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Displaying items by tag: ferry

#MCIB - "Serious weaknesses" in navigational procedures and practices led to the grounding of a passenger boat at Roonagh Pier in Co Mayo last winter, according to the official report into the incident.

The inter-island passenger ferry Pirate Queen - operated by Clare Island Ferry and Clew Bay Cruises Ltd - grounded on rocks at the entrance to Roonagh Pier on the evening of 20 December 2011 as it made a nighttime approach to the pier.

Two crew were joined by three passengers on board at the time, one of whom served as auxiliary crew while another was injured when the vessel was jolted in heavy swell. The vessel itself, though not holed, sustained severe structural damage.

It emerged that the navigational aid lights on the pier - maintained my Mayo County Council - were not fully functioning at the time of the incident and did not illuminate the waters in the vicinity of the pier, making any approach in darkness a dangerous one, particularly at a location where swells were common at the best of times.

However, the Pirate Queen continued on its heading to Roonagh Pier despite its master being made aware of the lighting issue via SMS shortly after leaving Inishturk.

On approach is was noted that the search light was not manned, and when the lookout reported that the vessel was too far to the east, a large swell forced the boat onto rocks on the east side of the pier.

Lifejackets were immediately put on the passengers, while a fellow ferry master returning home on his RIB was hailed to quickly retrieve the passengers from the boat.

As the ferry was rolling and grinding on the rocks in the heavy swell, one of the passengers was thrown against a bulkhead or the hull and suffered a back injury, though luckily avoided head injury due to the lifejacket. All three passengers were transferred ashore safely via RIB.

In its findings, the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) initially focused on the pier lighting, both high-level and navigation lights, noting their vulnerability to storm damage and the lack of effective screening.

But upon further analysis, the report highlighted a number of deficiencies in the running of the ferry service itself, such as the lack of crew rosters to ensure a full complement for any sailing, and the absence of an alternative plan in the event of difficulties landing at Roonagh Pier.

In addition, it noted "an over-reliance of visual aids to navigation and a neglect to practice and use the electronic aids on board.

"When one is very familiar with the waters and on regular passages it is very easy to become complacent," the report stated.

It also noted the "hazardous and unacceptable" decision following the incident to move the boat from Roonagh Pier to Clare Island without informing the Irish Coast Guard of the situation.

The MCIB recommends that the ferry operators devise specific approach instructions, ensure that all employees take part "in the full range of emergency procedures" and that crew rosters be drawn up and displayed. The complete report is available to download below.

Published in MCIB

#MarineWildlife - BBC News has some incredible footage of a 'superpod' comprising hundreds of dolphins in the Irish Sea captured this week.

The video was shot by surprised researchers with the Wales-based Sea Trust on one of the groups routine survey expeditions between Fishguard and Rosslare on board the Stena Europe ferry.

Cliff Benson of the marine wildlife charity described the sea as "boiling" with dolphins just 10 miles off the Irish coast yesterday morning.

"They were just coming and coming. It was the last thing on earth I was expecting in the winter," he said. "We had at least 250 and that's a conservative estimate. I'm guessing there was as many as 500."

The incredible sight comes just a month after the researchers recorded what they called a "dolphin-fest" along the same route west of Tusker Rock, numbering more than a 100 dolphins and 26 porpoises.

BBC News has more on the story HERE - and more footage is available HERE via RTÉ News.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Large numbers of dolphins have been filmed in the Irish Sea off the Welsh coast by wildlife volunteers, as WalesOnline reports.

The conservationists with the Sea Trust charity, based in Pembrokeshire, recorded the "dolphin-fest" from the deck of the Stena Europe ferry en route from Fishguard to Rosslare.

Sea Trust director Cliff Benson confirmed the sighting of "a pod of eight Risso's dolphins, 40-plus common dolphins [and] four porpoises" among others as soon as the ferry headed west of Tusker Rock.

Altogether in the three-hour passage across the Irish Sea, the volunteer surveyors recorded a total of 99 common dolphins, 10 Risso's dolphins and 26 harbour porpoises. "That's not bad for a winter trip," said Benson.

He added that while there are threats to the Irish Sea's cetaceans from scallop dredging and the like, "to date our surveys show this area is teeming with life.

