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Displaying items by tag: Mediterranean

A sailing yacht has been sunk in the Strait of Gibraltar in the latest of a spate of incidents involving orcas in the region.

According to RTÉ News, the 15-metre yacht Alboran Cognac was rammed by the cetaceans on Sunday morning (12 May) and began to take on water.

The yacht’s two occupants were rescued by a nearby oil tanker in waters off Morocco and the yacht was left adrift before it eventually sank.

It marks the latest in a lengthy series of interactions between the so-called “Gladis” pod of Iberian orcas and sailing vessels dating back to early 2020.

The marine wildlife apex predators have been linked to hundreds of incidents off Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal, Morocco and France — seven of them resulting in shipwrecks, as Marine Industry News reports.

Some marine science experts believe that the orcas may be getting an “adrenaline shot” and ramming vessels in a playful manner rather mounting coordinated attacks as some fear, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife

A routine inspection of a frozen seafood shop near Alicante in Spain has revealed a trove of ancient Roman artefacts, as the Guardian reports.

Objects including a number of ceramic amphoras — receptacles for carrying oil and other liquids — had been taken from the water by the owner’s son on fishing trips in the Mediterranean and used to decorate the shop in Santa Pola, it has emerged.

The items were confiscated by the authorities and examined by experts at the local Museum of the Sea, who say they likely come from shipwrecks off the eastern Spanish coast and could date back nearly 2,000 years.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh has defended her decision to vote against a resolution in the European Parliament to enhance rescue missions for migrants in the Mediterranean.

The vote in Strasbourg yesterday (Thursday 24 October) lost by two. Every Fine Gael MEP — Walsh, Frances Fitzgerald, Sean Kelly and Mairéad McGuinness — voted against the resolution.

There were also four votes not recorded, from independent Clare Daly, Billy Kelleher (Fianna Fáil), Dianne Dodds (DUP) and Naomi Long (Alliance).

The Fine Gael MEPs have been criticised for their stance against the resolution that called on member states to “step up their efforts” and “enhance proactive search and rescue operations” in the Mediterranean, a signifiant and perilous crossing point for people from Africa and Asia seeking asylum in Europe.

The vote result was applauded in the chamber among the far-right block of European parliamentarians, a response condemned among others by Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan who voted for the resolution.

Speaking on behalf of her fellow party MEPs, Walsh said their decision was based on issues with ‘sharing intelligence’.

“We want to save lives and fight human traffickers and to do that, we need a coherent, comprehensive and long-term EU response to search and rescue in the Mediterranean,” she said after the vote.

“In the short-term, the EU and member states must allocate more resources to Search and Rescue and increase missions to save more lives. We also need to urgently step up the fight against the organised criminals and human traffickers who profit on the vulnerable.

“The resolution rejected by the European Parliament today does the opposite by calling for Frontex, the European border and coastguard agency, to share intelligence about its operational activities with every boat in the Mediterranean.

“That would endanger more lives by facilitating, instead of dismantling, the business models of smugglers and human traffickers. We could not support that.”

Walsh, who sits on the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee, said “we can do so much better” than the failed resolution “which plays into hands of people smugglers and lacks workable solutions”.

Update Friday 25 October: this article has been corrected to note that the absent votes of four Irish MEPs were not recorded.

Published in News Update

A number of Irish Naval Service vessels, RTE reports, will not be able to patrol the Mediterranean Sea to assist with the rescue of migrants, the Taoiseach has told the Dáil.

Leo Varadkar said that as three Irish naval vessels are in operational reserve or undergoing maintenance, the navy's operations will be restricted.

Confirming that the Irish Navy will not be in a position to return to the Mediterranean he said: "We will have to focus on our seas and on fishery protection and drug interdiction instead."

Responding to questions from Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, Mr Varadkar said: "Those vessels will be out of service until mid-September and late October. But with current staffing levels it is unlikely they will be brought back into service. So that means three ships will be held in operational reserve or in maintenance with the remaining six vessels fully operational.

"It does mean that some operations will be restricted, for example the naval service will not be able to return to the Mediterranean because we will have to focus on our seas and on fishery protection and drug interdiction instead."

For more including the Taoiseach and response from political opposition click here.

Published in Naval Visits

#Navy - The LÉ Niamh is headed for the Mediterranean today (Friday 6 October) for the Naval Service’s first ever role in an operation directly targeting human traffickers.

As BreakingNews.ie reports, the EU mission Operation Sophia aims to intercept boats used by people-smugglers from the Libyan coast and return migrants to North Africa.

However, the pivot away from rescue missions has been criticised by Sinn Féin’s defence spokesperson Aengus O'Snodaigh, who cites “appalling” conditions for returned migrants in Libyan detention centres.

Published in Navy

#Missing - A Dublin-based man was set to be charged with the murder of his wife, who went missing from a Mediterranean cruise earlier this month.

Daniel Belling, a German citizen and IT professional, was detained this week before boarding a flight from Rome to Dublin, as The Irish Times reports.

The arrest came after the crew of the cruise liner MSC Magnifica discovered that Belling’s wife Li Yinglei did not disembark the vessel with him and their two children at Civitavecchia after a 10-day cruise.

Belling was reportedly being held at Rome’s Regina Coeli prison ahead of formal charges today (Friday 24 February).

In other news, a post-mortem was set to take place today on the body of a man taken from a canal on the River Shannon at Killaloe yesterday.

BreakingNews.ie reports that the man in his 60s was recovered by the local Irish Coast Guard unit after he was seen by a passer-by in the water at Killaloe Bridge.

