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#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has recorded another first for the North Atlantic, with evidence showing that killer whales are feeding on ocean sunfish.

Mark Holmes of the Natural History Museum confirmed the presence of parasites unique to the sunfish found within the carcass of a female orca stranded in Doohooma in Co Mayo.

"These parasites did not originate from the whale's stomach, but came from the prey which it had eaten," said the IWDG's Conor Ryan.

"This was confirmed when the partially digested bones in the stomachs were eventually identified as those of a sunfish beak."

The discovery may explain a recent study of UK waters which found sunfish taking unusually deep dives, possibly to avoid cetaceans and other large predators.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Investigators have warned of the dangers of drinking at sea following their investigation into the death of two yachtsmen off Inishboffin in October last year.
Donal McEllin, 63, and Ger Feeney, 56, died while attempting to return to their motor yacht Quo Vadis in the early hours of 10 October.
The inquiry by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that the pair had set off for the yacht - which was moored in Inisboffin Harbour - on a motor-driven inflatable tender after several hours socialising in Day's Pub on the island.
The report also found that they had declined an offer to be ferried back to the yacht.
A witness, Ian Day, recounted that he drove his jeep to the end of the pier and used his headlights to assure himself that the tender had reached the vessel. Though it had been agreed with both men that they would turn off the external lights on the vessel when they safely boarded, it was assumed that they had forgotten.
The bodies of both men were discovered the following morning. McEllin’s body was found lying on West Quarter Beach adjacent to where the vessel was moored, while Feeney’s body was found afloat, lying under the upturned tender. McEllin’s lifejacket had inflated but was entangled around his neck, indicating that the groin strap was not properly tied.
Based on the available evidence, the MCIB concluded that the deaths were the result of attemping a night-time transfer from a small inflatable boat to a larger vessel swinging on its mooring, combined with "possible tiredness and diminished human performance resulting from the effects of alcohol".

Investigators have published their investigation report into the death of two yachtsmen off Inishboffin in October last year.

Donal McEllin, 63, and Ger Feeney, 56, died while attempting to return to their motor yacht Quo Vadis in the early hours of 10 October.

The inquiry by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that the pair had set off for the yacht - which was moored in Inisboffin Harbour - on a motor-driven inflatable tender after several hours socialising in Day's Pub on the island.

The report also found that they had declined an offer to be ferried back to the yacht.

A witness, Ian Day, recounted that he drove his jeep to the end of the pier and used his headlights to assure himself that the tender had reached the vessel. Though it had been agreed with both men that they would turn off the external lights on the vessel when they safely boarded, it was assumed that they had forgotten.

The bodies of both men were discovered the following morning. Mr. McEllin’s body was found lying on West Quarter Beach adjacent to where the vessel was moored, while Mr. Feeney’s body was found afloat, lying under the upturned tender. Mr. McEllin’s lifejacket had inflated but was entangled around his neck, indicating that the groin strap was not properly tied.

Based on the available evidence, the MCIB concluded that the deaths were the result of attemping a night-time transfer from a small inflatable boat to a larger vessel swinging on its mooring, combined with "possible tiredness and diminished human performance resulting from the effects of alcohol".

The full MCIB report is available for download below.

Published in MCIB

Irish Lighthouses

Irish Lights is a maritime organisation delivering essential 24/7 safety and navigation services around the coast of Ireland 365 days. Its focus is reliable and cost-effective services which protect people, property and the marine environment, and support marine industry and coastal communities.

Irish Lights is responsible for providing marine aids to navigation under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention. This remit includes: providing and maintaining over 300 general aids to navigation, managing about 4,000 local aids to navigation and marking or removing dangerous wrecks outside harbour areas around Ireland. Irish Lights also provides contract commercial services for ship charter, buoy and marine data services and supports tourism and heritage activities.

Emergency Response: If you notice any aid to navigation is not functioning correctly please contact our 24-hour emergency number 01 280 1996

Great Lighthouses of Ireland

St John's Point, Co Donegal 
Fanad Head, Co Donegal
Rathlin West Light, Co Antrim
Blackhead, Co Antrim
St John’s Point, Co Down
Wicklow Head, Co Wicklow
The Great Light and Titanic Walkway, Belfast
Hook, Co Wexford
Ballycotton, Co Cork
Galley Head, Co Cork
Valentia Island, Co Kerry
Loop Head, Co Clare
Clare Island, Co Mayo
Fastnet Rock Boat Tours