“This is Wales and Ireland we are talking about not Bermuda so get this amount of dolphin and porpoise activity with whales thrown in as well is incredible."

Stena has welcomed Sea Trust volunteers on board its vessels since 2004 to check on cetaceans and other marine wildlife in the waters between Ireland and the UK on a monthly basis.

And as reported previously on Afloat.ie, Seatruck Ferries has also been providing free passage to UK marine wildlife researchers to discover how many dolphins and seabirds make their home in the Irish Sea.

Meanwhile, BBC News reports that a pod of more than 100 bottlenose dolphins was recently spotted off the Isle of Man.

The Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch said it received a number of sightings from the east and west coasts of the island in the northern half of the Irish Sea, reporting a hive of activity.

"The group sizes tend to be relatively ginormous," said Tom Felce of the group. "So if they are here you can't miss them."

Published in Marine Wildlife

#ISLAND NEWS - A 73-year-old man has died after a fall on a ferry in the Aran Islands at the weekend.

The Irish Times reports that the man, named locally as James McClean, sustained serious head injuries when he fell in a stairwell on the ferry, which was heading to dock at Kilronan Harbour on Inish Mór, on Sunday morning.

According to TheJournal.ie, the man is believed to have been working on the vessel Ceoil na Farraige at the time. He was airlifted by the Irish Coast Guard to Galway University Hospital in serious condition but later died as a result of his injuries.

Published in Island News

#FERRY NEWS - BBC News reports that the captain of the cargo ship that collided with a passenger ferry in Belfast Lough could face up to two years in prison as his case has been sent to Crown Court.

Miroslaw Pozniak, 55, pleaded guilty on Friday to the charge of 'excess alcohol by the master of a ship' after the cargo vessel Union Moon collided with the Stena Feronia close to the Fairway buoy on Wednesday.

Both vessels were substantially damaged in the incident but there are no reports of injuries.

Newtownards Court heard yesterday that Pozniak has been fired by his employer. He will remain in custody until 20 March when the judge will again consider bail.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS - The captain of the cargo ship Union Moon, who was arrested after his vessel collided with a passenger ferry in Belfast Lough, has been charged with 'excess alcohol by the master of a ship'.

BBC News reports that the 55-year-old was set to appear in court today, following his arrest yesterday.

No one was injured in the incident on Wednesday, when the Union Moon collided with the Stena Feronia close to the Fairway buoy between Carrickfergus and Helen's Bay. Both vessels were substantially damaged.

The cargo ship, which was carrying 2,000 tonnes of aggregate, was brought back to Belfast. Philip McNamara of the Donaghdee lifeboat confirmed that a large section of her bow was missing.

Meanwhile, engineers from Stena Irish Sea are assessing the damage to their vessel to determine how long it will be out of service. The Stena Feronia sails the route from Belfast to Birkenhead in Merseyside.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and the PSNI are all involved in the investigation.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Ferry

#SWANSEA CORK FERRY – The merchant ship MV Julia which operated as the Cork Swansea Ferry for the last two years is up for sale following the closure of The Fastnet Line ferry service and the loss of 78 jobs.

According to Dominic Daly Auctioneers the owners of the 1982–built vessel, a Finnish Bank, are inviting offers for the vessel on an 'AS SEEN AS IS' basis'. A guide price is expected shortly

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the operator had been in examinership since last November, and a restructured business plan had been submitted with a view to resuming high-season service in April. However, in a statement the owners of the Fastnet Line said they had been unable to raise the €1m-plus investment required and that the examinership had "failed".

The ship is currently lying alongside at Cork Port.

The basic details of the vessel are as follows:

IMO Number: 8020642

Year of Build: 1982 (Germany)

Gross Tonnage: 22,161

DWT: 2,880

Net Tonnage: 8,921

LOA: 153.4

Length (BP): 136.02

Breadth: 24.24

Draught: 5.82

Height: 43.0

Displacement: 12,380

Passengers: Unberthed: 1,062

Cabins 344

Berths: 938

Crew: 110

Lorries: 110

Cars: 550

Ro-Ro Lanes: 710m x 5.20m 4.50m

Ramps: 1 Port 5.56 x 6.16 x 0

1 Starboard 5.56 x 6.16 x 0

1 Centre Or Only 9.95 x 6.68 x 0

Bow Door & Ramp, Stern Ramp

Published in Ports & Shipping

#PORTSDublin Port Company today published trade statistics for 2011. Total throughput in 2011 was broadly in line with 2010, down by only 0.1% to 28.1m tonnes. Within this, however, exports continued to grow and were up 2.8% in the year at 11.5m tonnes.

