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Displaying items by tag: COVID19

Worry over if there will be a 2021 sailing season at all has been replaced by hope after the Government outlined its latest path out of COVID-19 last night.

There has been overwhelming optimism following the news of the accelerated easing of restrictions from regatta organisers and sailing clubs around the country, especially for those events penciled in for June.

People will be allowed to travel across the country from 10 May. Hotels, B&Bs, bars and restaurants, and outside catering returning in the first week of June. 

The Taoiseach said last night training in sport can resume in May and competition returning in June.

It's a scenario that opens the door for a very complete sailing season as had been scheduled, but many feared – given the country has been in Level 5 lockdown since Christmas Eve – that would not take place.

And while there is positivity from organisers, most also now want more clarity on last night's arrangements.

The expectation is that such clarity will come from Sport Ireland in the coming days.

For example, as sailing is a low-risk outdoor no-contact sport and there is little difference in sailing between training and competition modes more clarity is needed on the resumption date for yacht racing competitions.

DBSC - May 4th

The country's biggest sailing league on Dublin Bay had been targeting a return on May 4th. While this is still not confirmed, Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Commodore Ann Kirwan told Afloat the club is awaiting "guidance" but "would be hopeful for a return to our full racing programme pretty soon". 

DBSC has laid its marks, prepared courses and made arrangements for an immediate start to the season that traditionally begins this week for a fleet of up to 200 boats and 1200 sailors on the capital's waters. 

ISORA - May 15th

The first big offshore of the season is the Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race on June 9th and ahead of that ISORA intends to run training for the 320-mile race ahead of that. "The first ISORA race is Saturday in Pwllheli. On the Irish side, ISORA will be providing training and experience for boats and crews considering doing the D2D race. These will start on the 15th of May. It’s all systems go!", ISORA chief Peter Ryan told Afloat.

Dun Laoghaire Dingle - June 9th

Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race Chairman Adam Winkelmann is also optimistic "I think it looks very positive for the race to go ahead, subject to Irish Sailing confirmation on racing and crew numbers". 

The D2D reached its 50-boat entry limit as early as March 6.   

Adam Winkelmann - positive news over Government easing of restrictions so the 2021 D2D can go ahead in JuneAdam Winkelmann - positive news over Government easing of restrictions so the 2021 D2D can go ahead in June

Winkelmann told Afloat he is "still concerned about boats from UK ( including NI) being allowed enter Irish ports". 

He says he also needs to consult with marinas, particularly Dingle after the racing situation is clarified but expects to know more on that over the next few days. 

As regular Afloat readers know, there are special arrangements required under COVID for anyone seeking to bring yachts to Ireland.

"We will move to virtual forms for declarations where possible and may need to defer prizegiving to Sept / Oct in NYC, Winkelmann added as part of his initial thoughts following the Government announcement. 

Sovereign's Cup - June 24th

The D2D brings Dublin boats to the south coast where the next big event on the Calendar is Kinsale Yacht Club's Sovereign's Cup, on June 24th where club commodore Mike Walsh told Afloat; "We are all excited but need to read the small print. expect an announcement in coming days".

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Following yesterday’s update on the upcoming easing of Level 5 restrictions on waterways in the Republic, Waterways Ireland has issued an advisory on access to navigations and availability of services in Northern Ireland.

As in the rest of the island of Ireland, all Waterways Ireland locks and service blocks remain closed on the Lower Bann Navigation, the Erne System and the section of the Shannon-Erne Waterway within Northern Ireland.

Local area access to jetties and moorings is in accordance with Northern Ireland Executive guidance.

Pump-out facilities are available for use, but owners must ensure that travel to pump-out facilities must be undertaken in a responsible manner minimising the amount of essential movement out on the water.

When on jetties, Waterways Ireland urges awareness of other users; wait or move aside to allow others to pass at a safe distance.

Waterways Ireland says it will continually review such measures in light of direction and advice from the NI Executive and health professionals.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways added: “If we all continue to observe government guidance, follow advice to limit use, and strictly observe social distancing, together we can combat this pandemic — and be able to enjoy getting back out on or by our waterways when we've beaten it.”

Published in Inland Waterways
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Waterways Ireland is advising all masters of vessels and water users that, in line with Irish Government restrictions, much of its network of inland waterways will open for navigation within one’s own home county from Monday 12 April.

However, all locks and bridges on the Shannon Navigation, Shannon-Erne Waterway, Royal Canal, Grand Canal, Barrow Line and Barrow Navigation remain closed, as do all Waterways Ireland service blocks.

