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Three’s A Crowd as Naval, Research and Cargo Ships Dock In Galway

19th September 2011
Three’s A Crowd as Naval, Research and Cargo Ships Dock In Galway
During the weekend call of L.E. Eithne to Galway Harbour, the Naval Service flagship shared the mid-west port with a Spanish oceanographic research vessel (RV) and a cargoship,writes Jehan Ashmore.
The port consists of a single basin named the Dún Aengus Dock where the Vigo registered RV Vizconde de Eza (2000/1,401grt) was berthed. The 53m vessel is run by the 'Secrataria General del Mer' (MARM) which is on an assignment to asses the abundance, estimation and distribution patterns of demersal-benthic species in the Porcupine Abyssal Plain. The port is of also the homeport to the Marine Institute RV vessels and their headquarters based in nearby Oranmore.

Also sharing the basin but located closer to the dock gates was Arklow Shipping Ltd's Dutch registered dry-cargo vessel Arklow Surf (2000/2,316grt). The dock is capable of handling more vessels simultaneously and of course used as a host-port of the high-profile Volvo Ocean Race which is due to return next year.

Galway and neighbouring Limerick City with its Ted Russell Dock, are the only dock-gate accessed ports on the island of Ireland. In the case of Galway there is an exception as freight operations are also available from an outer pier on the seaward side of Dún Aengus Dock though only for domestic purposes. From this pier the dedicated Aran Islands freight service is operated by Lasta Mara TEO's Blath na Mara (1983/330grt). As for Limerick, vessels can also berth outside the dock but they tend to be small port-work related craft that use the outer berth on the Shannon Estuary.

The Galway Harbour Company in recent years have proposed plans for a new outer port, to be built in four stages with a completion date set for 2017. This would enable larger deeper drafted vessels such as tankers and cruiseships to dock in the new port. In the meantime cruiseships anchor off Mutton Island. In addition a freight rail-link, berthing for an inshore fishing fleet and a 216 berth marina are proposed.

To read more about the port proposals visit http://www.galwayharbour.com/news.php?id=11and for aerial visual impressions click HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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