Displaying items by tag: Waterford Estuary
Coastwatch has welcomed a High Court decision closing the Waterford estuary to razor shell dredging without proper environmental assessment.
The ruling has implications for fishing activity on marine sites which are designated as Natura 2000 locations, Coastwatch director Karin Dubksy has said.
The High Court ruling issued last week quashes permission to dredge for razor shells in the Waterford estuary.
The ruling says that the decision to permit the activity was made without screening or appropriate assessment under Article 6(3) of the EU Habitats Directive to check if there is no adverse impact on the integrity of the site.
Last September, Coastwatch secured a temporary injunction preventing fishing for razor clams in the Waterford estuary, pending the outcome of a legal challenge.
It took proceedings against the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA), the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland and the Attorney General.
Ms Dubsky said that the final ruling delivered on July 13th involves an undertaking that the Minister will agree to review the Sea Fisheries Regulations statutory instrument 290/2013 by November 30th this year.
This would ensure that Irish law “fully transposes the requirements of EU environmental law and, in particular, the EU Habitats Directive”, she said.
“Coastwatch will be entitled to make submissions to this review,” she said, and the State is responsible for the non-governmental organisation’s costs in the legal case.
“There has been too much optimism that the sea will cope with almost every private or corporate use anyone comes up with. The sea can’t and we need to protect it,” Ms Dubsky said.
“On top of that, climate change is already impacting on estuarine and coastal ecosystems. A hot spell can cause local mass death of organisms. There aren’t enough marine protected areas (MPAs) as connected safe havens to support species survival and those we have aren’t managed properly,” she said.
“The new Programme for Government sets out some positive plans, and with COVID payments and changes in markets, there is a real opportunity now to restructure and focus on ocean health,” she said.
“ We should support creation of marine protected areas, restoration and management plans and traditional low impact fisheries with locally designed closed areas,” she said.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine said it was pleased that the case had been brought to a “satisfactory conclusion by means of an agreed settlement”.
It said that “while a commitment to review the Sea Fisheries Regulations SI 290 of 2013 does not form part of the settlement submitted to the High Court, the department has committed to undertake a review of SI 290 of 2013 by November 30th this year”.
A maintenance dredging campaign has begun in recent days at the Port of Waterford where activities will involve the waters of Duncannon Bar, Cheekpoint, and at the port's main terminal at Belview, writes Jehan Ashmore
Prior to the operations at the south-east port, the Cypriot flagged Shoalway, a trailing suction hopper dredger had been carrying out operations for the Dublin Port Company. Shoalway sailed from the capital to arrive on the Waterford Estuary on Sunday.
According to the Port of Waterford (click to consult campaign notice here), the dredger will dispose spoil at an approved site south west of Hook Head, Co. Wexford. Dredging will be followed by a bed levelling campaign by the vessels, Fastnet Sound and or the Glenesk.
Afloat adds that Irish Dredging which is a subsidiary of Royal Boskalis Westminster nv, the world’s largest dredging group, was given the contract from the Port of Waterford. The extensive fleet of the Dutch group provides Irish Dredging access to the use a of wide range of vessels for projects around the Irish coast.
Further tracking of the Shoalway since introduction on the Waterford Estaury has seen the 90m long dredger kept busy between Cheekpoint to the spoiling grounds out to sea.
The campaign according to the Port of Waterford is expected to last approximately 24 days.
#Irishports - The Port of Waterford have issued a Marine Notice in recent days to advise all ship owners, shipmasters, agents, fishing vessels, pleasure craft users, seafarers and fishery organisations of a dredging campaign, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The dredging operation along Waterford Estuary began in mid-March and according to the south-east multi-modal Port the campaign will continue until around 6 April.
Carrying out these works is the task of trailing suction hopper dredger Freeway which will conduct dredging activities in the vicinity of Belview Port. The lo-lo facility located downriver of Waterford City is the main port along the estuary.
Freeway is operated by UK firm, Royal Boskalis Westminster based in Hampshire. They are no strangers to these waters having been contracted previously by the port and more recently from the Dublin Port Company. Due to berth capacity constraints the 92m dredger during December had to dock in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
On this occasion, Freeway's role on Waterford Estuary will include duties carried off Cheekpoint and at the Duncannon Bar located further downriver and beyond where the Passage East ferry links to Ballyhack.
Disposal material from Freeway will take place at an approved site south west of Hook Head. Following such work a bed-levelling campaign will be assigned to the Waterford City based catamaran craft Fastnet Sound.
#Cruiseliners - Anchored off Dunmore East, Waterford Estuary this morning is the 'Solstice' class Celebrity Silhouette, which had sailed overnight from Cork (Cobh) Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Dunmore East, a fishing harbour village set in beautiful surroundings is a gateway for cruise visitors. Tenders from the Celebrity Cruises ship are is use to disembark those ashore and begin exploring the local attractions and activities. In addition the south-east region offers destinations beyond Waterford in the neighbouring counties.