And the easing of restrictions only applies to waterways with the Republic of Ireland, as the NI Executive sets its own rules for waterways within Northern Ireland.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the winter mooring period has been extended on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne Waterway until Friday 30 Apri.

When the Government announces Level 4 restrictions, Waterways Ireland will open locks and bridges on the Shannon from 9am to 3pm daily and on the Shannon–Erne Waterway between 9am and 5pm. Service blocks and other on-shore services will also be available for use.

When Ireland moves to Level 3, Waterways Ireland will open locks and bridges at normal hours on all navigations.

Previous advisories for those using canal towpaths remain in place, with people encouraged to limit their use and stay within their home county.

Published in Inland Waterways
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British Marine has said recent guidance issued by the UK Government confirms that canal boats and other vessels in England are, in its view, eligible for COVID-19 recovery grants.

The Restart Grants were announced earlier this month by Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rushi Sunak, and are issued by local authorities in England.

“This confirmation means that accommodation providers, such as vessels and canal boats, should be eligible for a one-off grant of up to £18,000 to support them throughout the ongoing pandemic and the subsequent restrictions on trading,” British Marine said.

The grant is exclusively for businesses which pay business rates, with the exact value of the grant determined by the businesses’ rateable value:

  1. Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value of exactly £15,000 or under on 1 April 2021 will receive a payment of £8,000.
  2. Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 on 1 April 2021 will receive a payment of £12,000.
  3. Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or over on 1 April 2021 will receive a payment of £18,000.

British Marine advises its members to contact their local authority to discuss their eligibility. Members can also visit British Marine’s COVID-19 microsite for the latest information.

Published in Inland Waterways
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The Department of Transport has confirmed limited exemptions for maritime crews from mandatory hotel quarantine for those entering the State from high-risk countries, which comes into effect from tomorrow, Friday 26 March.

As detailed in Marine Notice No 16 of 2021 (which can be downloaded below), maritime crew are considered to be in the course of their work until they reach their home, having completed their duties on board.

It is recommended that seafarers arriving to Ireland to join a ship have in their possession evidence such as joining instructions from their employer or crewing agency.

In addition, it is recommended that seafarers leaving a ship abroad to return to Ireland are in possession of their seafarer’s discharge book that has been appropriately signed off by the ship as proof they have just completed their time aboard a vessel and are returning immediately home.

Another exemption is for anyone classed as an international transport workers, defined as a person who holds a valid Annex 3 Certificate in accordance with the Communication from the EU Commission on the implementation of the Green Lanes under the guidance for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and ensure services.

While maritime crew are generally exempt from the travel restriction requirements, this does not extend to crew involved in the operation of pleasure craft not engaged in trade, as such journeys are considered non-essential.

Any crew arriving in Ireland working aboard such a craft are required to adhere to all of the relevant travel restrictions as appropriate, including completion of a passenger locator form, pre-departure RT-PCR test taken 72 hours prior to arrival and mandatory hotel quarantine where applicable. Breach of these legal obligations is an offence.

Further information in relation to travel restrictions in Ireland is available from gov.ie.

Owners/operators of international ferries serving Ireland are legally required to inform passengers of their obligations in relation to travel restrictions currently in place in Ireland.

They are also required to check each passenger has evidence of a negative/not-detected result from a RT-PCR test taken 72 hours prior to arrival in the State and to deny boarding to the passenger if such evidence is not produced.

In addition, there is a now a requirement to ensure that any passenger subject to mandatory hotel quarantine has made the necessary booking in advance of travel and to deny boarding if a relevant passenger cannot produce such evidence.

Masters are also requested to make on-board announcements detailing the legal requirement for passengers to complete the passenger locator form before disembarking and to ask passengers to have the form ready for collection by immigration officers.

Published in Ports & Shipping
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The RYANI has broadly welcomed the news of easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland from 1 April, as announced last week by First Minister Arlene Foster.

The sailing and boating body saidL: “This is very welcome news and follows on from engagement with the Minister of Communities, who has continued to be an advocate for sport and outdoor activity.

“Our understanding is that this will include further easing of restrictions for boating activity, namely around venue access.

“We still await the issuing of the regulations and guidance from the department to understand implications across the boating community in full."

Full guidance is currently pending, but the RYANI has summarised the position as it understands:

  • Updated Regulations are yet to be laid in order to confirm venues etc that may reopen from 1 April.
  • In the absence of the regulations, affiliated boat clubs will be able to reopen outdoor facilities from 1 April. However, there will be stringent protocols required, including very limited numbers.
  • Sailing, windsurfing and powerboating as individual, single household/bubble recreational activity will be permitted from 1 April.
  • Activity with two different households is permitted only where 2m social distancing can be adhered to at all times and with a maximum 10 people.
  • SportNI/Department for Communities will be briefing national governing bodies in coming days of the phases for outdoor sports, including more detailed guidance.
  • The current sub-phases under Step 2 will move from recreational through to training and potentially competition.
  • Once received, RYANI will be working to create guidance for clubs, centres and the wider boating community and we will share this as soon as practically possible.

