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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

RNLI lifeboat crews from Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour were requested to launch yesterday (Tuesday 20 October) after reports that a 4,000-tonne cargo vessel, the Lily B, had lost all power and was in danger of hitting rocks south of Hook Head in Wexford. The cargo vessel with a crew of nine onboard, was carrying coal when it lost power and came within a half a nautical mile of coming ashore on the Hook.

As Afloat reported yesterday, the call for help came in around 3pm when the Irish Coast Guard in Dublin requested lifeboats from Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare launch to the scene, just south of Hook Head in Wexford. The Coast Guard helicopter from Waterford, Rescue 117 was also tasked, monitoring from overhead and ready to assist with evacuation of the crew if needed.

The Lily B cargo vessel had no power - Battling strong waves over six metres high, the three lifeboat crews worked together to ensure the cargo vessel stayed away from the rocksThe Lily B cargo vessel had no power - Battling strong waves over six metres high, the three lifeboat crews worked together to ensure the cargo vessel stayed away from the rocks. See vid below.

In force eight conditions, Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay RNLI established tow lines onto the drifting vessel which was then very close to the rocks. The two lifeboats maintained the tow and kept the cargo ship away from shore while a tug was en route from Waterford. Rosslare RNLI stood by.

Battling strong waves over six metres high, the three lifeboat crews worked together to ensure the cargo vessel stayed away from the rocks until the tow was passed to the tug on its arrival at 5.40pm. Escorting the vessels until they reached the calmer waters of Waterford Harbour in the early hours of Wednesday (21 October) the lifeboat crews were eventually stood down and returned to station.

Speaking on the callout Rosslare RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager David Maloney said, ‘ If it wasn’t for the work of the three lifeboat crews out in force eight conditions I fear the vessel would have hit the rocks and there could have been a serious loss of life. The 4,000-tonne vessel came within a half a mile of the shore and Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay lifeboat crews had an incredibly difficult job in keeping it away from the rocks.

The powerless Lily B was caught in big waves and came within half a mile of the Wexford shoreThe powerless Lily B was caught in big waves and came within half a mile of the Wexford shore

‘The seas were huge, and it would not have been pleasant for anyone out there in those conditions. The lifeboat crews were out for over twelve hours in a callout that involved serious skill and concentration and I am tremendously proud of all three lifeboat crews involved. Thankfully we did not have a tragedy today.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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In a major mobilisation of rescue services off the south-east coast this evening, the Irish Coast Guard is coordinating assistance being provided to a cargo vessel that has lost power off the Waterford Harbour.

The Coast Guard said in a statement this evening, The ship, which is carrying a cargo of coal reported to MRCC Dublin earlier this afternoon that it had lost power.

RNLI Lifeboats from Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare, as well as the Waterford based Coast Guard Helicopter and Fethard Coast Guard unit, were immediately tasked. A Waterford based tug is expected on scene shortly after 6 pm.

Coal ship trackThe track of the 99-metre ship which was on its way to New Ross from Germany when it lost power off the Waterford coast.

The Coast Guard has described the situation as stable and the vessel with Lifeboat assistance is drifting in an Easterly direction pending arrival of the Tug.

More news on this as it becomes available

Published in Ports & Shipping
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Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteers were called twice in succession to aid two people in need of medical attention in the Galway Bay islands yesterday morning, Monday 19 October.

The lifeboat crew were tasked to launch their all-weather vessel David Kirkaldy from Kilronan on Inis Mór at 11.31am, to assist an elderly man on the neighbouring island of Inis Meáin.

A second call came in quick succession when a woman on Inis Mór also required medical evacuation.

This second patient was attended to first and safely secured on board before the lifeboat launched for Inis Meáin under coxswain John O’Donnell and a full crew.

Weather conditions at the time of launching were moderate with poor visibility, but with calm seas and a south-east wind blowing Force 4–5.

Once alongside the pier at Inis Meáin, the male patient was transferred safely aboard and under the supervision of the volunteer crew, observing all coronavirus safety guidelines.

The lifeboat then headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour on the mainland and an awaiting ambulance.

Speaking later, O’Donnell said: “A double callout to start the week — the volunteer crew members train regularly to make the minutes count and get to the incident and patient as fast as possible.

“We would like to wish both patients a speedy recovery.

“Never hesitate to call 999 or 112 if you see someone in trouble and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Baltimore RNLI was called out to provide a medical evacuation late last night (Sunday 18 October) from Sherkin Island off the coast of Baltimore, West Cork. 

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 11.39 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide medical assistance and evacuation to a female who had sustained an injury to her arm. 

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew along with two HSE paramedics arrived at Sherkin Island pier at 11.47 pm.  The voluntary lifeboat crew brought the casualty onboard the lifeboat.  After an initial assessment was carried out by the HSE paramedics, a lifeboat crew member assisted in the administration of casualty care and the casualty was able to return home.  The lifeboat then departed Sherkin at 00.07 am and arrived to the station in Baltimore at 00.18 am. 