Published in News Update

#Navy - The Naval Service’s LÉ Samuel Beckett assisted in rescuing 140 migrants from the Mediterranean off Libya this morning (Saturday 3 December), as The Irish Times reports.

Food, water and medical treatment were provided to the people who were transferred from their rubber boat to the rescue vessel MS Aquarius as part of the latest humanitarian operation in the region.

The operation comes just five days after the crew rescued more than 500 migrants from just four rubber vessels off Tripoli, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Navy

#CruiseLiners - A crewman has died during a safety drill on the world's largest cruise liner in the Mediterranean, as AFP reports.

The Filipino was one of five crew members from the Harmony of the Seas who were on board one of the ship's lifeboats when it suddenly detached from the vessel and fell 10 metres into the water below.

Two others on the lifeboat were hospitalised in critical condition after the incident, which occurred after the 362m ocean liner arrived in the port of Marseille in southern France earlier today (Tuesday 13 September).

It's not yet known how the lifeboat came to detach from the cruise liner, which entered service this past May.

According to Mail Online, the ship was described as a 'floating construction site' on its inaugural voyage.

Passengers reported holes in floors and walls, and accident hazards such as cables, blowtorches and power tools left by contractors on the top deck.

Published in Cruise Liners

#Roisin2Med - LÉ Róisín has departed Naval Base at Haulbowline this afternoon (Sunday 1 May) for Ireland's latest search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, LÉ Róisín follows last year's humanitarian missions by LÉ Eithne, LÉ Niahm and LÉ Samuel Beckett in the Mediterranean, where between them they rescued more than 8,500 migrants.

The latest mission, in conjunction with Italian authorities, sees a 57-strong crew set sail today for the Mediterranean as the first deployment for the Naval Service this year under Operation PONTUS.

Published in Navy

#MedRescue - Irish Naval Service personnel came to the rescue of around 380 migrants across three operations in the Mediterranean on Friday (18 September), as the Irish Examiner reports.

The responses off the Libyan coast – which included the rescue of 124 and 127 people respectively from inflatable craft, and saving 129 from a sinking dinghy – bring the LÉ Niamh's total rescued to 3,723.

That tops the number saved by sister ship the LÉ Eithne, which returned from its nine-week deployment in July.

Published in Navy
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Marine Leisure & Aquatic Tourism

Domestic coastal tourism expenditure was approximately €698 million in 2018, while domestic marine tourism generated €381 million.

Activities such as walking/ running along the coast, swimming and beach visitations are among the most popular activities for domestic visitors on both day and overnight trips.

While participation rates in pursuits such as bird and wildlife watching in coastal areas and visiting nature reserves, etc. in coastal areas were lower, these activities did see the highest frequency of both day and overnight trips for those active in these activities. 

According to the National University of Galway (NUIG) research the average expenditure per coastal day trip in 2018 was calculated at €95. The equivalent for coastal overnight trips was €310. The estimated water-based activity expenditure per person per trip across the sample was €56 rising to €73 for the subsample that actually undertake waterbased activities on their coastal visits. The results also indicate that domestic tourists undertake the majority of their marine activities on the West and South coasts of Ireland and that there are notable differences in participation rates across age groupings, social classes and by family makeup.

A domestic tourist is defined in this report as a person who spends at least one night away from home on their trip. Total expenditure by domestic tourists in coastal areas was estimated to be €698 million in 2018, which represents 35% of the total expenditure by domestic tourists (using the broader Fáilte Ireland measure for domestic tourists that includes business trips equating to 10.92 million in total trips and €2,006 million in total revenue).

The marine-related activity expenditure, or what might truly be referred to as domestic marine tourism, is estimated to generate revenue of €381 million with €172 million being spent on water-based activities. Marine tourism makes up an estimated 19% of total domestic tourism expenditure.

Marine Leisure Tourism - FAQ

Coastal tourism refers to land-based and water-based tourism activities taking place on the coast for which the proximity to the sea is a condition including also their respective services. Coastal and Marine Tourism & Leisure are seen as one of the Blue Economy (BE) sectors that can help unlock the potential of multi-use of space at sea by engaging with Blue Growth (BG) sectors such as Aquaculture and Marine Renewable Energy among others.

Sports: sailing, surfing, diving and fishing Heritage: Unesco coastal villages, archaeological sites of interest, biospheres and historical points of interest Arts: coastal museums, art galleries, museums, wrecks Education: Eco-tourism, field courses, NGOs. Food: Seafood restaurants, Seafood festivals

NUI Galway carried out a survey of domestic residents in Ireland in 2019 as part of a survey entitled "Valuing and understanding the dynamics of Ireland's Ocean Economy". The purpose of the household survey was to profile the domestic market for single-day trips (leisure) and overnight trips (tourism) for coastal and marine-related activities in Ireland. The results of the survey are also used to estimate what proportion of an Irish resident's total domestic tourism expenditure is in coastal areas (coastal tourism) and what proportion is spent on undertaking marine-related activities (marine tourism).

The NUI results highlight the important contribution that Ireland's marine and coastal resources make to the leisure experiences of the general population and the importance of the domestic tourism market to local coastal economies. The analysis indicates that domestic coastal tourism expenditure was approximately €698 million in 2018, while domestic marine tourism generated €381 million. Activities such as walking/ running along the coast, swimming and beach visitations are among the most popular activities for domestic visitors on both day and overnight trips. While participation rates in pursuits such as bird and wildlife watching in coastal areas and visiting nature reserves, etc. in coastal areas were lower, these activities did see the highest frequency of both day and overnight trips for those active in these activities. Satisfaction with the available marine-related leisure facilities was also found to be very high across all activities.

©Afloat 2020