tasked and landed on the beach at Loughshinny, where the casualty was brought by the lifeboat and put on board the aircraft for transfer to Beaumont Hospital.

Less than 24 hours earlier, at 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon (4 September), the volunteer crew launched to a distress call from a small sailing cruiser with two people on board.

The vessel had suffered steering failure between Skerries and Balbriggan and those on board were struggling to make their way to safety.

Almost immediately after launching, the lifeboat made contact with the stricken vessel as they had managed to regain very limited steering and make their way closer to Skerries.

The lifeboat stood by while the vessel approached the harbour and then assisted them in tying up along the pier.

With the help of one of the station volunteers and a local angler, the steering component that had been damaged was successfully repaired and the pair were able to continue on their journey.

Speaking about the callouts, Skerries RNLI press officer Gerry Canning said: “This was another great example of how well all the emergency services work together, with volunteers and professionals working side by side to ensure the best possible outcome.

“We’d also like to say thank you to the gentlemen from Alpha Dive sub aqua club who did a brilliant job in raising the alarm and assisting the casualty until help arrived.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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RNLI volunteers from Skerries and Howth were tasked to Rush in north Co Dublin on Wednesday afternoon (4 August) following a Pan-Pan VHF call from small fishing boat with two on board that was taking on water near the entrance to Rogerstown Estuary.

With the possibility of persons entering the water, both lifeboats launched shortly after 4.30pm and headed for Rogerstown at the maximum possible safe speed amid moderate conditions, with a Force 4 wind.

As the inshore lifeboat from Skerries arrived on scene, they could see that the casualty vessel had sunk on the bar at the entrance to Rogerstown Estuary.

There were people in the water in the vicinity of the boat where it was grounded, however the water was shallow enough for them to stand.

As lifeboat volunteers assessed the situation, Howth RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat arrived and stood by in case of needed assistance. A ground unit from Skerries Coast Guard was also in attendance.

It was quickly established that the two people from the boat had made it to safety on the beach, but then re-entered the water trying to lay out an anchor to secure the boat.

With the aid of the Skerries RNLI crew, they managed to turn the boat to bring the bow into the waves, which enabled them to bail the boat out and refloat it.

Noting the large number of windsurfers and kitesurfers in the area, Skerries’ helm decided that the boat presented a hazard and could potentially lead to a further callout if left where it was.

The vessel was subsequently taken under tow to the nearest safe harbour at the slipway in Rogerstown. The casualties returned to shore and with the immediate danger passed, Howth RNLI were stood down and returned to station.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI’s press officer Gerry Canning said: “There is always a great deal of concern when there is the possibility of someone ending up in the water.

“Thankfully on this occasion the boat grounded on a sand bar and they were able to make their way to safety. But it highlights that things can and do go wrong at sea and shows the value of carrying a means to call for help if needed.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI were tasked by Dublin Coast Guard yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 28 July) following a 999 call from a member of the public reporting paddle boarders in difficulty in Rush Harbour.

Shortly before 3pm, the volunteer crew at Skerries RNLI launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat following the report from a concerned member of the public that two stand-up paddle boarders were unable to return to shore and were in danger of being pushed onto rocks.

The lifeboat rounded the headland at Red Island in Skerries and set a course for Rush. While en route, they first received an update that one paddle boarder had made it ashore but the other had been stranded on rocks near the harbour.

As they passed the entrance to Loughshinny Harbour, they received a further update that the second person had made it safely ashore.

The lifeboat was stood down and returned to the station, where the boat and station were bath sanitised and made ready for the next service.

Conditions at the time were slight with a Force 4 westerly wind.

Speaking about the callout, press officer Gerry Canning said: “We have a lot of people making the most of having the sea on their doorstep at the moment, so it’s vital that people continue to raise the alarm whenever they think someone is danger.

“The caller today was genuinely concerned for the safety of the paddle boarders and did the right thing in dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Skerries RNLI rescued two adults and two children on Sunday afternoon (25 July) after their inflatable kayak had been pulled out to sea by strong currents.

Just before 2pm, Dublin Coast Guard requested Skerries RNLI to launch their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat to respond to a Pan-Pan VHF call.

A group of experienced sea kayakers raised the alarm after they encountered an inflatable kayak with two adults and two children on board struggling to make way against the wind and the tide.

The lifeboat was launched and proceeded immediately to the area where the kayak had been spotted, east of Colt Island in Skerries. The crew soon spotted the inflatable, which had been towed by the other kayakers into the shelter of the island.

All four casualties were taken on board the lifeboat and found to be unharmed. To avoid any hazards to navigation or further callouts, their kayak was also taken on board and the group were returned to the shore at Skerries.

Speaking later, lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It was encouraging to see all four wearing lifejackets and they had a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch. However, no matter how prepared you are, sometimes you can get caught out.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to the other kayakers who recognised the danger of what was happening, made the call for help, and stayed with the casualty until that help arrived. They played a huge part in ensuring a good outcome.”

Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat approached the motorboat with steering failure | Credit: RNLI/Daniel ThornePortrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat approached the motorboat with steering failure | Credit: RNLI/Daniel Thorne

Elsewhere, Portrush RNLI launched on Saturday afternoon (24th July) to a report of a 34ft motorboat with steering failure just off Portballintrae on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

Once on scene, the volunteer crew performed a dynamic risk assessment and decided to tow the boat and its three crew to the nearest safe, suitable port which in this case was Portrush Harbour.

“This is a classic tow manoeuvre which our crew train are trained to do,” said lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lough Derg RNLI launched to assist 12 people on a 52ft cruiser aground inside the Goat Road at navigation mark E on the eastern shore of Lough Derg.

At 6.15pm on Tuesday evening (22 June), Valentia Coast Guard called on Lough Derg’s lifeboat volunteers and the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched 15 minutes later with helm Keith Brennan, Eleanor Hooker, Dom Sharkey and Owen Cavanagh on board.

As the lifeboat arrived on scene, at a raised shoal for migrating birds, the crew found the cruise hire company were already present and setting up to refloat the cruiser and stood by.

When the tug had the cruiser off the shoal and in safe water where it was able to make way safety, the lifeboat crew informed the coastguard and were stood down.

The callout was just the latest in a number of incidents involving grounded cruisers on Lough Derg within the last seven days.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users to “plan your passage, study your charts and don’t stray off the charted navigation routes”.

Skerries RNLI searching the shoreline from Loughshinny to Rush | Credit: RNLI/Gerry CanningSkerries RNLI searching the shoreline from Loughshinny to Rush | Credit: RNLI/Gerry Canning

Elsewhere, Skerries RNLI in north Co Dublin launched on Monday evening (21 June) following reported sightings of red distress flares near Loughshinny.

With nothing found in a search of the shoreline from Rush to Loughshinny, the inshore lifeboat was proceeding towards Lambay Island to search further out to sea when they received an update that Skerries Coast Guard were speaking to a person who was flying a drone in the area.

The drone operator confirmed that he was operating in the area where the flares were reported, and the lifeboat was stood down satisfied that the incident was a false alarm with good intent.

Lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning added: “The crew did get to enjoy a magnificent summer solstice sunset on the way home.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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