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First for Galway Harbour as Containership Bound Today with ‘Pop-Up’ Village

19th June 2012
First for Galway Harbour as Containership Bound Today with ‘Pop-Up’ Village

#VESSEL VOLVO VILLAGEAs previously reported the ocean going heavy-lift container cargoship Deo Volente (2007/2,999grt) which is carrying the spectacular Volvo Ocean Race 'pop-up' spectator village from Lisbon is en-route off the Clare coast and is due to dock in Galway Docks this afternoon, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The high-tech village which is assembled from 70 crates and is one of two such villages which have accompanied the race across the globe is in the holds of the 105m long Dutch owned vessel. When Deo Volente enters through the dock she is to berth at Dún Aengus Dock North.

According to Capt. Brian Sheridan, Harbourmaster of the Galway Harbour Company, the containership is the first the port has ever had to handle and the unloading is part of "the unfolding jigsaw that is the Volvo Ocean Race".

The unloading process will create huge excitement as the village emerges from its containers and transforms the dockside into a gigantic sports and entertainment arena.

Deo Volente is operated by Hartman Seatrade, which they classify as a mini heavy-lift vessel. She is capable of carrying vessels as deck-cargo, unusual sized cargo as well as 236 TEU containers. On board are two 120 mt (metric tonnes) cranes, built by Liebherr which are mounted on the starboard side. Using both cranes the loading gear can handle a maximum tandem total weight of 240 mt.

The appearance of such a vessel will no doubt bring back memories to many Galwegians when in 2011 there was the saga of attempting to load two former Aran Islands fast-ferry sisters bound for new owners in Mauritius.

Albeit on this occasion of the impending Volvo Ocean Race, the process of unloading the pop-up village is far more conventional in the form of containers, though what is required is the 60 specialist construction workers involved in the task of assembling the village. The vessel is to stay in port overnight and scheduled to depart tomorrow afternoon.

As for last year's protracted loading of the fast-ferries, it was heavy-lift ship Thor Gitta (4,078grt) that stepped in after another similar vessel, Pantanal (7,837grt) ran aground in Rossaveal on 31 March. It was from the joint fishing and ferry port, where the ferries were originally due to be loaded.

Instead the ferries had to transfer to Galway Harbour where the vessel eventually departed nearly a month later on the 8,300 mile delivery voyage to the Indian Ocean.

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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Galway Port & Harbour

Galway Bay is a large bay on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city and port is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to 30 kilometres (19 miles) in breadth.

The Aran Islands are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

Galway Port FAQs

Galway was founded in the 13th century by the de Burgo family, and became an important seaport with sailing ships bearing wine imports and exports of fish, hides and wool.

Not as old as previously thought. Galway bay was once a series of lagoons, known as Loch Lurgan, plied by people in log canoes. Ancient tree stumps exposed by storms in 2010 have been dated back about 7,500 years.

It is about 660,000 tonnes as it is a tidal port.

Capt Brian Sheridan, who succeeded his late father, Capt Frank Sheridan

The dock gates open approximately two hours before high water and close at high water subject to ship movements on each tide.

The typical ship sizes are in the region of 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes

Turbines for about 14 wind projects have been imported in recent years, but the tonnage of these cargoes is light. A European industry report calculates that each turbine generates €10 million in locally generated revenue during construction and logistics/transport.

Yes, Iceland has selected Galway as European landing location for international telecommunications cables. Farice, a company wholly owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe.

It is "very much a live project", Harbourmaster Capt Sheridan says, and the Port of Galway board is "awaiting the outcome of a Bord Pleanála determination", he says.

90% of the scrap steel is exported to Spain with the balance being shipped to Portugal. Since the pandemic, scrap steel is shipped to the Liverpool where it is either transhipped to larger ships bound for China.

It might look like silage, but in fact, its bales domestic and municipal waste, exported to Denmark where the waste is incinerated, and the heat is used in district heating of homes and schools. It is called RDF or Refuse Derived Fuel and has been exported out of Galway since 2013.

The new ferry is arriving at Galway Bay onboard the cargo ship SVENJA. The vessel is currently on passage to Belem, Brazil before making her way across the Atlantic to Galway.

Two Volvo round world races have selected Galway for the prestigious yacht race route. Some 10,000 people welcomed the boats in during its first stopover in 2009, when a festival was marked by stunning weather. It was also selected for the race finish in 2012. The Volvo has changed its name and is now known as the "Ocean Race". Capt Sheridan says that once port expansion and the re-urbanisation of the docklands is complete, the port will welcome the "ocean race, Clipper race, Tall Ships race, Small Ships Regatta and maybe the America's Cup right into the city centre...".

The pandemic was the reason why Seafest did not go ahead in Cork in 2020. Galway will welcome Seafest back after it calls to Waterford and Limerick, thus having been to all the Port cities.

© Afloat 2020

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