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Displaying items by tag: River Boyne

It’s been confirmed that two of three logboats spotted by drone in the River Boyne in recent weeks are new discoveries, and could date from medieval times.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, citizen archaeologist Anthony Murphy captured the first of his unique aerial images while searching for a dolphin that’s been delighting Drogheda’s denizens.

Over subsequent days he spotted the outlines of two more logboats in close proximity, though he presumed they were among a number of such vessels already known to the National Monuments Service (NMS).

But as RTÉ News reports, the NMS has now confirmed that the first and third boats spotted by Murphy are indeed new discoveries — and could date from the Norman fortification of Drogheda.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Historic Boats
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A citizen archaeologist may have spotted the remains of two previously unknown medieval logboats in the River Boyne.

Last week, The Irish Times reported on Anthony Murphy’s drone footage of a rectangular object in the riverbed captured on Monday 26 April, while he was observing for the dolphin recently spotted in the river near Drogheda.

The National Monuments Service (NMS) suggests this may be a vessel first discovered last year and which could be as much as 1,600 years old.

Subsequently, Murphy reported a second sighting on Wednesday 28 April, at a location some 200 metres from the previous find.

“It appears to be upside down, is very flat-bottomed and is larger than the first one,” he wrote on Twitter.

Further aerial investigations over the weekend revealed what appears to be a third logboat some 400 metres downstream of the first, west of the Bridge of Peace.

Murphy details the find on his blog Mythical Ireland, where he estimates this third vessel to be around 15ft in length.

However, he harbours no illusions that his “discoveries” have never been spotted previously.

“I’m assuming this is one of these ‘few’ logboats which NMS says it is aware of in the River Boyne at Drogheda,” he says. “However, the drone photography of same brings a new perspective on these ancient artifacts.”

As for why these remnants of Ireland’s ancient history are becoming easier to find now, Murphy believes it’s a combination of “exceptionally low” spring neap tides due to lack of rainfall, and clearer water due to reduced pollution in the river.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

The Irish Independent covers the excitement among the denizens of Drogheda after a dolphin swimming up the River Boyne paid an unexpected visit to the town.

Reports of a dog in the water yesterday morning (Thursday 22 April) turned out to be wide of the mark when Boyne Fishermen Rescue and Recovery encountered the “medium-sized dolphin” in the River Boyne at the Upper Mell slipway, just east of the town centre and some 7km from the open sea.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group says the marine wildlife is likely to be a bottlenose and called for the public to contact it with any images or reports of further sighings.

While there is no immediate cause for concern, dolphins are saltwater animals and can develop serious kidney and skin problems with prolonged exposure to freshwater environments.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Independent.ie reports that a man has died in an incident while fishing on the River Boyne near Townley Hall, outside Drogheda yesterday afternoon, Saturday 27 June.

It’s understood that a man in his 30s was taken from the river two hours after he was reported in difficulty and later pronounced dead in what is being regarded as “a tragic accident”.

Published in News Update

Drogheda Coast Guard had a prehistoric mystery on their hands earlier this week with what the station is calling “probably the most unusual tasking we ever had or ever will have”.

The coastguard team were tasked on Tuesday (26 February) after an emergency call reporting ‘dinosaur bones’ in the River Boyne close to Drogheda town centre.

And indeed when they arrived the volunteers discovered what appeared to be the skeletal remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex half-submerged in the mud.

But on closer inspection, the bones were revealed to be “a very impressive imitation”.

Drogheda Coast Guard officer in charge Dermot McConnoran told TheJournal.ie that the plaster-cast bones were covered in silt suggesting they’d been in the river for some time.

Further research has turned up images of the same skeleton “in a less river-worn state” from a little over a year ago. It’s not yet known who is responsible for its creation.

Published in Coastguard

#Rescue - The Irish Independent reports that a 13-year-old boy has been rescued after falling into the River Boyne in Drogheda last night (28 December).

It's believed the boy had been playing close to the edge of the river opposite the Louth town's Garda station when he slipped into the water.

The casualty was kept afloat by a life ring thrown by a passer-by till he was rescued by the Irish Coast Guard.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#Coastguard - The Howth unit of the the Irish Coast Guard responded this weekend to a vessel that lost power at the mouth of the River Boyne.

