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Displaying items by tag: Crime

Corrib Mask Search and Rescue is appealing for any information after its newly acquired RIB was stripped of its motor and GPS equipment.

The Zodiac boat, which was stored in the Cong area, was targeted some time between Thursday (17 September) and yesterday (Saturday 19 September) and stripped it of its Yamaha outboard engine and GPS plotter — valued together at upwards of €10,000.

Anyone in the vicinity of Cong who may have seen or heard anything, or is aware of someone trying to sell the missing parts, is encouraged to contact Claremorris Garda Station at 094 937 2080 or the Garda Confidential line at 1800 250 025.

Published in Rescue

Scammers responsible for swindling prospective boat owners out of thousands of euro may have set up a new website to lure unsuspecting customers.

Afloat.ie previously reported on the “authorised push payment” fraud scheme, which employed bogus websites using credentials stolen from reputable businesses for ‘phantom’ boat sales to victims in the UK, Ireland and elsewhere.

While those sites are no longer online, a similar website — which appears to have been registered in April of this year, in the same period when the previous sites appeared — has been flagged by concerned boaters suspicious of its ‘too good to be true’ prices.

The ‘About’ section of this site, which is riddled with spelling mistakes, claims its operators have “8 years of experience in new & used boats” and are “one of the key players on the boat market also fishing boat , speed boat and yacht boat” (sic).

While one person taken in by the previous scam managed to stop his payment going through, others were not so lucky — with 12 Irish victims losing €83,000 between them. The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Boat Sales
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A firearm was discharged by alleged offenders as fisheries officers responded to reports of an illegal net on the upper tidal River Suir late last month.

Nobody was injured in the incident as Inland Fisheries Ireland officers seized a boat, net and nine wild salmon near Carrick-on-Suir during a routine patrol on the night of Tuesday 28 July.

Gardai attended the scene and the matter is being investigated, the fisheries body adds.

IFI director David McInerney said: “The salmon caught by this illegal net were on the final leg of an arduous journey to reach their native spawning rivers.

“The fish were fresh in from the sea, having survived a journey from either the coastal waters off west Greenland or the Faroe Island, before being cruelly killed by an illegal net, a few miles from their final destination.

“It cannot be stressed enough that nobody should purchase wild salmon that does not carry either a green or white gill tag through the mouth and gill clearly displaying the name Inland Fisheries Ireland.

“I would like to highlight the dedication and courage demonstrated by the officers in tackling illegal fishing in the face of significant personal danger.”

Published in Fishing

A spate of boat vandalism at Newcastle Harbour in Co Down is putting lives at risk, a former coastguard chief claims.

John Lowry told the Belfast Telegraph that a number of boats in the Northern Ireland harbour have been damaged and loosened from their moorings over recent weeks.

The latest incident saw fellow sailors recover a boat from a nearby beach in difficult weather.

“We’re calling for the council to put more procedures in place,” said Lowry. “Part of the harbour isn't lit up at night at all and the boat owners are calling for help.”

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

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A judge at a Cork court has told two outboard motor thieves that the targeting of outboard engines for theft is a particularly disquieting crime, writes Tom MacSweeney.

At Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin refused to grant bail to the two men and remanded them in custody for sentencing on November 7.

He said that prison sentences were highly likely.

Giedrius Stoncius (30) and Giedrius Lukosius (33), both with addresses in Mallow, pleaded guilty to the charges of theft in Kinsale in February.

The court was told that the stolen property had been returned to the owners and money had been brought to the court to pay for damage.

The judge said that the methodology and extent of the offences suggested a professional organisation.

Gardaí had warned boat owners about thefts in February.

Published in Kinsale
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Coleraine Coastguard is back in business after a reported burglary at its station during Storm Gareth on Tuesday night (12 March).

Volunteers woke yesterday morning (Wednesday 13 March) to find that their station “had been broken into and ransacked”.

The North Coast station was taken offline while the PSNI completely investigations and volunteers could determine that its equipment was safe to use.

Volunteers were given the all-clear by 4.30pm yesterday to resume their rescue services.

And they have appealed for anyone with information about the burglary — one of a spate of incidents throughout the town on Tuesday night — to contact the PSNI.

Published in Coastguard

#Crime - Three men are in custody and their yacht impounded in Cork on suspicion of drug trafficking.

As RTÉ News reports, the Naval Service detained the vessel, which had sailed from South America, off the Kerry coast yesterday (Wednesday 12 September).

The boat is currently undergoing forensic examination in Kinsale, though it is understood that no drugs had been found as of this afternoon.

This incident comes a fortnight after the Naval Service was involved in the detention of a catamaran with a “significant quantity of cocaine” in the English Channel.

Published in News Update

#Speedboat - A man has been sentenced to six years in prison for the manslaughter of a woman who died after his speedboat crashed in London three years agp.

According to The Guardian, Jack Shepherd (31) was absent from sentencing at the Old Bailey after skipping bail, and police currently have a warrant out for his arrest.

The jurors heard that in December 2015, Shepherd took his date Charlotte Brown (24) to his speedboat on the River Thames while both were under the influence of alcohol, and allowed her to drive the vessel at “full throttle”.

The boat crashed into a submerged log before capsizing and throwing both Shepherd and Brown into the river.

Brown showed symptoms of hypothermia and cardiac arrest when she was recovered from the water, and was pronounced dead later.

Neither Brown nor Shepherd was wearing a lifejacket, and Shepherd — who had previously been pulled over a number of times for speeding on the river — admitted in a police interview that he did not inform Brown, who had no boating experience, about the safety devices on board.

Police also said the speedboat itself had a number of defects, including a ‘wobble’ in its steering.

Mail Online has video recorded by Brown on her phone of part of the pair’s speedboat trip, in which she can be heard commenting that Shepherd was “going so fast”.

Judge Richard Marks QC, in his sentencing remarks, said Shepherd had a “totally cavalier attitude to safety”. The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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Youghal in East Cork has been appointed its first full-time Harbour Master.

According to the East Cork Journal, the move is expected to boost Youghal as a destination for boating visitors in tandem with the new harbour pontoon.

Cork County Council advertised for the ‘full time and pensionable’ post last December, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The new Harbour Master, who is expected take up their role next month, will also have responsibility for the coastline to nearby Ballycotton.

The appointment comes on the heels of new council bye-laws that give Harbour Masters and proposed ‘harbour constables’ greater authority to deal with mooring fees, abandoned vessels and criminal activity.

Youghal has been the focus of a spate of outboard engine thefts in recent weeks.

The East Cork Journal has more on the story HERE.

Published in Irish Marinas

#EngineThefts - Gardaí have warned boaters in East Cork over a spate of outboard engine thefts along the coast in recent weeks, as the Evening Echo reports.

Five of such engines have been reported stolen from vessels in Youghal and Lower Aghada the last three weeks alone — with the loot likely to be sold abroad on the black market.

The Evening Echo has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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Ireland's Commercial Fishing 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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