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Displaying items by tag: Scotland

The UK’s Cruising Association’s Regulations and Technical Services group (RATS) has welcomed the move by the Scottish government to update its rules for marking lobster pots in Scottish waters.

The best practice guidance, which came into force on 20 June, makes unlawful the marking of a string of creels (lobster or crab pots) with anything other than a buoy made for that purpose.

RATS said it has been “vociferously campaigning” for clearer marking of static fishing gear and lobster pot markers since 2017, and will be pressing for England, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow suit.

More details on guidance for marking fishing creels in Scottish waters can be found on the Scottish government website HERE.

The Isle of Man Steam Packets' chartered in MV Arrow, which is used by the Manx ferry operator to cover freight traffic, ran aground in Aberdeen Harbour, Scotland (yesterday).

The (ro-ro freightferry),reports Manx Radio, is on a sub-charter to Serco-Northlink for Aberdeen-Northern Isles services (see related Afloat story).

According to the BBC News, the Arrow 'got into difficulties during manoeuvres on its arrival from Lerwick (Shetland) early this morning, and ran aground at the entrance to the harbour.

She was freed by harbour tugs, with no injuries reported, whilst a full investigation with the relevant parties will be conducted.

The vessel is on a long-term charter to the Steam Packet, but has been sub-charted to Serco-Northlink for two weeks.

It's being managed and crewed by Seatruck Ferries during this period.

Published in Ferry

A modern-day Viking hopes to complete an epic journey by land and sea from Norway to the Midlands despite the setbacks of stormy weather and the coronavirus pandemic.

As RTÉ News reports, Darragh Carroll left the island of Tromoya off Norway’s southeast coast last November in a traditional wooden boat named Rán, for the Norse goddess of the sea.

The chef by trade made it as far as Cape Wrath in the Scottish Highlands when Storm Brendan struck in January, and Run was stranded on the sandy band in Loch Eriboll for two months until the tides were high enough to refloat.

With the boat’s engine flooded, Carroll was forced to rely on wind power alone for the final leg from northern Scotland to the East Coast of Ireland.

But as he neared his home in Dublin, the coronavirus crisis put a roadblock on his plans to bring a flame he’d taken from Norway to the Hill of Uisneach in Co Westmeath.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under

An overdue vessel sparked a major search off Skye in western Scotland last night (Saturday 9 May) involving two RNLI stations, multiple coastguard teams and an SAR helicopter.

The operation began at 8.40pm after a four-metre RIB, reportedly with two people and a dog on board, had failed to return to Strollamus on Skye as expected.

Kyle RNLI’s lifeboat Spirit of Fred Olsen launched within minutes after a report from a concerned member of the public.

The crew began a search of the coastline and small islands from Kyleakin heading north, while volunteers with Portree RNLI did the same heading south.

With light fading fast at 10pm and still no sign of the missing RIB, the Stornoway-based HM Coastguard helicopter was tasted to the scene.

Meanwhile, one of the Kyle lifeboat crew spotted a small light on the normally uninhabited island of Scalpay, which on investigation belonged the two people from the missing RIB.

They explained that they had gone ashore after suffering engine problems with their vessel, and were uninjured by their ordeal. The crew took them back to the Skye mainland at Broadford.

Speaking of the incident, a Kyle RNLI spokesperson said: “The couple had gone out searching for whelks when they had issues with their engine, so went ashore on Scalpay.

“The initial report had said they had a dog with them, however we discovered they had decided to leave it at home on this occasion.

“This search shows that during these unprecedented times of lockdown with bans on non-essential travel, the RNLI is still on call 24 hours a day.”

Published in Scottish Waters
Tagged under

Salvors successfully offloaded the last recoverable cargo from the grounded MV Kaami in western Scotland last Thursday, 30 April.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the MV Kaami ran aground in the Minch between Skye and Lewis on 21 March, just days after leaving Drogheda Port en route for Sweden.

The MV Kaami’s eight Russian crew were rescued within hours of the incident, but the 90m cargo vessel remains at the spot known locally as Eugenie Rock.

Work began last month to remove cargo from the vessel, and divers were able to access the hold to assess any internal damage.

Weather conditions during the early part of last week made it unsafe for the salvors to board the vessel and slowed down the salvage operation.

But more settled weather on Thursday allowed for some 30 tonnes of cargo to be removed and transferred to a landing craft for disposal.

The focus of the salvage operation is now on completing repairs to make the vessel watertight and to allow for it to be refloated.

Published in Scottish Waters

Work continues at pace to remove cargo from the MV Kaami which ran aground off Skye in western Scotland after sailing from Drogheda Port last month.

A further 22 skips of cargo were removed yesterday (Monday 20 April), meaning a total of 160 skips worth of cargo have now been taken ashore.

Divers have also now been able to access the hold of the vessel to begin internal damage assessment.

The ship remains aground in the Minch between Skye and Lewis.

Stephan Hennig, the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, said: “Thanks to good weather and sea conditions, progress is being made swiftly.

“The removal of so much cargo now means we’re getting closer to the next phase of the salvage which will focus on assessing the internal damage and attempting to temporarily repair damaged sections of the ship.”

