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A routine inspection of a frozen seafood shop near Alicante in Spain has revealed a trove of ancient Roman artefacts, as the Guardian reports.

Objects including a number of ceramic amphoras — receptacles for carrying oil and other liquids — had been taken from the water by the owner’s son on fishing trips in the Mediterranean and used to decorate the shop in Santa Pola, it has emerged.

The items were confiscated by the authorities and examined by experts at the local Museum of the Sea, who say they likely come from shipwrecks off the eastern Spanish coast and could date back nearly 2,000 years.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

Safehaven Marine has emerged from ‘lockdown’ with the launch of its new pilot boat for the Port of San Ciprian in Spain.

The Cork-based performance boat specialists put production on pause at the end of March, following strict Government restrictions on movement against coronavirus.

Almost completed at the time was the Interceptor 42 order for the fishing port in north-western Spain.

But as Safehaven tweeted yesterday, the boat is finally on the water for initial sea trials as the country begins its gradual reopening.

Safehaven Marine made the deal with the Spanish port — along with orders for Coruna, and Leixoes in Portugal — over a year ago, and more news is expected from the boatyard in the coming weeks.

Another recent delivery delayed by Covid-19 restrictions is an Interceptor 38 to the Port of Berbera in Somaliland, which was received in mid April.

Published in Marine Trade

The first phase of Spain’s transition towards its ‘new normal’ amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic saw boat owners yesterday (Monday 11 May) allowed to set their vessels free from moorings, as International Boat Industry reports.

‘Non-commercial cruising’ in limited groups, such as a family or people who share the same address, is limited to local waters only.

But the move will come as a relief to many recreational boaters who had been kept away from their vessels under a 50-day lockdown, one of the most restricting in Europe along with Italy.

Boat charter and rental is also permitted under the latest relaxing of regulations, with further allowances — to move outside of one’s municipality for safety and maintenance checks, for instance — expected to come with the next phase on Monday 25 May.

Neighbouring France has followed suit with its own easing of lockdown measures, which allow for navigation and mooring within 100km of home port with no more than 10 passengers on any vessel.

But the entry of vessels with a foreign flag from a port outside the Schengen zone into French territorial waters, if the destination is a port on the French coast, remains prohibited until at least next month.

And Spain’s border remains closed to all non-essential travel, with a 14-day quarantine mandated for anyone entering the country.

Published in Cruising

The Irish crew of a motor yacht were rescued after their vessel took on water and sank off the coast of Northern Spain on Friday (9 August).

Afloat.ie has learned from its skipper Vincent Duke that the Sujo, a Maltese-registered Fisher 37, was en route from A Coruña to Valentia Island at around 2am on Friday morning when a catastrophic failure of its stern gland cased the vessel to flood north of San Cibrao.

Duke and his crew Fergus Comerford and Mariusz Rozmus were picked up from their half-sunken vessel by the Spanish search and rescue vessel Salvimar Alioth.

The fate of the boat since the incident is currently unknown, as reported by regional newspaper La Voz de Galicia.

Published in Rescue
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Following delivery of their latest pilot boat for the Port of Leixoes in Portugal, the Cork Harbour performance boat specialsts at Safehaven Marine announced the signing of contracts with two Spanish ports.

The port of San Ciprian has contracted for an Interceptor 42 pilot vessel while the larger Port of Coruna to the south-west has commissioned an Interceptor 48 pilot. Both are to be delivered in mid 2020.

Safehaven Marine says its pilot craft have proven very popular in the Iberian Peninsula.

Once these latest commissions are delivered — and the ports of Gijon and Algeciras begin undertaking pilot transfers with their own Interceptors — Safehaven will have 14 pilot boats working in the peninsula.

Both new contracts were signed simultaneously after pilots from Coruna and San Ciprian were impressed by sea trials of the new Leixoes pilot, named Lada, on delivery last month.

Published in Safehaven Marine

#capsize – A Bavaria 38 yacht, with seven crew on board, enters the narrow channel leading to the port of Zumaia on the Basque coast of Spain this month with dramatic consequences. 'The swell is of medium size, the operation is dangerous, but passable' according to local photographer Gabi Aymat who shot this dramatic capsize video.

A huge wave sweeps on to the boat and rolls it over knocking some of its untethered crew over board. The good news is that the crew survived and the boat is also safe, surviving its roll without any serious damage, according to Aymat.

 

Published in Cruising

#Windsurfing - Mission 2 of the Red Bull Storm Chase to Galicia has been abandoned at the last minute due to an unstable weather forecast for the coast of northern Spain.

It's a big blow to the six waveriders who qualified for the second-stage of the global windsurfing challenge after three rounds of exciting competition in Brandon Bay less than two months ago.

The storm-force winds that swept the Kerry coast at the end of January provided the perfect conditions to test the mettle of the brave sailboarders who took to the water at the 'Dumps' ad 'Hell's Gate'.

Of the ten-strong field, six survived to advance to the second round - Marcilio Browne, Dany Bruch, Victor Fernandez, Robby Swift, Julien Taboulet and Thomas Traversa.

And Red Bull have posted a video compilation of highlights of all the action from Mission 1 in Kerry, which you can see below:

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - The Irish Times reports that surfers from around the world are flocking to Sligo in expectation of what might be Ireland's biggest waves of the year.

Breakers of up to 30 feet off Donegal Bay could be the result if growing swells in the Atlantic combine with southerly winds expected from this weekend.

“We have had 50ft waves in the past but 30ft waves would certainly be great and you would have a lot of surfers coming into Ireland to follow them," said top Irish surf pro Richie Fitzgerald.

Elsewhere, President Michael D Higgins made a recent visit to the Somo Surf Centre in Cantabria, northern Spain while attending Spanish courses ahead of his State visit to South America last month, as Oceanlook reports.

“I had already heard of the charms of Loredo and Somo," the President commented. "There are many Irishmen flying to Cantabria in search of sun and also waves to get the chance to surf.”

Published in Surfing

#420 - The Irish are making a strong showing at the Copa de Espana for the 420 class this week at Club Nautico el Candado in Malaga.

Lizzy McDowell and Cara McDowell from Malahide Yacht Club are the best of the pack so far in 20th position after four regattas on 30 points. Just behind them are the duo of Adam Hyland and Bill Staunton from the Royal St George Yacht Club on the same points.

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove of Howth Yacht Club are holding fast in 66th place on 85 points, not letting a disqualification in the third race faze them too much.

Meanwhile, Kate and Alanna Lyttle - also from the Royal St George - round out the Irish field in 79th position.

With eight regattas remaining in the competition, the action is only just warming up!

Published in 420

#FISHING - The Guardian reports that an alliance of EU member states plans to "hijack" a council meeting of the union's fisheries ministers today to prevent a ban on fish discards.

EU maritime affairs commissioner Maria Damanaki has stated her commitment to ending the practice, describing it as “unethical, a waste of natural resources and a waste of fishermen’s effort.”

Half of all fish in the North Sea - and up to two-thirds in other areas - are thrown back under the quota system implemented under the EU's common fisheries policy. The practice was recently highlighted by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 'Fish Fight' campaign.

Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney has called on EU states to support Ireland's effort to deal with fish discards, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

But some member states, led by France and Spain, have dismissed the proposed ban as "unrealistic" and "too prescriptive", and will attempt to pass a declaration to allow the practice to continue indefinitely.

According to the Guardian, the charge is being led by industrial-scale fishing enterprises who want to retain the permission to discard lower value fish in order to maximise profits.

Brussels insiders say that if the declaration were to pass it would "kill the reform".

Published in Fishing
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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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