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Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat was launched last night at 22:54 to go to the assistance of a seriously will fisherman on board a fishing vessel off the West Cork Coast.

Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat was tasked by Valentia Coastguard Radio at 22:46 last night to go to the assistance of a 27-metre locally-registered fishing trawler, with six persons on board, located two miles south of Mizen Head which reported that a crewman had suddenly become seriously ill.

The lifeboat was launched within minutes under the command of Coxswain Dean Hegarty and located the vessel west of Sheep’s Head.

Conditions on-scene were difficult with a three metre swell and 25-knot south-westerly winds. Two attempts were made to transfer the casualty from the fishing vessel to the lifeboat but were unsuccessful due to unfavourable conditions. The lifeboat then escorted the trawler to just inside the mouth of Castletownbere harbour where the casualty, a man in his late forties, was transferred to the lifeboat in calmer waters. 

Castletownbere RNLI with Coastguard Helicopter crew on boardThe Coastguard helicopter 115 lowered a winchman onboard the Castletownbere RNLI

The Shannon-based Sikorsky Irish Coastguard helicopter Rescue 115 was tasked and met with the lifeboat in Bantry Bay. The helicopter lowered a winchman and the casualty was successfully transferred to the helicopter for immediate evacuation to Cork University Hospital.

Commenting on the callout Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Deputy Launching Authority, Brendan O’Neill, complimented the crew on its rapid response to the call-out and thanked the coastguard for its cooperation in making this call-out successful.

Published in Fishing

Castletownbere RNLI were launched this morning (Friday 21st August 2020) at 09:03 to assist a yacht which had broken away from its moorings off the Bere Island in West Cork.

The yacht was spotted drifting in the channel between Bere Island and the mainland and being blown towards the shore in very windy conditions. A concerned member of the public raised the alarm requesting immediate assistance. 

The lifeboat was launched within minutes under the command of Coxswain Dean Hegarty and located the vessel drifting towards the shore in Force 6/7 winds. There was nobody aboard the yacht and no damage was sustained. At this stage, a local boat from Bere Island had the yacht taken under tow and the lifeboat accompanied both vessels to safety. 

Commenting on the callout Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Deputy Launching Authority, Felix O’Donoghue commended the member of the public for raising the alarm and therefore avoiding the yacht being blown ashore.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A new book providing a collection of first-hand accounts of some of the most dramatic rescues carried out by RNLI lifesavers around Ireland and the UK over the past 20 years, features an incredible feat of bravery by a Cork lifeboat crew. Told in the words of Castletownbere RNLI Coxswain Dean Hegarty, it provides a first-hand account of the dramatic rescue of a fishing crew in storm force conditions after their vessel lost all power at the harbour entrance of Castletownbere in West Cork. Six lives were saved that night and the Coxswain is set to receive a medal for gallantry, and the crew and launching authority, letters of thanks from the Institution. The book Surviving the Storms goes on sale today (Thursday 11 June) with royalties from all sales supporting the lifesaving charity.

Surviving the Storms features 11 stories of extraordinary courage and compassion at sea

Surviving the Storms features 11 stories of extraordinary courage and compassion at sea, providing a rare insight into the life-or-death decisions the RNLI have to make when battling the forces of nature and saving lives.

The Castletownbere RNLI rescue from 2018 is included with those of a Northern Ireland lifeboat mechanic who swam into a cave to rescue two teenage boys when they became trapped with a rising tide in dangerous conditions and lifeguards in Cornwall saving the lives of people, moments away from drowning. This book has an abundance of drama told from the unique perspective of the RNLI lifesavers, as well as those they rescue.

In an extract from the book Dean Hegarty, who at 24-years old had been on the lifeboat crew for five years and was a recently appointed Coxswain on his second callout in charge, explains what he saw when he and his lifeboat crew came on scene.

‘Within 10 minutes of the original mayday call, we were on the scene. What I saw when we arrived, I can’t lie; It almost gave me a heart attack. The way the tide was going out and the wind was coming in, it was churning the sea up and creating a big, watery explosion. There were huge swells reaching six metres, the height of a two-storey house, tossing the fishing boat around like a rag doll and pushing her ever closer to the sixty-metre cliffs to the west of the harbour mouth. The gales were now peaking at storm force 11. My heart started to race as I watched waves crashing up against the cliffs, with the vessel only 30 or so metres away from the rocky shoreline.’