“Although this announcement is welcome and further details are to follow, our current guidance remains in place, where club and other watersports facilities must remain closed,” the RYANI adds.

“We appreciate this will raise a large number of questions and will work to ensure appropriate guidance is issued at the earliest possible opportunity in order to allow you to make informed decisions.”

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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In the south-east ferryport of Rosslare, serious questions have been asked over the numbers of passengers arriving and departing and the amount of screening being undertaken to prevent any further spread of Covid-19.

Last week images, writes Wexford People, were circulated of a convoy of caravans at Rosslare Europort, apparently queued up to board a ferry to France.

Meanwhile, further video footage has emerged which shows upwards of 20 cars driving off the Isle of Inishmore on Sunday night after it arrived in Rosslare from Pembroke (see other story).

An eyewitness said that the cars were all UK registered vehicles apart from one Dublin reg and one Cork reg.

While garda checkpoints had been setup in Kilrane previously, it's unclear if gardaí were present on this occasion, although checks would have been carried out at the port.

Published in Rosslare Europort

A £2.5m fund to help marine tourism businesses in Scotland restart operations in 2021 will be open for applications from next week, according to Marine Industry News.

The Marine and Outdoor Tourism Restart Fund is part of an overall £104.3m support package for tourism businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the fund is aimed at supporting businesses through the expense of gearing up for the 2021 season.

Both inland and coastal operators will be eligible to apply for grants from £1,000 up to £15,000 in the VisitScotland-administered scheme, which opens at noon on Tuesday 2 February.

“Industry surveys indicated over 75% of operators in the charter and small cruise sector secured two months or less of trading in 2020,” Sail Scotland chief executive Alan Rankin said.

“Managers of local visitor moorings and pontoon services faced a vastly curtailed season, many of whom are not for profit community led groups operating on extremely thin margins.

He added: “The importance of supporting the sector at this time of year is vital, not just for direct jobs but also the valuable economic benefits marine tourism brings to rural and remote coastal and island communities.”

Marine Industry News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Scottish Waters

Scotland’s struggling aquatic tourism sector is set to be boosted by a £2.5m pandemic support package from the devolved government, as Marine Industry News reports.

Sail Scotland and Wild Scotland have secured the £2.5m restart grant scheme aimed at supporting businesses through the expense of gearing up for the 2021 season.

Both inland and coastal operators will be eligible to apply for grants from £1,000 up to £15,000 in the VisitScotland-administered scheme.

Operators of visitor moorings and pontoons will also be able to access grants of between £1,000 and £7,500 in the scheme, which opens in January.

“After months of pressing the case to the Scottish Government, we are pleased the hardship faced by operators in the marine sector is being recognised,” Sail Scotland chief executive Alan Rankin says.

But he adds that the restart funding is just one of the industry’s ‘three asks’ of the regional government — with the others being “detailed solutions around workable rules” and a “recovery marketing fund”.

Marine Industry News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Scottish Waters

Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) is the first ferry firm in the UK to receive a top industry verification for its infection risk management processes.

The operator of Scotland's lifeline services to west coast islands has been found compliant to a high standard for infection risk management, earning the right to use DNV GL's prestigious My Care Readiness Mark.

CalMac's HSQE team worked closely with independent third party risk management and quality assurance experts DNV GL, which has completed a verification assessment of the readiness of the organisation in managing infection risk from emerging pathogens.

All processes were reviewed using the My Care framework, which assesses, manages and mitigates infection risk in management systems, business processes and operations. This was carried out through document review, remote discussions with onboard management teams, and included eight site visits.

Louis de Wolff, Director of HSQE at CalMac, said: "The My Care Readiness Mark provides formal recognition of the high standards of health and safety protection on our routes to reduce the risk of infection.

"This award reaffirms our commitment to ensuring a safe environment for passengers, colleagues and communities, during the current COVID pandemic and beyond.

"The review process was in-depth and rigorous, and I am grateful to CalMac staff for their open and honest insight into our processes and how they are implemented across the organisation."

Aileen Orr, Healthcare Lead at DNV GL - Business Assurance in the UK, said, "Many congratulations to CalMac on this achievement, which is well deserved. I was impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment of staff at all levels."

