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The Port of Waterford is to invest almost €1 million in a new pilot boat from Safehaven Marine.

Due to come unto use in September 2021, the pilot boat will be named Port Láirge, the Irish for Waterford and a name long associated with a steam-powered dredger that served the city for more than 70 years until the 1980s.

The 15-metre-long boat will provide safer working conditions for pilotage personnel, the port says.

Safehaven Marine in Co Cork won a tendering process to design and build the new boat which will be fitted with the latest marine safety technology.

Recent launches for the Youghal-based performance boatbuilders include Interceptor 48 pilot boats for Montevideo in Uruguay and the Port of Coruna in Northern Spain.

Port of Waterford Harbourmaster Capt Darren Doyle said: “We look forward to the new Port Láirge being brought into service next year.

“Our pilot boat crew and pilots do vitally important work year-round and it is essential that they have the best possible vessel to operate from.”

Published in Safehaven Marine

In the south-east Port of Waterford there has seen increased traffic through the port's main container terminal at Belview this year.

In the 10 months to 31 October, WaterfordLive writes, that the port handled 19,576 containers, an increase of 11% on the same period in 2019.

At 1.1m tonnes, bulk volumes were in line with the previous year. The port’s overall revenues for the period amounted to €5.5m which was down by approximately 10% reflecting decreased parking revenues in Waterford city centre arising from the Covid-19 restrictions.

As part of its work with Irish exporters and importers, the port’s management team are currently gauging market demand in a potential new service that would directly connect the southeast of Ireland with northern France.

Click here for more on this story. 

Published in Irish Ports

The Port of Waterford is highlighting a new report which identifies Belview Port on the River Suir as ideally places to serve Ireland’s growing offshore wind energy sector.

And it says strategic investment of €42 billion over the next 10 years could create 2,500 jobs in the sector.

Produced by the Carbon Trust for the Irish Wind Energy Association and part-funded by Green Tech Skillnet, ‘Harnessing Our Potential’ calls for strategic investment into one or more Irish ports to take advantage of the commercial opportunity of delivering 3.5GW of offshore wind by 2030. This is the level required by the State’s Climate Action Plan.

In a detailed readiness assessment of 16 Irish ports under physical characteristics and connectivity, Waterford was one of just two ports – along with Dublin, which is already regarded as at capacity – to meet all requirements.

Waterford also scored strongly for availability of additional land for development, proximity to existing offshore wind farm developments and access to the national road network.

The report’s authors say: “The [Port of Waterford’s] physical characteristics and connectivity mean it has good potential to serve the growth in offshore wind.

“t is currently one of the few ports in the Republic of Ireland capable of handling the weight of larger offshore wind turbines. Existing brownfield land at the port already in use for storing onshore wind turbines has the potential to accommodate staging with little investment or manufacturing with significant investment.

“Given the area available to the Port, it is well-placed to serve the construction stage of offshore wind with a certain level of investment. Redevelopment of other lands around Belview has also the potential for the Port to become an offshore wind cluster if the economic case can be proven.”

Commenting on the report, Port of Waterford chief executive Frank Ronan said: “There is clearly a huge commercial opportunity as Ireland moves more and more towards renewable energy to meet our international commitments to address climate change.

“This wide-ranging report puts clear data behind that opportunity and challenges all of us to seize the opportunity.

“From our own perspective at Waterford, we have been working for some time to position Belview as an ideal location for this type of activity over the coming decade and well beyond 2030. This is a central theme in both our Corporate Plan to 2023 and Masterplan to 2044.

“We look forward to further constructive engagement with multiple stakeholders to advance this ambition.”

The full report, which is available to read HERE, notes that Ireland currently lacks the ready infrastructure to build offshore wind farms, meaning that we would potentially lose “billions … unless strateguc investment decisions are made now”.

Published in Irish Ports

At the top of the agenda at New Ross Chamber is to attract a major company, writes Independent.ie

The executive group met in New Ross on Tuesday and during a lengthy meeting four priorities were outlined. Chamber President Sean Reidy said these include attracting a major company to the town within four years, local stakeholders taking back ownership of the port, getting a large new hotel for the town and attracting a major retailer to open a shop in the town centre.

Mr Reidy said stevedores at New Ross Port are seeking to have more of a say in its running, after it was announced earlier this year that Waterford Port was being lined up to take control of its operations. 'The future development of the port is a big priority as the port has a big say in New Ross and in the stakeholders in New Ross. There is the issue of it going to Waterford but we have views on that and we have stakeholders on our board who are currently in discussions with the county manager about running the port. I would hope a way could be found. On the one hand it can't be in the hands of private enterprise. We would be really emphasising our fear that will Waterford promote New Ross in the way we want it promoted. We feel New Ross stakeholders need to have a say in how it is run going forward and we are supporting the stakeholders in the town in those discussions.

Published in Irish Ports

A total of eight migrants discovered “hiding” on board a cargo ship at a port near Waterford city on Wednesday are likely to be sent back to France in the coming days.