Asides today's call by Celebrity Silhouette, Port of Waterford is set to welcome a further four cruisecallers with Azamara Pursuit due next on August 26th. The remaining trio call next month, marking the season's end. Brillance of the Seas is scheduled on September 3rd, Ocean Majesty on the 4th and the concluding caller will be Nautica on the 24th.
Afloat has calculated the total passenger capacity of the quartet of cruiseships to be 4,475 passengers. Based from this, the call of Celebrity Silhouette, given its capacity of 2,850 alone clearly demonstrates the importance of these considerably larger cruiseships to Waterford estuary. Smaller cruisecallers though with potentially high-spending clientele, head to Belview Port and upriver on the Suir along Waterford City quays.
According to the recently published Dept. of Transport's: Transport Trends report, the cruiseship sector is an increasingly important element of maritime activity in Irish waters. The number of cruiseship visits grew by 12% from 209 in 2016 to 234 in 2017, while the number of cruise ship passengers rose by 19% to 264,763 in 2017.
The call of the 122,000 tonnes Celebrity Silhouette is a boost to the local ecomony as the Port of Waterford has faired less compared to other ports. This was a conclusion drawn from the report, as Waterford had 37% fewer cruise passengers last year than in 2016 at 4,710.
Not suprisingly, the larger main ports of Dublin and Cork dominated the cruiseship market in 2017. According to CSO figures compiled in the report, these ports combined hosted 83% of ship visits and 93% of the passengers.
Among the callers to Dublin Port this season, is Celebrity Silhouette which notably for the first time was homeported in the capital port. As reported earlier this year, the US based Celebrity Cruises was estimated to handle over 14,000 people start their holiday from Dublin Port. The Maltese flagged ship easily became the largest such cruiseship to do.
The concept of homeporting in Dublin Port is not unique as last year, the capital port welcomed Cruise & Maritime Voyages 46,000 tonnes Magellan. The 1,250 passenger cruiseship continues this season to offer direct no-fly cruises.
In addition the Bahamas flagged Magellen makes a new departure this year as CMV will from next month also offer direct cruises from Cork.
In May and June 2019, Celebrity are to deploy Celebrity Reflection which is scheduled to sail from Dublin as part of a mini-season offering five cruises from Ireland.
#NewFlagship - Half of all cruiseship calls to visit Waterford Estuary are due in the first of a three-month season in which Afloat has identified to include a brand new cruiseship, writes Jehan Ashmore.
According to the cruiseship line-up for 2017, Afloat has noted that eight out of a total of 16 cruiseships are to visit the south-east region in the opening month of June. The leaves the balance of four cruiseships to call in August and equally the same number for the concluding month of September.
The Port of Waterford has terminals dotted on the estuary where 1,000 years ago Viking longboats headed upriver to firmly establish a trading port. This established Ireland's oldest city. In more recent centuries the city became world famous for its crystal making traditions. A popular tourist attraction as well as to the manor estate gardens on the environs of the city.
Brand New Cruiseship Call
As referred above Afloat has identified the call of a brand new cruiseship which is to be the Silver Muse, the flagship of Monaco based Silverseas Cruises. The 40,700 gross tonnage newbuild accommodates 596 guests in ultra-luxurious facilities. The newcomer is an exciting evolution of their Silver Spirit.
Afloat will have more to report on Silver Muse which will make a pre-inaugural voyage in home seas next month on a round trip voyage from Monte-Carlo of Mediterranean gems. Among them calls to quintessential destinations such as Barcelona, Palma and Portofino.
As for the first to caller to Waterford in early June is Artania. Pheonix Reissen, the German operators of the ship which would be more familiar to most as the original Royal Princess completed in 1984 for US based Princess Cruises. The 44,500 tonnes Artania with a 1,100 passenger capacity has been allocated an anchorage call off Dunmore East.
The predominant fishing harbour at the entrance to the estuary is where a further seven cruise callers will too be making an anchorage call.
Ultra luxury small-cruiseship Hebridean Sky of Noble Caledonia, is to call twice. Firstly calling in June at Belview, the main cargo (mostly lo-lo containers) terminal for the Port of Waterford.
On the second call in August, the diminutive sized ship is expected to head upriver to the city quays. The 4,200 tonnes ship is to berth along Frank Cassin Wharf, the former Bell Lines lo-lo terminal.
#Cargoships - One of Arklow Shipping’s newest cargoships, the single-hold Arklow Cape is today docked on the River Suir at Belview the Port of Waterford, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Irish flagged 5,053dwt newbuild with Arklow as a port of registry, was launched in October last year and delivered into service the following month. The ‘C’’ class vessel is the second of a 10-ship order from Ferus Smit’s Dutch yard in Westerbroek.
Arklow Cape departed from Bayonne on the French Atlantic coast and the voyage took two days to reach Waterford Estuary. The newbuild arrived yesterday evening to Belview Terminal, downriver of Waterford City.
In the career of Arklow Cape typical cargoes will include grain to be carried in a ship that measures 87m in length overall and is a similar size to cargoship Lisa. The 89m vessel dating to 2001, however while on the neighbouring River Barrow more than a week ago got into difficulties having grounded.