Published in Ferry
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Port of Cork Information

The Port of Cork is the key seaport in the south of Ireland and is one of only two Irish ports which service the requirements of all six shipping modes i.e., Lift-on Lift-off, Roll-on Roll-off, Liquid Bulk, Dry Bulk, Break Bulk and Cruise. Due to its favourable location on the south coast of Ireland and its modern deep-water facilities, the Port of Cork is ideally positioned for additional European trading as well as for yet unexploited direct deep-sea shipping services.

The Port of Cork is investing €80 million in a container terminal development in Ringaskiddy. The Cork Container Terminal will initially offer a 360-metre quay with 13-metre depth alongside and will enable larger ships to berth in the port. The development also includes the construction of a 13.5-hectare terminal and associated buildings as well as two ship to shore gantry cranes and container handling equipment.

The development of new container handling facilities at Ringaskiddy was identified in the Port of Cork’s Strategic Development Plan in 2010. It will accommodate current and future container shipping which can be serviced by modern and efficient cargo handling equipment with innovative terminal operating and vehicle booking systems. The Port of Cork anticipates that Cork Container Terminal will be operational in 2020.

The Port of Cork is the key seaport in the south of Ireland and is one of just two Irish ports which service the requirements of all shipping modes.

The Port of Cork also controls Bantry Bay Port Company and employs 150 people across all locations.

A European Designated Core Port and a Tier 1 Port of National Significance, Port of Cork’s reputation for quality service, including prompt and efficient vessel turnaround as well as the company’s investment in future growth, ensures its position as a vital link in the global supply chain.

The port has made impressive strides in recent decades, most recently with the construction of the new €80m Cork Container Terminal in Ringaskiddy which will facilitate the natural progression of the move from a river port to a deepwater port in order to future proof the Port
of Cork. This state-of-the-art terminal which will open in 2020 will be capable of berthing the largest container ships currently calling to Ireland.

The Port of Cork Company is a commercial semi-state company responsible for the commercial running of the harbour as well as responsibility for navigation and berthage in the port.  The Port is the main port serving the South of Ireland, County Cork and Cork City. 

Types of Shipping Using Port of Cork

The Port offers all six shipping modes from Lift-on Lift-off, Roll-on Roll-off, Liquid Bulk, Dry Bulk, Break Bulk and Cruise liner traffic.

Port of Cork Growth

The port has made impressive strides in recent decades. Since 2000, the Port of Cork has invested €72 million in improving Port infrastructure and facilities. Due to its favourable location and its modern deepwater facilities, the Port is ideally positioned for additional European trading as well as for yet unexploited direct deep-sea shipping services. A well-developed road infrastructure eases the flow of traffic from and to the port. The Port of Cork’s growing reputation for quality service, including prompt and efficient vessel turnaround, ensures its position as a vital link in the global supply chain. The Port of Cork Company turnover in 2018 amounted to €35.4 million, an increase of €3.9 million from €31.5 million in 2017. The combined traffic of both the Ports of Cork and Bantry increased to 10.66 million tonnes in 2018 up from 10.3 million tonnes in 2017.

History of Port of Cork

Famous at the last port of call of the Titanic, these medieval navigation and port facilities of the city and harbour were historically managed by the Cork Harbour Commissioners. Founded in 1814, the Cork Harbour Commissioners moved to the Custom House in 1904.  Following the implementation of the 1996 Harbours Act, by March 1997 all assets of the Commissioners were transferred to the Port of Cork Company.

Commercial Traffic at Port of Cork

Vessels up to 90,000 tonnes deadweight (DWT) are capable of coming through entrance to Cork Harbour. As the shipping channels get shallower the farther inland one travels, access becomes constricted, and only vessels up to 60,000 DWT can sail above Cobh. The Port of Cork provides pilotage and towage facilities for vessels entering Cork Harbour. All vessels accessing the quays in Cork City must be piloted and all vessels exceeding 130 metres in length must be piloted once they pass within 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km) of the harbour entrance.

Berthing Facilities in Cork Harbour

The Port of Cork has berthing facilities at Cork City, Tivoli, Cobh and Ringaskiddy. The facilities in Cork City are primarily used for grain and oil transport. Tivoli provides container handling, facilities for oil, livestock and ore and a roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) ramp. Prior to the opening of Ringaskiddy Ferry Port, car ferries sailed from here; now, the Ro-Ro ramp is used by companies importing cars into Ireland. In addition to the ferry terminal, Ringaskiddy has a deep water port.

Port of Cork Development Plans

2020 will be a significant year for the Port of Cork as it prepares to complete and open the €86 million Cork Container Terminal development in Ringaskiddy.

