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Galway Docks Hit by Localised Storm Surge

19th December 2019
Like special effects in a science fiction movie, the waters of Galway Bay go airborne above Galway Docks on Wednesday night as a storm surge tops 70 knots at high water Like special effects in a science fiction movie, the waters of Galway Bay go airborne above Galway Docks on Wednesday night as a storm surge tops 70 knots at high water Photo: courtesy Pierce Purcell

There were severe gales around much of Ireland on Wednesday night, but at Galway Docks, in particular, the localised effects of a storm surge on extreme high water – with southwest winds of more than 70 knots - caused the Aran ferry to break some of its mooring lines at its berth outside the dock gate at the Fishermen’s Layby, with the ship finally coming to rest across the RNLI launching berth, effectively closing off the rescue services until the vessel could be re-floated this morning.

As Afloat reported earlier, the situation prompted Galway’s Harbourmaster to hit out at the lack of a storm warning

Tweet GalwayPrecision measurement of a storm – in Galway Bay last night with south to southwest winds hitting 73 knots, the steep short waves on a period of 5 seconds were peaking at 4.1 metres.

Conditions were such that the lock-gates themselves could not be closed until two hours after high water, while the ferry – having been freed today (Thursday) with the use of two mechanical diggers required to demolish part of a wall – has sustained quite substantial damage.

Experienced local sailors are saying that the night’s damage proved yet again that serious money needs to be spent, both to improve shelter and access to the entrance to Galway Docks, and provide better berthing generally for the most important port in Connacht.

Ship aground galwayThe Aran Islands ferry broke adrift from its alongside berth just outside the dock gates, and ended up aground across the entrance to the RNLI launching berth, with considerable damage sustained by the time the ship was refloated today (Thursday). Photo: Courtesy Pierce Purcell
Galway docksCollateral damage……some of the area immediately around the docks was flooded. Photo: Courtesy Pierce Purcell

Published in Galway Harbour
WM Nixon

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WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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