Fortunately all crew were safe following the incident which saw the cargoship become stuck on a mud-bank south of the Pink Rock. The location is between the disused Barrow Railway Bridge and New Ross Port, the ship's destination.
Tugs were dispatched to the scene from Waterford based operator, Fastnet Shipping. Among the tugs involved was the 25 ton bollard pull tug Bargarth which came to the aid of the St. John's registered cargoship.
The undamaged Lisa was refloated and was able to continue the short leg upriver to the inland port to discharge a 4,500 tonne dry cargo.
After an inspection by maritime authorities, the cargoship was permitted to set sail.
FBD Tintern is currently off service as otherwise Afloat adds the 130 passenger/30 vehicle capacity ferry serves the River Suir crossing linking the villages of Ballyhack in Co. Wexford and Passage East in Co. Waterford.
The short passage only takes around 15 minutes and with an average of 120 crossings every day keeps the 236 tonnes FBD Tintern busy, notably during peak commuter times and in the summer.
The present car ferry service began in 1982 when the Dunbrody replaced a small boat ferry service that had been in place for hundreds of years. In January, the ferry business was reported as up for sale.
#thisislandnation – After an absence of several years it is a pleasure to return to the airwaves, a decision I have taken in pursuance of my belief that the national media is seriously neglectful of maritime matters. The marine sphere is not adequately served by the national media, print or broadcast. The specialist media such as AFLOAT and community radio offers an alternative voice, so do social media outlets.
Sean Doherty, who I interviewed for my programme at the 'EMPOWERING COASTAL COMMUNITIES' Conference in County Waterford, is a man who is trying to preserve his local community at Cheekpoint on the Waterford Estuary. He describes how the ending of the drift net fishery, followed by the closure of the eel fishery, has contributed to what he sees as the destruction of his community. Men earned a living from the fisheries for their families, others were employed to maintain engines on the boats, more had work repairing the fishing boats and local restaurants served their catches as local produce. But these aspects of life in Cheekpoint no longer exist. The village has suffered heavily. His interview indicates how decisions were made by politicians and State administrators without carrying out any examination of the social effects and the damage they would cause to the communities affected. Those communities were treated with disregard and what amounts to contempt for their future. It is a sombre story.
The oceans are, in places, a wilderness, sweeping the globe and washing the edges of our cities. They provide opportunity and potential. The coastal communities are the first interface of Ireland with the sea at the coastal rim of this island nation.
So why is it that the sea is not regarded as a priority national interest?
The answer lies in a failure of political and economic perception, fuelled by an adherence to globalisation rather than pride in being an island nation.
Ireland is the most western island nation in Europe, but there is no pride evident in Government circles that we Irish are islanders. At the highest level of political life and civil service administration, as well as amongst the national media and the general public, there is a failure of perception to realise that being islanders gives Irish people an unique place in Europe. The concept of globalisation, which policies favour, is the destruction of uniqueness.
As Sean Doherty says in the interview, there are publicly expressed concerns and movements calling for the protection of indigenous communities around the world; and for the promotion of multi-culturalism in Ireland; but there is little or no interest and no movements for the preservation of the indigenous people of Ireland –the coastal and fishing communities.
The voice of the sea can speak to the soul, that voice should be heard by those who make the decisions which affect Ireland.
While there are some positive steps, which are also outlined in the programme - THIS ISLAND NATION - which you can hear on this website, these are not enough to counterbalance neglect of the maritime sphere. More is needed.
Cheekpoint nestles in the Waterford Estuary near where the Rivers Suir and Barrow meet, lying beneath Minaun Hill and has a magnificent, panoramic view across Waterford Harbour.
Sean Doherty described himself to me as an angry, frustrated man at what he sees as he looks out from his home on the estuary, "because what I am seeing is destruction caused by a form of blindness."
The Prong is the local boat which has been used by fishermen from the village. The first one built in many years is pictured below, together with an example of an older boat. The coastal communities are endeavouring to maintain their maritime heritage. So should the nation.
Above John Gossip with the new Cheekpoint Prong and below an older example of the craft
#CRUISE CALLS – Waterford is to welcome its first cruise caller in 2012 with the Quest (1992/1,180grt) an ice-strengthened expedition cruiseship which is to dock next month along the city-quays, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Normally she operates around the Scottish Isles, Norway, Greenland and Spitsbergen. This year she will make her itineraries for the first time around Ireland, England and Wales.
The stout looking Danish built vessel is just 50m in length, has a beam of 11m and draws 3.5m, this allows her to reach more destinations in difficult conditions. She carries around 50 passengers and a crew half that number. For images including interiors and deck plans click HERE
Quest is also scheduled to make a second call to the south-east city in May. Following both these calls another 17 cruise callers are lined up for the season which runs until September.
Among the callers are the 940 passenger capacity Crystal Symphony, the 66,000 tonnes Marina which only entered service last year, Ocean Princess (for a dry-dock slideshow click HERE) and the 1988 built Prinsendam.
Depending on the vessel's draught, the location of where they will call in Waterford estuary will vary. Aside the city quays, the other berth is in Belview and for deep drafted vessels, they take anchorage off Dunmore East. To view the full cruise call list click HERE.
#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.