Once operational the new terminal will enable the port to handle up to 450,000 TEU per annum. Port of Cork already possess significant natural depth in Cork harbour, and the work in Ringaskiddy Port will enable the Port of Cork to accommodate vessels of 5500 to 6000 TEU, which will provide a great deal of additional potential for increasing container traffic.

It follows a previous plan hatched in 2006 as the port operated at full capacity the Port drew up plans for a new container facility at Ringaskiddy. This was the subject of major objections and after an Oral Planning Hearing was held in 2008 the Irish planning board Bord Pleanala rejected the plan due to inadequate rail and road links at the location.  

Further notable sustainability projects also include:

  • The Port of Cork have invested in 2 x STS cranes – Type single lift, Model P (148) L, (WS) Super. These cranes contain the most modern and energy-efficient control and monitoring systems currently available on the market and include an LED floodlight system equipped with software to facilitate remote diagnostics, a Crane Management System (CMS) and an energy chain supply on both cranes replacing the previous preferred festoon cabling installation.
  • The Port of Cork has installed High Mast Lighting Voltage Control Units at its two main cargo handling locations – Tivoli Industrial & Dock Estate and Ringaskiddy Deep-water & Ferry Terminals. This investment has led to more efficient energy use and reduced risk of light pollution. The lights can also be controlled remotely.
  • The Port of Cork’s largest electrical consumer at Tivoli Container Terminal is the handling and storage of refrigerated containers. Local data loggers were used to assess energy consumption. This provided timely intervention regarding Power Factor Correction Bank efficiency on our STS (Ship to Shore) Cranes and Substations, allowing for reduced mains demand and reducing wattless energy losses along with excess charges. The information gathered has helped us to design and build a reefer storage facility with energy management and remote monitoring included.

Bantry Port

In 2017 Bantry Bay Port Company completed a significant investment of €8.5 million in the Bantry Inner Harbour development. The development consisted of a leisure marina, widening of the town pier, dredging of the inner harbour and creation of a foreshore amenity space.

Port of Cork Cruise Liner Traffic

2019 was a record cruise season for the Port of Cork with 100 cruise liners visiting. In total over 243,000 passengers and crew visited the region with many passengers visiting Cork for the first time.

Also in 2019, the Port of Cork's Cruise line berth in Cobh was recognised as one of the best cruise destinations in the world, winning in the Top-Rated British Isles & Western Europe Cruise Destination category. 

There has been an increase in cruise ship visits to Cork Harbour in the early 21st century, with 53 such ships visiting the port in 2011, increasing to approximately 100 cruise ship visits by 2019.

These cruise ships berth at the Port of Cork's deepwater quay in Cobh, which is Ireland's only dedicated berth for cruise ships.

Passenger Ferries

Operating since the late 1970s, Brittany Ferries runs a ferry service to Roscoff in France. This operates between April and November from the Ro-Ro facilities at Ringaskiddy. Previous ferry services ran to Swansea in Wales and Santander in Spain. The former, the Swansea Cork ferry, ran initially between 1987 and 2006 and also briefly between 2010 and 2012.

The latter, a Brittany Ferries Cork–Santander service, started in 2018 but was cancelled in early 2020.

Marine Leisure

The Port of Cork has a strategy that aims to promote the harbour also as a leisure amenity. Cork’s superb natural harbour is a great place to enjoy all types of marine leisure pursuits. With lots of sailing and rowing clubs dotted throughout the harbour, excellent fishing and picturesque harbour-side paths for walking, running or cycling, there is something for everyone to enjoy in and around Cork harbour. The Port is actively involved with the promotion of Cork Harbour's annual Festival. The oldest sailing club in the world, founded in 1720, is the Royal Cork Yacht Club is located at Crosshaven in the harbour, proof positive, says the Port, that the people of Cork, and its visitors, have been enjoying this vast natural leisure resource for centuries. 

Port of Cork Executives

  • Chairman: John Mullins
  • Chief Executive: Brendan Keating
  • Secretary/Chief Finance Officer: Donal Crowley
  • Harbour Master and Chief Operations Officer: Capt. Paul O'Regan
  • Port Engineering Manager: Henry Kingston
  • Chief Commercial Officer: Conor Mowlds
  • Head of Human Resources: Peter O'Shaughnessy
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At A Glance – Port of Cork

Type of port: deepwater, multi-model, Panamax, warm-water
Available berths: Up to ten
Wharves: 1
Employees: 113
Chief Executive: Brendan Keating
Annual cargo tonnage: 9,050,000
Annual container volume: 165,000

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