2011 trade statistics summary:

Total throughput – 28.1m tonnes, down 0.1%

Exports – 11.5m tonnes up 2.8%

Imports – 16.6m tonnes down 2.0%

Bulk Liquid – 3.6m tonnes, down 4.7%

Bulk Solid – 1.6m tonnes, up 10.8%

Unitised trade now accounts for 81% of Dublin Port's business. During 2011, Ro-Ro freight volumes were virtually unchanged at 725,000 units. In contrast, Lo-Lo volumes fell by 5.1% to 526,000 TEU.

Ferry passenger numbers fell by 5.6% to 1.7m. This follows a record year in 2010 when numbers were boosted by the impact of weather and ash clouds. Compared to 2009, passenger numbers were up 11.1%.

With 1.7m ferry passengers moving through the port, Dublin Port is behind only Dublin Airport and Cork Airport as a national tourism gateway.

The cruise liner side of Dublin Port's business saw a 7.5% increase in cruise passengers. During 2011, 87 cruise ships brought over 135,000 passengers and crew to Dublin.

Commenting on the trade figures, Eamonn O'Reilly, Dublin Port Company's Chief Executive said:

"Trade levels at Dublin Port were steady in 2011 which is a robust performance given the large (6.1%) increase in the port's volumes in the previous year.

"Whereas export volumes have continued to grow and are now 0.5m tonnes higher than they were in 2007, the poor performance of the domestic economy has resulted in a continued decline in imports. These are now 3.4m tonnes lower than they were in 2007.

"Notwithstanding the poor performance of the economy we are continuing to plan for the future and will shortly be launching our Masterplan 2012 to 2040. Dublin remains the largest and most important port on the island and our Masterplan is intended to ensure we continue to provide vital port capacity particularly as the economy returns to growth in coming years.

"With all the difficulties in the economy we are still only 9% behind where we were at the peak in 2007 and we believe that any pick-up in domestic demand will quickly translate into growth in import volumes. The Masterplan will ensure we stay ahead of future growth in demand for decades to come".

Published in Dublin Port

#ISLANDS - Cape Clear Island's most well-known couple may get even wider attention now that they're featured in Terry Wogan's new book on Ireland.

Micheál and Sile Ó Ceadagáin – who were the focus of TG4 programme Mí na Meala – are two of the many characters included in Wogan's Ireland, the book accompanying the legendary broadcaster's recent TV series.

According to the blog of the Cape Clear ferry service Cailín Óir: "The photographs [included] are stunning, including those of Cléire and Fastnet, to where Terry enjoyed an idyllic summer’s outing with Micheál on his boat The Gaisceannán.

"Micheál and Sheila are a hospitable couple which extends to the boat and Micheal's famous teas served at sea have pleased many, including the indefatigable Terry."

Wogan's Ireland is packed with photos and stories of Terry's whistle-stop tour of the country's 'coastal fringe', laced with his self-deprecating wit. The book is available online for as little as €10.

Published in Island News

#FERRY NEWS - A cross-border project to develop ferry services for island and remote communities of the Irish and Scottish coastlines has received funding in the sixth round of the European Regional Development Fund (EDRF).

A grant of £450,000 (€540,000) has been allocated to procure the world's first ever hybrid RORO ferry for operation in Scotland, following the completion of the INTERREG funded Small Ferries Project.

The project - a cross-border partnership between Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited and administrations in Ireland and Northern Ireland - produced common designs and procurement strategies for a fleet of small ferries which could be used to serve remote coastal communities.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, five Scottish coastal routes (and three Irish routes) were examined as part of the Small Ferries Project report published in September last year.

Arising from this, Scotland will see the next step in the project by hosting the world’s first hybrid RORO ferry, designed for use on short crossing routes around the Clyde esturary and Hebrides.

The EDRF funding will also be used to develop the corresponding shore infrastructure to enable the ferry to recharge in port.

The first vessel is expected to enter service in Spring 2013.

Published in Ferry
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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

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