Howth's coastguard crew were undertaking helm training with a passage to the Drogheda unit to support the Drogheda Marina launch when they were notified that a ski-boat planning to join the flotilla had lost power on the Drogheda Bar.

The vessel, with four people aboard, was taken under tow - while a mother and child on a second vessel suffering from serious sea-sickness were also transferred to the coastguard boat.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Drogheda Port Company undertook dredging works in January this year on the entrance to the port on the River Boyle, following earlier works in 2010 to remove sand accumulating at Drogheda Bar.

Published in Coastguard

#PORTS & SHIPPING – Drogheda Port set a record tonnage cargo with the arrival of Arklow Bridge (2011/4,723grt) last week. The vessel operated by Arklow Shipping N.V. as previously reported on Afloat.ie had carried 7,125 tonnes of maize, the largest ever single cargo handled in the Co. Louth port, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Arklow Bridge is the  second 'B' class vessel that was built last year and the Dutch-flagged vessel loaded the cargo of  maize in the Polish city of Gdynia for Comex McKinnon. The company is a leading player in the importation and trading of feedstuffs for the animal feed sector in Ireland.

Stevedoring services were handled by Fast Terminals, a new company which is a joint venture between Drogheda Port Company and Fast Shipping of Antwerp. The company became operational last Septemberand increases the number of stevedoring operations in the port to four.

Drogheda Port is developing its agri-sector business so to transport feedstuffs for the animal feed sector in Ireland. The agri-food sector is worth €7.8bn and is proving resilient, despite the downturn and growth from this indigenous sector will be vital to the country's overall economic recovery.

According to Drogheda Port Company, planning permission was recently received for the development of a 5,400sq m bulk storage facility at the Tom Roes Point Terminal. The downriver facility is situated closer to the open sea compared to the  towns quays on the banks of the Boyne.

Mr Paul Fleming, Drogheda Port Chief Executive said "Drogheda Port continues to provide a strategic import and export location for our customers with a service which is more flexible and cost competitive than other larger ports".

He added: "This is helping us to win new contracts and grow our business in addition to providing a platform to Ireland's importers and exporters to reach their markets more cost competitively."

Mr Simon Mulvany, Director of Fast Terminals said "Fast Terminals has identified the competitive opportunities that Drogheda Port can offer our company. Despite the current economic downturn we intend to invest in the port and develop our facilities to cater for further growth in the future."

Published in Ports & Shipping

#PORTS & SHIPPING- Berthed at the Steam Packet Quay, Drogheda is the suction-trailer dredger Lough Foyle (1979/868grt) which is on contract work with the Drogheda Port Company, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Following the sale last month of Hebble Sand, as previously reported on Afloat.ie (clcik HERE), the Lough Foyle (PHOTO) is now the only port-owned dredger on the island of Ireland. The Londonderry Port & Harbour Commissioners (LPHC) purchased the vessel from Dutch interests in 2009. She was originally the Saeftinge, built in 1979 at the Van Goor Scheepswerf in Monnickendam.

Since her introduction she has performed previous dredging operations to include the Drogheda Bar leading into the Co. Louth port. Her most recent contract was in Waterford Estuary, from where she arrived from on Tuesday after an overnight voyage.

In addition she has worked at the new Stena Line ferryport terminal at Loch Ryan, Cairnryan, to see related report click HERE. The Scottish ferryport is due to be officially opened tomorrow, to read more including the newly introduced 'Superfast' sisters click HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Drogheda welcomes Largest Gas Tanker

The Co. Louth port recently welcomed the 4,750 tonnes MV Thresher, the largest ever gas tanker which was making a delivery of over 1,300 metric tonnes of gas to the Flogas terminal on the banks of the river Boyne. The Thresher is operated by Chemgas, a new shipping company for the Flogas plant, which employs approximately 100 people.

"Chemgas operates some of the most modern and best equipped gas carriers in the world, so we are delighted to have them as our new shipping company," said Paul O'Connell, Flogas operations director.

In welcoming the new generation of gas tanker, Mr Paul Fleming, CEO of Drogheda Port Company stated that "Flogas is one of the ports premier customers and its commitment to the future development of its facility and the port is reflected in its use of larger and more efficient vessels with an improved carbon footprint".

Chemgas is a Dutch based shipping company which commissioned the 100m Thresher which was built in 2006 and entered service the following year.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Irish Fishing industry 

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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