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said: ‘Surviving the Storms is a wonderful account of selflessness and bravery although there is no book big enough to do justice to every RNLI rescue and rescuer. We have hundreds of lifeboat stations and thousands of crew members and lifeguards all dedicated to saving lives. Between them, they’ve helped so many people survive the storms and I’m proud of every one of them.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lifeboat crew at Castletownbere RNLI were launched early this morning just after 03.30 a.m. to assist a 19-metre fishing vessel which experienced difficulties off the Bull Rock off the Beara peninsula in West Cork.

The alarm was raised when the vessel, with four persons on board, experienced mechanical difficulties eleven miles west of the Bull Rock. The alarm was raised with Valentia Coastguard Radio requesting immediate assistance who in turn tasked Castletownbere lifeboat at 03.27 a.m.

The lifeboat was launched within minutes under the command of Coxswain Dean Hegarty and five crew and located the fishing vessel at 05.20 a.m. 28 miles west of Castletownbere Harbour. There was a 3-4 metre swell and the wind was Force 5 westerly.

The lifeboat took the fishing boat under tow shortly afterwards and brought it to safety within Castletownbere Harbour arriving at 12.00 midday.

Commenting on the callout Castletownbere RNLI Launching Authority Felix O’Donoghue said, ‘The crew are to be praised for their quick response and swift launch this morning. They spent eight and a half hours at sea and thankfully the outcome has been positive.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#Rowing: Ireland’s Sionna Healy placed seventh in the women’s solo at the World Coastal Championships in Hong Kong this morning. In tough, choppy, conditions, the Arklow woman clung on to sixth for most of a race which was won by Diana Dymchenko of Ukraine. Mette Petersen of Denmark finished fastest of the entire field and took sixth, while Castletownbere’s Miriam Sheehan also finished well to take eighth.

 The best-placed men’s crews for Ireland were Myross, who took tenth in the men’s coxed quadruple, and Bantry’s Andrew Hurley, who was 13th in the men’s solo.

 Belfast Boat Club’s women’s coxed quad took 11th in their A Final.  

World Coastal Rowing Championships, Hong Kong – Day Three  (Ireland crews)

Men

Quadruple coxed – A Final: 10 Myross 24 minutes 45.44 seconds. B Final (18th to 31st): 4 Galley Flash/Kilmacsimon 17:24.36.

Double – A Final:  13 Arklow (J Whooley, A Goodison) 27:01.10.

Solo – A Final: 13 Bantry (A Hurley) 30:52.53; 16 Galley Flash (J Harrington) 32.20.18.

Women

Quadruple, coxed – A Final: 11 Belfast BC 28:06.90; 15 Castletownbere/Myross (Ireland Two) 28:45.75.

Double – B Final (17th to 29th): 1 Castletownshend 20:46.01; 4 Arklow (Kinsella, Kinsella) 22:03.93, 5 Arklow (Jordan, Reid) 22:21.76.  

Solo – A Final: 7 Arklow (S Healy) 32:45.91, 8 Castletownbere (M Sheehan) 32:53.20; 12 Arklow (X Jordan) 33:25.40; 14 Galley Flash (N Hayes) 34:03.40; 16 Arkow (MA Kent) 37:22.22.

Mixed

Double – B Final (17th to 32nd): 11 Kilmacsimon 21:04.85.

Published in Coastal Rowing

#Rowing: Five Ireland entrants in the women’s solo single made it through heats into Sunday’s A Final of the World Coastal Rowing Championships in Hong Kong. Miriam Sheehan of Castletownbere placed best, taking third in the first heat, one place ahead of Sionna Healy. The Arklow sculler was one of three from her club to make it to the A Final in this class. Both women’s coxed quadruples, from Belfast and a composite of Castletownbere and Myross, also qualified for the A Final.  

 The Ireland men’s crews found the going tougher. Only the top five in the heats of the men’s double were guaranteed places in the A Final. John Whooley and Alan Goodison finished sixth in their heat - making it through. The three other Ireland crews missed out.

World Coastal Rowing Championships, Hong Kong – Day One, Heats (Ireland crews)

Men

Double (Five to A Final) – Heat One: 6 Arklow 19:04.39; 10 St Michael’s, Dublin 21:28.54.

Heat Three: 8 Kilmacsimon/Ring 21:15.37; 11 Courtmacsherry 22:53.45.  

Women

Quadruple, coxed (Eight to A Final) – Heat One: 7 Belfast BC 19:33.28.

Heat Two: 7 Castletownbere/Myross 20:40.31.

Solo (Eight to Final) – Heat One: 3 Castletownbere (M Sheehan) 22:07.48; 4 Arklow (S Healy) 22:16.07; 7 Galley Flash (N Hayes) 23:13.68; 8 Arklow (MA Kent) 24:41.77.