There were five volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Kieran Cotter, Mechanic Micheal Cottrell and crew members Ronnie Carthy, Sean McCarthy and David Ryan, along with two paramedics from the HSE.  Conditions in the harbour during the call out were calm with a south-easterly force 5 wind, which created heavy runs at Sherkin pier.

Published in Island News

The RNLI recorded one of their more unusual launches yesterday evening (Saturday 17 October) after a World War II-era seaplane made a distress call from Loch Ness.

It emerged that the aircraft, the PBY Catalina, had experienced engine issues while attempting to take off from the loch in the Scottish Highlands.

With the plane sitting exposed in the middle of the water, not far from Loch Ness RNLI’s lifeboat station, it was decided the safest way to assist would be to establish a tow with the inshore lifeboat RIB to the shelter of Urquhart Bay close by.

Typing up at a harbour or pontoon was ruled out, however, due to the flying boat’s massive 32-metre wingspan — so a mooring buoy was decided as the best option.

Lifeboat crew member David Ferguson later spoke of the challenges involved in towing a craft as big and unusual as this.

“Towing the Catalina would prove to be no easy feat,” he said. “Fixing points are few and far between on such an aircraft, and the best option was underneath the tail, which barely cleared the bow of the lifeboat.

“Nevertheless, with some care, we managed to establish a towline.”

Elsewhere in Scotland this weekend, Oban RNLI in Western Scotland launched on Friday evening (16 October) after a small boat was reported drifting through the Falls of Lora.

With a flooding tide and strong currents from the falls, it was believed the boat had been carried into Loch Etive, which is where Oban’s all-weather lifeboat Mora Edith MacDonald headed to conduct the search.

The lifeboat searched the area the boat was seen drifting towards, but with nothing found they continued further into the loch where they spotted the boat adrift to the west of Ardchattan church.

The unoccupied boat was then taken under tow to a nearby nearby pier where it was recovered by Oban’s HM Coastguard team.

Published in Scottish Waters
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Skerries RNLI recently launched to the rescue of a yacht with one person aboard that was adrift in the Skerries Islands.

The incident occurred on Thursday morning 15 October, when the yacht made a VHF distress call that was relayed to the local lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard in Dublin.

Lifeboat volunteers launched the Atlantic 85 inshore vessel Louis Simson shortly before 10am and headed to the reported location, some two miles east of the islands.

As they rounded the headland at Red Island, however, they spotted an eight-metre yacht between Colt Island and Shenick Island that did not seem to be making way.

The crew checked on this yacht in case the initial information given to the coastguard had not been accurate, and it was quickly determined to be the same vessel.

It emerged that the yacht’s engine had suffered a “sudden and complete” loss of oil pressure, so a tow was established and the vessel was bright to the safety of Rogerstown harbour — where it has already been schedueld for lift-out for the winter months.

Speaking after the callout, Skerries RNLI press officer Gerry Canning said: “Things can go wrong at sea no matter how prepared you are. Always carry a means of contacting the shore to raise the alarm, like this gentleman did.

“Our volunteers are always ready to respond to that call.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The team at Fenit RNLI in County Kerry is calling for new volunteers to help them to save lives at sea.

The charity is looking for volunteers to take up the Deputy Launching Authority role at the station. This role will authorise the launch of the station’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats, provide leadership in the absence of the Lifeboat Operations Manager and oversee that all operational activities are carried out to ensure the lifeboats and all associated equipment are maintained in readiness for launching on service.

Fenit RNLI is seeking team players with leadership skills and local maritime knowledge. The role is best suited to those who live within good proximity of the lifeboat station.

The call-out follows Fenit's welcome of the first female appointment of a Lifeboat Coxswain in Ireland in September. 

Fenit RNLI which re-opened in 1994, after a gap of 25 years, and today operates both an all-weather Trent class lifeboat and an inshore D class lifeboat, launched its lifeboats 27 times last year bringing 28 people to safety.

Ger O’Donnell, Fenit RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager is now calling on new volunteers to find out more: ‘Volunteering with us gives people the opportunity to make a real difference in their local community, to save lives and become part of the larger RNLI family. We can’t keep people safe without the support of our wonderful volunteers, who truly make a difference every day no matter which role they are fulfilling.

‘Becoming a volunteer Deputy Launching Authority is a great chance to play a crucial part in helping to save lives. We are looking for enthusiastic people who are willing to offer some of their free time to join what I believe to be, one of the most rewarding voluntary services that is out there. Every volunteer receives first-class training from the RNLI and learns new skills which can benefit them in many walks of life. Full training will be supplied to ensure Deputy Launching Authorities can authorise the launch of our lifeboats, provide the necessary leadership for our volunteer crew and ensure that all operational activities are carried out to maintain the lifeboats and equipment for launching on a call out.’

Anyone interested in finding out more or wants to apply is asked to email Rob King, Area Lifesaving Manager at [email protected] or Fenit RNLI at [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Fethard RNLI responded to two incidents in a 24-hour period over the weekend after two vessels, each with two people onboard, got into difficulty in the Waterford estuary.

