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Displaying items by tag: helicopter

The Shannon Coast Guard helicopter has medevac'ed a Spanish crewman from a trawler 120 nautical miles SSW of Mizen Head, in County Cork, one of the extreme points of the island of Ireland. 

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - Two callouts on St Stephen's Day brought the Irish Coast Guard's total annual helicopter rescue missions to the 1,000 mark for the first time since the service began in 1991, as RTÉ News reports.

Sligo's Rescue 118 had its 343rd mission of the year on Saturday 26 December when it airlifted a young boy with leg injuries, while the Shannon-based Rescue 115 was involved in a medevac from the Aran Islands, taking a pregnant woman to Galway University Hospital for its 330th response.

In the East, the coastguard crew of Waterford's Rescue 117 saw 179 missions this year, while Dublin's Rescue 116 embarked on 148 since January as of yesterday (Sunday 27 December).

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#solosailing – It seems there's nothing a helicopter can't handle in terms of recovery, even in a worst case scenario like the one above.This successful salvage lift of a Pogo 2 Mini 6.50 was completed at Bovisands beach on the east side of Plymouth Sound in Devon, England. That's a 430 kilogram keel too! 

Published in Solo Sailing
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#RNLI - Three bodies have been recovered from the water after a helicopter with 18 people on board crashed in the North Sea last night (Friday 23 August).

RNLI lifeboats from Aith and Lerwick in the Shetland Isles have spent the night involved in a multi-agency rescue operation, following reports that a helicopter had ditched into the sea west of Sumburgh airport.

It's believed the helicopter, a Super Puma L2, was carrying 16 passengers and two crew from the Borgsten Dolphin oil platform in the North Sea.

Both volunteer lifeboat crews made their way to the scene throughout the evening and assisted in the search for passengers with other agencies, including two coastguard rescue helicopters, a passenger ferry and a cargo vessel.

Fourteen people were rescued while the lifeboats were still making their way to the scene.

But early this morning Police Scotland conformed that three bodies had been recovered, two of which were recovered by Lerwick RNLI lifeboat and taken to a nearby pier. Work is now underway to recover the fourth individual.

A spokesperson for the RNLI said: "Sadly the bodies of three people have been recovered in the aftermath of yesterday’s crash, and we know that agencies are working to recover the body of the fourth person.

"We can confirm that the RNLI lifeboat crew from Lerwick lifeboat station recovered two of those people. The lifeboat crew transported them to Sumburgh and we are liaising with other authorities as things develop.

"Obviously this is the news that everyone, included our lifeboat volunteers, dreaded – our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those four people. We can also confirm that one of our lifeboats has also been involved in reclaiming wreckage from the scene as part of the operation."

The wreckage of the helicopter is in a fairly inaccessible position near cliffs, and weather conditions at the time were described as not particularly good.

Lerwick RNLI lifeboat managed to tow the wreckage off rocks and it was being held in the shelter of a bay until a recovery operation could commence.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - Last Friday 9 August, the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter Rescue 115 flew its first missions with an all-female flight crew in pilot Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and co-pilot Captain Carmel Kirby.  

Capt Fitzpatrick is the chief pilot for Rescue 117 at the Waterford base and was on transfer to Shannon to build up flying hours on the new helicopter type, the Sikorsky S92, which is due to replace the S61 in Waterford in mid-September.

Capt Kirby, meanwhile, is scheduled to become the manager of flight operations for all the helicopter SAR bases later this year.

This was a historic occasion for the Irish Coast Guard as this was the first all-female SAR chopper crew, and they carried out two missions on their shift – one a cardiac case from West Cork who is recovering well at Cork University Hospital, the other a aero-medical transfer from Cork University Hospital to Temple Street of a critically ill five-year-old child.

Coastguard statistics show a 45% rise in the number of incidents to 1,572 missions by the end of July this year, and the total is expected to break 2,000 as early as October - more than any individual year since records began.

