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Displaying items by tag: Menai Strait

#NewsUpdate - The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones who visited Dun Laoghaire last week for the RMS Leinster centenary, the following day paid a visit to Anglesey in north Wales to announce the Purple option as the preferred route for the third Menai Strait (Afon Menai) crossing.

According to the Welsh Government the Purple option would see a new bridge constructed to the east of the existing Britannia Bridge. Additional facilities for pedestrians and cyclists will be included as part of the scheme.

An appraisal of the options revealed the Purple option provides the highest economic benefits, offers ‘high’ value for money and is the best performing in terms of highway alignment. It was also the most popular option of the public consultation with 25 per cent of respondents selecting it as their first choice.

As part of the next stages, a procurement exercise will take place to appoint Technical Advisors to develop the preliminary design and prepare for publication of draft Orders and an Environmental Statement.

Further analysis is also required as part of the next stage of development to determine which form of bridge is most suitable. The cost of the structure is dependent on this analysis.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “The A55 is important locally, nationally and internationally. It provides the main economic artery for North Wales and connects the region with the rest of Wales, the UK and Europe. (Afloat adds see related story on Brexit and the A55)

“The Britannia Bridge is the only section of the route which is single carriageway and we know this reduction in lanes leads to congestion at peak times and during the tourist seasons. There is very strong case for increasing capacity across the Menai and I am delighted the Welsh Government is taking action to address the issue.

“Based on the appraisal undertaken on the options, the Purple Option performs best and would be vital in improving journey times, strengthening the A55’s resilience, and ensuring safer travel across the Menai Strait.

“It will also provide economic benefits and ensure the route is fit for purpose as traffic volume is expected to increase over the years to come.”

For more on the development, click here.

Published in News Update

#OLYMPICS 2012 - The RNLI will play a "key role" during the Olympic torch relay ahead of the London games this summer, as Yachting and Boating World reports.

On 28 May the Olympic torch is set to visit Anglesey in north Wales, when it is taken along the Menai Strait on board the RNLI's Annette Mary Liddington.

The torch will again be carried by RNLI volunteers on 18 July when it is ferried to shore from a tall ship in Dover harbour aboard the all-weather lifeboat City of London II.

Dover RNLI's operations manager Roy Couzens said: “We are very much looking forward to being involved on the day – and believe me, when that torch is at sea in our lifeboat, it couldn’t be in safer hands!”

The Olympic torch relay begins in Plymouth on 19 May and finishes at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July. Its two-month-long journey will take it throughout Britain and Northern Ireland, and includes a visit to Dublin on Wednesday 6 June.

An interactive map of the complete torch relay route is available on the official London 2012 website HERE.

Published in Olympics 2012

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Work on exterminating sea squirts at a marina in north Wales has begun.

The £250,000 (€301,000) project by the Countryside Council for Wales involves attaching giant bags to the subsurface structures around the marina in Holyhead, which is hoped will stop the clean flow of water to the sea squirts, causing them to suffocate and die.

Marine biologist Rohan Holt, who is managing the project, said: “If we successfully eradicate the sea squirt, we will work hard to make sure that it does not recolonise.

"This will mean careful monitoring in Holyhead marina and other marinas and popular mooring areas throughout Wales to check that it hasn’t reappeared."

The sea creature threatens shellfish by spreading like a blanket across the seabed and other surfaces.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, colonies of the invasive Japanese sea squirt are posing a throat to mussel and scallop bed in the Menai Strait between Anglesey and the mainland.

Boats from Ireland have been blamed for carrying the invasive pest into Holyhead.

The Daily Post has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Colonies of the invasive Japanese sea squirt are posing a threat to mussels and scallops in north Wales - and Irish boats are to blame, according to the Daily Post.
The sea creature - which threatens shellfish by spreading like a blanket across the seabed and other surfaces - has been discovered in Holyhead marina, allegedly carried in on the hulls of boats from Ireland.
And fears are growing that if the marine pest spreads to the Menai Strait, the effect on the local shellfish industry could be "disastrous".
To combat the problem once and for all, the Countryside Council for Wales will spend £250,000 of Welsh government funding on an extermination project at the marina, using plastic bags to smother the sea squirts and setting up quarantine facilities for incoming vessels.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Colonies of the invasive Japanese sea squirt are posing a threat to mussels and scallops in north Wales - and Irish boats are to blame, according to the Daily Post.

The sea creature - which threatens shellfish by spreading like a blanket across the seabed and other surfaces - has been discovered in Holyhead marina, allegedly carried in on the hulls of boats from Ireland. 

And fears are growing that if the marine pest spreads to the Menai Strait, the effect on the local shellfish industry could be "disastrous".

To combat the problem once and for all, the Countryside Council for Wales will spend £250,000 of Welsh government funding on an extermination project at the marina, using plastic bags to smother the sea squirts and setting up quarantine facilities for incoming vessels.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Two mussel dredger-trawlers made a rare transit of Dalkey Sound, last Friday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The sound which is located to the south of Dublin Bay is not used by commercial traffic but is frequented by pleasure-craft, local fishing boats from Dun Laoghaire. In addition to occasional traffic by the Irish Naval Service, Marine Institute research vessel RV Celtic Voyager, the GSI's RV Keary and foreign tall-ships.

Leading the pair of mussel dredgers was the Belfast registered Mytilus (B-449) named after the mussel species 'Mytilus edulis' and the Wexford registered Branding (WD-4A).
MUSSEL_DREDGERS
Mytilus in Dalkey Sound and in the backround Branding approaches from
Dublin Bay. Photo Jehan Ashmore/ShipSNAPS

The vessels were making a southerly direction as they headed across Dublin Bay towards Dalkey Island. Mytilus lowered a mussel cage bucket into the sound which was dragged on two separate occasions over a short distance running parallel between the island and the coast.

The operation was all too brief as the Mytilus then proceeded into Killiney Bay followed closely astern by Branding. Upon entering the neighbouring bay, both vessels conducted dredging activity before continuing south beyond Bray Head.

Mussel grounds are located throughout certain hotspots in the Irish Sea and earlier this month, it is reported that there was a notable increase in mussel dredgers in Bangor, Northern Ireland. The dredgers were the Mytilus and Branding which berthed at the Co. Down harbour after a lengthy period of relative inactivity.

Mytilus was built in The Netherlands by Scheepwerf Van Os Yerseke B.V. and appeared in an episode of the successful BBC TV series 'Coast'. At the time of the broadcast she was registered at Beaumaris, Anglesey and was seen working in the northern approaches of the Menai Straits. The fishery grounds are ideally suited for the growing processes required in farmed mussel production.

Branding was also built by a Dutch shipyard, Kooieman in 1988 and her design is typical of the mussel dredgers based in Wexford. The market for mussels is mainly from the northern European countries of Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

Published in Fishing

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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