The first call-out came on Friday evening (9 October), when the volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 5.15 pm and go to the aid of a Bayliner cruiser with two people on board that had suffered mechanical issues. The vessel had lost power and found itself in difficulty.

Fethard RNLI’s D-Class lifeboat launched from Duncannon Beach and the crew were soon alongside the casualty vessel. There were calm waters at the time and a Force 3 westerly wind. The crew assessed the situation and found that those onboard were safe and well. A towline was then established, and the vessel was towed to the safety of Dunmore East Harbour.

Second call out

A second call out came on Saturday afternoon (10 October) when the Irish Coast Guard requested the lifeboat to go to the aid of a 35ft vessel that had ran aground at the spider buoy near King’s Bay. Dunmore East RNLI’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat was also requested to launch. Due to the size of the vessel, it was decided that it should stay and await a flooding tide to get it off the sandbank. The crew of Fethard lifeboat assisted the two-person crew by deploying their anchor. The vessel was secured and remained there until it was safely able to move on when there was enough water.

Speaking after the call outs, Mark Brennan, Fethard RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘We were happy to help the crew of both boats at the weekend. Situations can change very quickly at sea and mechanical failure is one of the main reasons for RNLI call outs. We would advise anyone out on the water to be prepared for an emergency by always wearing a lifejacket, checking your equipment before setting off, and always carrying some means of calling for help. Should you get into difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI all-weather lifeboat was launched this afternoon (Saturday 10 October) following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to assist four people on board a 36ft yacht, which had reported having mechanical issues while anchored just off Hawks Cliff in Dalkey.

The all-weather lifeboat was launched at 2:25 pm under Coxswain Mark McGibney with six crew members onboard and made its way to the scene arriving at 2:35 pm. The all-weather lifeboat took the vessel in tow and made its way back to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. While in tow it was reported that the vessel was taking on a significant amount of water and the issue found was resolved before continuing. Arriving in Dun Laoghaire Harbour the lifeboat crew used the lifeboats on board salvage pump to remove the excess water from the yacht before returning to the lifeboat station.

All onboard were wearing lifejackets and no medical attention was required.

Weather conditions at the time were described as good with a light wind and good visibility.

Speaking following the call out, Mark McGibney, Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat Coxswain said: ‘The casualties did the correct thing today by calling for help and keeping themselves safely at anchor until our crew arrived on scene, what happened can happen to anyone and I would like to take this opportunity to remind everybody to make sure that their vessel engines and safety equipment are checked and in working order before taking to the water.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Galway man John Coyle has been recognised by the Queen in the Birthday Honours list for his role in helping the RNLI in its work to save lives at sea. John is to receive an OBE. A former Trustee of the RNLI and Chair of the RNLI’s Council in Ireland, John has been to the forefront of lifesaving on the island of Ireland. 

A graduate in Economics and Business from University College Dublin and The College d’Europe at Bruges, John Coyle is a former President of Galway Chamber of Commerce and Chambers Ireland, also holding the position of Vice Chair of Eurochambres. John has also worked in the agrochemical, Maritime, Tourism and Property sectors.

Throughout his business career and charity work, John has been committed to the strengthening of cross border business links and mutual cooperation.

In 2008 he was nominated by the Government to the Board of the Commissioners for Irish Lights - the entity charged with the maintenance of lighthouses and AIDS to Navigation for the entire Island of Ireland.

His relationship with the RNLI was a result of a lifelong interest in yachting and began through fundraising for the lifeboats on the west coast of Ireland before joining the Irish Council of the RNLI. John was then invited to join the UK Council of The RNLI before becoming a Trustee of the charity. His direct involvement with the RNLI spans some thirty-five years and continues to this day. 

In June 2019, he was appointed a Knight of the Sovereign Order of Malta and now he is to receive on OBE for his work with the charity. 

Speaking on the award, John Coyle said, ‘This is a tremendous honour and one, as a volunteer for the RNLI, I feel very proud to receive. The RNLI in Ireland is an all-island organisation and the spirit of co-operation that exists between Ireland and the UK continues to bring people together in their mission to save lives. A huge debt of thanks is due to all those who so generously continue to fundraise or donate to the RNLI, we could not continue without their support. 

Commenting on the honour, outgoing Chair of the RNLI’s Irish Council David Delamer added, ‘This is a wonderful tribute to John and recognition of many years of dedicated work. John is a man of great integrity and optimism. He has the great ability to be able to bring people with him and listen to what people need. He strives in all things for balance and fairness. John always works tirelessly and diligently, to help causes close to his heart, never seeking recognition but always gaining respect. 

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie said: ‘It is such a delight to see these RNLI people recognised for their hard work and commitment, particularly as we have had such a challenging year. Those who have been named in this year’s Birthday Honours truly represent the RNLI values. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, I send my heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to all those who have been recognised.’

Published in Galway Harbour
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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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