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

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

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

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

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

Published in Navy

Lifeboat crew with Castletownbere RNLI launched this afternoon (Tuesday 21 December 2010) at 3.30pm to transfer a man from Bere Island to Bantry in West Cork after he was injured in a fall.  The lifeboat crew had to step in after heavy snows made the roads in Bantry impassable and stopped the ferry running.

The man in his thirties was transferred onto the lifeboat at Bere Island and brought to Bantry to be met by a waiting fire brigade.  The casualty was then brought to hospital for treatment.  Conditions at sea were fair but with a very heavy snow falling.

Commenting on the callout Deputy Second Coxswain Paul Stevens said, "This was a callout in very challenging conditions.  Due to the heavy snowfall in West Cork the roads in some places are impassable and travel is very difficult.  We were delighted to be able to help out and ensure that the man was transferred quickly to receive emergency treatment.  Our lifeboats are there to save lives wherever we can."

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Three men are dead and a fourth has been injured after a boat went on fire and sank off the West Cork coast this evening. It happened in waters south of Roundcarrig Lighthouse off Adrigole Harbour, Bantry Bay. It is understood a serious fire broke out on the 25-foot cruiser. The RNLI lifeboat went to the cruiser's rescue at 5.45pm. There is no information currently about the type of cruiser involved.

cruiseronfire

Photo: courtesy of Castletownbere lifeboat

A Coast Guard helicopter spotted the men in the water. The boat was on fire and sinking as they arrived.

The bodies of the three victims have been removed to hospital. It is understood all four men, who were in their 60s, were living in the Glengarriff area.

One of the victims is Irish and the other two men are from other European countries. A fourth man, who survived the incident, has also been taken to hospital.

The boat sank a short while later off Roancarrig, about seven miles from the fishing port. Conditions were calm at the time with some light fog in the bay, the spokeswoman said. Officials from the Marine Casualty Investigation Board will carry out an inquiry into the incident.
It is understood investigations will centre on whether an explosion in the engine caused the fire.

Press Release from RNLI: 

Lifeboat crew with Castletownbere RNLI responded to a callout out this evening (Monday 16 August 2010) to a 25-foot cruiser on fire seven miles off the coast of Castletownbere, off Adrigole Harbour in Bantry Bay. The Shannon based Coast Guard helicopter was on scene and recovered four casualties from the water. Three were pronounced dead and one was taken to Cork University hospital for treatment.

The Castletownbere all weather lifeboat was requested to launch at 17.41 hrs in calm conditions. On arrival at the scene the lifeboat volunteers witnessed the vessel on fire and the CG helicopter was recovering the casualties from the water. The Shannon based helicopter had been out on a callout and was in the area. The lifeboat was designated on scene commander and stayed on scene until the burning cruiser sank.

Published in Rescue

Castletownbere Lifeboat was launched this afternoon at 12.20pm to go to the assistance of a 43 ft fishing vessel taking on water 17 miles south west of Castletownbere in county Cork. To view the RNLI Video scroll down to the bottom of the post.

When the lifeboat crew arrived on scene they saw that the three crew had got into a liferaft as their fishing vessel was taking on a considerable amount of water and was in danger of sinking.  

Conditions were described as fair with a large 4 metre groundswell. The Coast Guard helicopter from Shannon winched two of the fishing crew off the liferaft but a third man was in the water.  Castletownbere lifeboat crew immediately recovered the man onto the lifeboat.   With the casualty safely on the lifeboat, two RNLI crewmembers brought a salvage pump on board and proceed to pump the water from the fishing vessel.  It was then taken under tow by the lifeboat and brought back to the harbour.  

The rescued man did not need any further medical attention. The Irish Navel vessel the LE Eithne was also on scene during the rescue.   Commenting on the callout Castletownbere RNLI crewmember Paul Stevens said, “ This callout thankfully resulted in a happy ending with three men being brought to safety.  We were also able to bring the fishing vessel ashore in one piece.  I am sure the three men are in shock but they had a lucky escape.”

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Castletownbere RNLI have been granted planning permission to build a permanent lifeboat station in the town which will significantly cut the launch times for lifeboat callouts and provide a safe and secure location for dealing with casualties.
 
The announcement was made during a visit of architect Gordon J. Philip and RNLI Divisional Inspector Martyn Smith to the proposed site of the new lifeboat station in Castletownbere, County Cork.  The station is being built on reclaimed land, which was given to the charity by the Irish Government.  The cost of building the station will be in the region of €600,000 and will include crew changing facilities, meeting and training rooms and a workshop.  There will also be a lifeboat shop where members of the public can purchase lifeboat souvenirs.
 
All materials to be used in the building are being sourced from Irish suppliers and the station has been designed to the highest standards.  Work is scheduled to begin in September 2010 and due to be completed in thirty weeks.
 
The station has been operating out of temporary facilities on Dinish Island and it has meant that the lifeboat crew, who are largely based in the town, have had to travel to there and then reach the lifeboat by boarding boat.  The new arrangement will see them assemble at the station on the quayside and board the lifeboat directly from a pontoon, which will cut launch times by up to five minutes.
 
Commenting on plans for the new lifeboat station Brian O’Driscoll, Coxswain with Castletownbere RNLI said, “This lifeboat station will make a huge difference to the crew.  We expect to be able to cut around five minutes off our lifeboat launching time, which will mean a faster response time to emergencies.  Paul Stevens, Deputy Second Coxswain added that “with the lifeboat being directly accessible from the pier we will be able to land casualties ashore, allowing us to handle serious situations with sensitivity and privacy.”

 
Scottish architect Gordon J. Philip has already designed seven RNLI lifeboat stations but Castletownbere will be his first in Ireland.   Gordon who is from a fishing family is a former RNLI volunteer with Macduff RNLI, having spent four decades involved as lifeboat crew and station management.  He is very aware of the need for the lifeboat crew to have proper facilities and for the station to be an important and aesthetically pleasing part of the community it is housed in.  Gordon said, “I want this lifeboat station to be a landmark in the town for all the right reasons.  We will be building on land that didn’t even exist last year and giving the lifeboat crew of the Annette Hutton a sheltered and secure home at the front of this beautiful town.”
 
At the formal opening of the RNLI lifeboat college in Poole in 2004 Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh met the Castletownbere crew members and departed the College on Castletownbere’s lifeboat Annette Hutton. 
Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 8 of 8

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.

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