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, an exclusion zone had been stablished around the Nassau-registered cargo ship after it ran aground at Eugenie Rock within days of leaving Drogheda Port on 21 March.

The vessel’s eight Russian crew were rescued from the spot some six nautical miles north-west of Duntulm on Skye.

Published in Scottish Waters

An exclusion zone was set up around a cargo ship out of Drogheda that ran aground in Scotland’s Hebrides earlier this week, as it was battered by persisting storm conditions.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, eight crew were airlifted from the MV Kaami on Monday (23 March) after it grounded on a reef known locally as Eugenie Rock, some six nautical miles off the Isle of Skye.

The MV Kaami had left Drogheda Port less than two days previously, en route for Slite in Sweden, with a cargo of refuse-derives fuel (RDF) in pellet form.

The Press and Journal reports that a salvage team arrived on Tuesday (24 March) to inspect the abandoned vessel, while the tug Ievoli Black remained at the scene on guard.

Published in Scottish Waters

Eight crew were rescued from a cargo ship out of Drogheda that ran aground off the Isle of Skye in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides early yesterday morning (Monday 23 March).

The MV Kaami had left Drogheda Port on the evening of Saturday 21 March and was due to arrive in Slite, Sweden this weekend.

But the 90m cargo vessel ran aground in The Minch at what’s known locally as Eugenie Rock, about six nautical miles north-west of Duntulm on Skye.

Portree RNLI’s lifeboat was launched at 2.24am yesterday morning in response to a MayDay call from the MV Kaami, as did the Emergency Towing Vessel Ievoli Black and the Pharos, a Northern Lighthouse Board buoy-laying vessel.

The duty Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter arrived on scene, where weather conditions has a Force 8 southerly wind with a rough sea state, and began to airlift eight of the Russian crew to Stornoway. No injuries were reported.

Published in Scottish Waters

Bella Irvine has retired from the Lerwick Ladies Lifeboat Guild after 38 years service, since first volunteering for the Shetland Islands RNLI unit in 1982.

At a gathering at RNLI Lerwick lifeboat station to mark the occasion last Tuesday evening (4 February), members of the guild and current lifeboat crew members paid tribute to Bella’s contribution on the committee.

After her first 10 years, Bella was then treasurer for 23 years, from 1992 until 2015. Since then, she has continued to support fundraising events and activities, including volunteering in the RNLI Lerwick shop.

In recognition of her long service, Bella received a RNLI Gold Badge and Bar in 2016.

The guild raises funds for the RNLI towards the operational costs of the Lerwick lifeboat in Scotland's far nothern isles, which relies entirely on public donations.

‘She’s one in a million and will always be welcome in our shop, where she will always find the kettle on’

Throughout the year, the guild organises many events, including the popular Lifeboat Open Day in midsummer and the Lifeboat Ball later in the year. Committee members also attend country shows during the summer months to generate income and to raise the profile of the RNLI.

In 2019, the Lerwick Lifeboat Guild, including funds raised by the men’s committee, raised a total of over £44,000.

Rhoda Watt, joint chair of the Lerwick Ladies Lifeboat Guild and current treasurer, said: “Bella has been absolutely dedicated beyond measure and will be missed on our committee. She’s one in a million and will always be welcome in our shop, where she will always find the kettle on.”

Malcolm Craigie, RNLI Lerwick lifeboat operations manager, said: “The RNLI relies on dedicated fundraisers across the country to provide equipment and training for our volunteer crews, so that we’re ready to respond 24 hours a day.

“On behalf of the lifeboat crew, we’re hugely grateful to Bella for everything she has done for the Lerwick Lifeboat Guild over the last 38 years.”

Published in Scottish Waters

The volunteer crew of Oban RNLI’s lifeboat Mora Edith MacDonald faced the gale-force conditions of Storm Ciara on two separate callouts yesterday (Sunday 8 February).

At 10:14am, HM Coastguard requested an immediate launch following reports of a group of divers in difficulty to the south of Oban, in Western Scotland.

Despite challenging conditions the lifeboat reached the scene quickly, but found that the divers had already been recovered from the water.

The lifeboats small inflatable XP boat was made ready to put a crew ashore to assist with casualty care. However, the Scottish Ambulance Service and coastguard rescue teams arrived at that point and were able to assist the casualties.

At this time, further reports reached the coastguard of another diver drifting to the north. The lifeboat immediately proceeded to the scene and discovered that the object was actually the dive gear of one of the divers now being treated by the Scottish Ambulance Service.

After the crew returned to station and as they were drying off, one of the volunteers noticed a dingy drifting across Oban Bay.

It was observed that the oars were in place on the dinghy, which prompted concern that someone may have fallen from it, so the crew relaunched into Storm Ciara to ensure that no life was at risk.

Several boats were on moorings in Oban Bay and a systematic search of these moorings began. Oban Coastguard Team, who had also just returned from the previous incident located the dinghy and were able to identify a name on it.

Fortunately this allowed them to locate the owner, who was safe and well and unaware that his dinghy had gone adrift.

Published in Scottish Waters
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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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