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Displaying items by tag: Gulf of Mexico

#CRUISELINERS– A vessel at first glanced resembling that of a Mississippi riverboat in reality an ocean-going cruiseship designed also to serve on the US Great Lakes, docked in Dublin Port today, reports Jehan Ashmore.

The 91m Sea Discoverer (4,954grt) berthed at the port's Ocean Pier and without any passengers on board, as the 294 capacity vessel was making an en-route repositioning voyage from the UK to mainland Europe.

Her brief port of call was to carry out a crew-change, following an overnight passage from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, where she had completed a near six-month charter.

Her owners International Shipping Partners (ISP) chartered the luxuriously appointed vessel (click PHOTOS) to Siemens Wind UK for use as an accommodation quarters for personnel working at a wind-turbine installation project.

Sea Discoverer had made a previous call to Dublin Port during August, where the vessel loaded stores and bunkers prior to completing the voyage to Barrow-in-Furness, following a trans-Atlantic voyage.

She is classified by Lloyd's Register (100 A1 LMC) and built to SOLAS (Safety at  Life at Sea) lifesaving according to 46CFR and SOLAS 2000.

The Bahamas-flagged vessel has a straight-stemmed bow and a cruiser-stern which are most unusual for a ship only completed in 2001 and to be seen in Irish waters.

Such features reflect her original 'intended' purpose as she was launched as Cape Cod Light along with an earlier sister Cape May Light at the Atlantic Marine shipyard, Jacksonville in Florida.

They were commissioned for American Classic Voyages who planned to operate the sisters in the Great Lakes during the summer months and along the US East coast during Spring and the 'Fall' and the Mexican Gulf as far as Belize for the winter.

American Classic Voyages went bankrupt right after the introduction of Cape May Light (now Sea Voyager) also owned by ISP, which manages a diverse fleet on the charter market globally.

The bankruptcy was due to the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the unfinished second sister Cape Cod Light (Sea Discoverer) was repossessed by the shipyard and eventually sold to ISP.

Incidentally American Classic Voyages had acquired the Delta Queen Steamboat Company, operators of the famous Mississippi riverboat Delta Queen, hence the design influence in the Cape May Light and her sister respectively. For photo of the 'Cape's seen moored together click HERE.

According to ISP they are negotiating another charter for Sea Discoverer, also for accommodation purposes  in Northern Europe, and they hope to have the contract completed next week.

She sailed out of Dublin Bay late this afternoon, passing The Muglins off Dalkey Island. Her brief call to Dublin Port certainly made for a most usual call by a cruiseship whose role was to operate in the Lakes and on the High Seas.

Published in Cruise Liners
Ireland's new safety framework for oil and gas extraction and production will be informed by lessons learned after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, The Irish Times reports.
A report published last week by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) outlined that the framework will be developed over the next two years, will be independent of the Department of Energy, and will be implemented in an "open and transparent manner".
The report also highlighted overlaps - and gaps - between state agencies involved in monitoring or working with the oil and gas industry.
One step towards resolving this is the CER's new remit for public safety - which applies to controversial project such as the Corrib gas field.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Ireland's new safety framework for oil and gas extraction and production will be informed by lessons learned after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, The Irish Times reports.

A report published last week by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) outlined that the framework will be developed over the next two years, will be independent of the Department of Energy, and will be implemented in an "open and transparent manner".

The report also highlighted overlaps - and gaps - between state agencies involved in monitoring or working with the oil and gas industry. 

One step towards resolving this is the CER's new remit for public safety - which applies to controversial project such as the Corrib gas field. 

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

The Marine Institute headquarters at Oranmore, Co. Galway was honoured last Saturday (6th November) by a visit from US Energy Secretary Prof. Steven Chu, himself a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and long-time advocate of alternative sources of sustainable energy.

This is the latest in a number of VIP visits to the Institute this year, which have included EU-Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and the Ambassadors to Ireland of both the USA and the United Kingdom, reflecting the growing international recognition of the Institute as a centre of excellence.

During his visit, Professor Chu was briefed by the Institute's CEO Dr Peter Heffernan and members of his senior management team on the Institute's work regarding ocean renewable energy, seabed observatories and the application of "Smart Technology" to ocean monitoring and climate change through such projects as SmartBay and SmartCoast.

He was also briefed on the results of the Irish National Seabed Survey which, at the time of its execution was the largest civilian mapping project in the world, and was given copies of "The Real Map of Ireland" showing the extent of Ireland's underwater territory.

Of particular interest to Prof. Chu, following the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, was a discussion on the use of new and developing technologies that might allow the deployment of sensor devices on the seabed to monitor offshore oil wells.

Published in Marine Science

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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