Heat Two: 6 Arklow (X Jordan) 24:02.30.

Published in Coastal Rowing

Marine Notice No 25 of 2019 from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport advises that there will be a deployment of ADCP current meters on the sea floor in Castletownbere, Co Cork from tomorrow, Thursday 25 July.

Current meters will be mounted in a stainless-steel frame at two locations: Lat 51°38'33.06”N, Long 009°54'42.00"W and Lat 51°38'33.00”N, Long 009°53'43.68”W.

The stainless-steel frame will be deployed from vessel An tOileanach (Callsign EI5930) for 14 days from tomorrow, subject to weather.

Surface spar-style buoys will be used to mark locations. Buoys will be a 700mm diameter yellow buoy of height approximately 1m above the water line.

The buoys will be fitted with a flashing LED light with a range of 2-3 nautical miles. The light will be set to flash 3 times every 10 seconds (duration of flash 0.3 seconds).

Published in Irish Harbours

Castletownbere’s RNLI lifeboat sprang into action to help locate a tourist reported missing on Dursey Island in West Cork yesterday afternoon (Friday 17 May).

The lifeboat, under the command of coxswain Dean Hegarty, launched shortly after 2pm after Valentia Coast Guard radio received reports that a visitor to the island off the Beara Peninsula had gone missing.

Also tasked were the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115, Derrynane Inshore Rescue Boat and the Naval Service vessel LÉ Ciara.

Once on scene, the lifeboat commenced a search of the area while Rescue 115 did a sweep of the island and spotted a person who fitted the description of the casualty.

The coastguard helicopter lowered a winchman and confirmed that the casualty was safe and well. All emergency services were then stood down.

Commenting on the callout, launching authority Paddy O’Connor said: “We are delighted at the very swift response of the crew and that the casualty was located safe and well.”

Published in Rescue

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., officially opened the new Harbour Administration building in Castletownbere and took the opportunity of his visit to the town to inspect progress on the €23.5m, 216-metre long fishing quay extension project and associated works on Dinish Island as part of Project Ireland 2040.

On opening the building the Minister said; “This building provides fit for purpose offices whereby harbour users can carry out their business with the Harbour Master in a professional and modern space. The building will be shared with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority facilitating a more efficient and effective delivery of services making it a one-stop shop for harbour users.”

"The value of landings into Castletownbere increased by 275% between 2010 and 2017"

Castletownbere is the primary urban, economic and social centre on the Beara Peninsula in South West Ireland. The harbour is one of the largest natural harbours in the world and is formed by Dinish Island to the south (hosting most of the fisheries infrastructure and processing activity) and the town of Castletownbere to the north. Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Centre is one of Ireland’s major fishing ports and is Ireland’s largest whitefish port. Proximity to rich fishing grounds makes Castletownbere an attractive fish landing location for Irish and foreign vessels.

The Minister went on to say that “The Harbour Administration Building provides a new focal point in the town and forms part of a wider and ongoing integrated Harbour Development programme. It demonstrates a commitment to rural development by this Government and spearheads further improvements in the town proposed by Cork County Council.” 

In respect of the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund co-funded €23.5m, 216m quay extension on Dinish Island the Minister said; “I took this opportunity to inspect progress on this large investment in the seafood industry in Castletownbere, and I am delighted to say that it is coming in within budget and ahead of schedule.”

The quay extension project in conjunction with the new Harbour Administration building forms part of a wider Harbour Development programme. The new extended quay will almost double the landing space available to fishermen, alleviate current congestion issues and provide for the possibility of increased fish landings and opportunities for further economic diversification compatible with the fishing industry.

Between 2010 and 2017 the value of fish landings into Castletownbere increased by 275%, from €29.9m to €112.3m, with volumes increasing by 91% over the same period from 19,030 tonnes to 36,446 tonnes.

The Minister said that “when completed the new quay will future proof the seafood sector in Castletownbere, will significantly drive forward the fishing industry and local economy on the Beara Peninsula and allow for a major expansion of the seafood support sector and other marine-related industries in the South West.”

Published in Irish Harbours
Tagged under

Gardaí in Cork have launched an investigation after human remains were recovered by the crew of a fishing vessel 180 nautical miles off Castletownbere in Co Cork at the weekend.

TheJournal.ie reports that the vessel docked in Castletownbere on Sunday evening (20 January) and the remains were transferred to Cork University Hospital where a post-mortem was performed yesterday (Tuesday 22 January).

Published in Coastal Notes
Page 1 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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