The discovery, reports The Irish Times, was made by the crew of a “bulk cargo ship” that was travelling from St Nazaire in France to Belview Port. Three men fled the ship after being discovered, but were apprehended by gardaí a short time later.

A garda spokesman said the eight migrants, all believed to be adult males from Albania, were found to be in good health.

“Gardaí in Waterford were alerted to an incident today, Wednesday 4th December 2019, in Belview, Co Waterford where eight males were discovered by the crew in hiding on a bulk cargo ship travelling from France to Ireland,” the spokesman said in a statement.

“Garda immigration officers attached to Waterford Garda station are currently dealing with the males and they will be processed under the immigration law.”

The eight men are are believed to have stowed away on board the bulk carrier at St Nazaire before it sailed to Belview Port, where it arrived at around 9am on Wednesday. Port officials alerted gardaí to the presence of the stowaways.

For much more from the newspaper's coverage click here

Published in Irish Ports

Cargo handling capacity has been boosted by a Waterford based shipping agency by investing in a new mobile harbour crane with an innovative design that reduces its carbon footprint.

South East Port Services provide stevedoring, warehousing and ships agency services to shipping and client companies at the Port of Waterford in Belview.

The Liebherr LHM 280 was purpose-built for the port services company by Liebherr in Rostock, Germany, over a six-month period with Irish company closely involved throughout.

For more WaterfordLive reports. 

Published in Irish Ports

At the historic Port of New Ross shipping will soon be run by Belview Port in Waterford, in a controversial move planned by Wexford County Council.

As the New Ross Standard reports, the Director of Services for Economic Development Tony Larkin made the announcement at the first meeting of the new Wexford County Council term on Friday.

In an update to councillors ahead of the imminent transfer of the port from the state to Wexford County Council, Mr Larkin said: 'We are taking over the operation of the port. We have been in due diligence for two years.'

Mr Larkin said he was informed last week that the takeover process has been completed, save for three ministers signing the document which will formally allow the transfer.

'The process of having the ministers sign it has now commenced. Immediately upon transfer all assets and staff will transfer to us and we will have responsibility as the port authority. We are not in the shipping business. We are in discussions with the Port of Waterford at Belview about them acting as our agents managing the shipping for a fee.'

To read further comments from Mr Larkin and more click here. 

Published in Irish Ports

A shipping line based in the Netherlands, reports The Irish Times, will open up Waterford port to new international trade routes when it commences a weekly service on the Waterford to Rotterdam route which will act as a deep-sea feeder for Irish importers and exporters.

The Dutch operator BG Freight Line, in partnership with global shipping giant Maersk, is to commence the service on July 6th to support industry in the southeast. Effectively the move will allow goods travelling from Waterford to continue through Rotterdam to other ports such as Shanghai, whereas previously goods for destinations beyond Europe would typically have shipped from Dublin.

Part of the Peel Ports Group, BG Freight Line runs a fleet of 23 containerised vessels from its headquarters in the Netherlands. Maersk, meanwhile, is the largest container logistics organisation in the world, moving more than 12 million containers a year.

BG Freight Line chief executive Koert Luitwieler said the addition of Waterford to its network would strengthen the company’s Irish Sea network which encompassed routes from Dublin and Cork at present.

For more on this new additional Ireland-mainland Europe lo-lo service click here 

Published in Ports & Shipping

On the southern tip of County Kilkenny is located the Port of Waterford which is beginning a public consultation process seeking inputs from all stakeholders on a proposed master plan setting out how the port could develop over the 25-year period to 2044.

As the Kilkenny People writes, the port company's draft masterplan outlines various demand scenarios that will determine capacity requirements at the port. The intention is that the masterplan will provide a framework for development and position the port to respond to emerging trends and opportunities.

The first consultation sessions will be held on the 4th floor of the Marine Point office development in Belview, County Kilkenny at 11:00 and 14:30 on Wednesday, 26 June.

A further session will be held in the Passage East/Cheekpoint area of County Waterford on 18 July with the time and venue to be posted on the port’s website once confirmed.

Click here for more on the master plan. 

Published in Irish Ports

#irishports - Details of the Port of Waterford's financial results and operating performance for 2018 have been announced by the south-east port. 

The company’s accounts reports Waterford Live, show operating profits of €1.9m for the year to December 31, an increase of 12% on 2017.

Turnover in 2018 was €8m, up from €7.6m in the prior year. Shareholders funds stood at €32.7m at the year-end and the company is to pay a dividend of €330,000 to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Bulk throughput at the port in Belview, Co Kilkenny over the year amounted to 1.7m tonnes, a 28% increase on 2017 which had itself seen a 27% increase over 2016. Containers handled grew by 3% while there was strong breakbulk activity including, for example, shipments of steel and timber. This traffic reflects increased economic activity, including in the construction sector.

For more on the annual results click here.

Published in Irish Ports
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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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