Aside from the good weather that's brought so many more people out on the water than usual, another factor in this increase is the trial aeromedical service for the HSE - with air ambulance missions up a whopping 925% this year.

The Shannon rescue helicopter has so far flown an incredible 187 missions, more than double the number it had flown in the first eight months of 2012.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

#Coastguard - What would have been the Irish Coast Guard's longest ever rescue mission was stood down at the last minute after the casualty in question was deemed to be in a stable condition.

According to the Irish Independent, the Shannon-based coastguard rescue helicopter was dispatched on the 300-nautical-mile mission to retrieve a man in his 70s from a cruise liner en route to Cobh from the United States.

The distance was so great that the helicopter, the new Sikorsky S-92 with the call sign Rescue 115, was forced to land on an offshore oil rig 180km off Kerry to refuel.

While there the chopper experienced a technical issue and was grounded for safety reasons while an engineer was sent to the oil rig on board Waterford's Rescue 117.

However, in the meantime a second doctor on board the MS Marina determined that the patient - who was feared to have had a stroke - was in a stable enough condition to be transferred to hospital upon the ship's arrival in Cobh early today.

The Irish Examiner confirms that the casualty was a 79-year-old American.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard's Waterford-based rescue helicopter recovered two casualties in separate incidents on Sunday, according to the Irish Examiner.

One fisherman was retrieved from the French fishing vessel Larche some 50 nautical miles south of Cork after complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing.

The man was winched on board coastguard helicopter Rescue 117 and transferred to hospital in Cork for treatment.

In a separate incident, a hillwalker was airlifted from Slievenamon in Tipperary after suffering leg injuries in a fall - the second such accident in the area over the weekend.

Published in Coastguard

#DIVING - BBC News reports that a man suspected to be suffering from 'the bends' after a dive in Galway was treated in Northern Ireland at the weekend.

The diver was airlifted to the decompression chamber in Craigavon by Irish Coast Guard helicopter as there was no medical team available at the closest facility in Galway.

Decompression sickness - commonly known as 'the bends' - was suspected after the man's rapid ascent from a 22-metres dive in Killary Harbour on Sunday.

Published in Diving

#TITANIC - The Titanic memorial cruise was yesterday forced to turn back just 100 miles from the southwest coast of Ireland after a passenger fell ill, BBC News reports.

The Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter at Shannon was dispached to the MS Balmoral to retrieve BBC cameraman Tim Rex, 56, who was struck by a non-life threatening heart condition, according to the Irish Independent.

Rex, who was covering the memorial sailing for the BBC, was treated by ship's doctors before being airlifted to hospital as a precaution.

The emergency happened just hours after the ship departed Cobh, the last port of call of the ill-fated Titanic before it sank in the North Atlantic on 14 April 1912.

A spokesperson for Titanic Memorial Cruises confirmed that despite the delay, the ship is still on schedule and is expected to arrive at the Titanic wreck site as planned on Saturday.

Published in Titanic

#COASTGUARD - Canada's L-3 Wescam has announced it will be providing electro-optical and infrared imaging systems for the Irish Coast Guard's revamped search and rescue helicopter fleet, starting with the new Sikorsky S-92 based at Shannon.

“This order pairs the most modern SAR helicopter with the most advanced EO/IR sensor to provide a vital capability for lifesaving missions,” said Paul Jennison, vice president of government sales and business development for L-3 Wescam.

The company describes its MXTM-15 system as a one-line replacement unit solution, which reduces installation weight by 25% and increases much-needed cabin space for transporting rescue victims.

The system’s digital infrared camera is capable of a 20% increase in visual range, allowing missions at night or in inclement weather to result in a higher search success rate.

In addition, the system comes with WESCAM’s MX-GEO Gen 3 software package which helps deliver maximum geographic location accuracy and significantly reduces operator fatigue that often arises in demanding and stressful SAR operations.

Imaging system upgrades are expected to be rolled out across the Irish Coast Guard's helicopter fleet by the end of next year.

Published in Coastguard
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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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