Displaying items by tag: COVID19
All are invited to tell their own Covid-19 story with their flags which will be flown from the masts of boats among Dun Laoghaire’s sailing community.
These boats will set sail in convoy on a day of solitary this August, when Ireland is set to emerge from the fifth and final phase of health restrictions.
Friday 10 July is the deadline to submit your flag and completed submission form c/o Sandra Kelly, Community Department, County Hall, Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire — and DLRCoCo has provided some handy tips to help you get started.
Following more easing of Covid-19 restrictions announced by the Northern Ireland Executive, plans are being made by Waterways Ireland to reopen its navigations north of the border — the Erne System, Lower Bann and on the Shannon-Erne Waterway — to boating from next Friday 29 May.
The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says it is working to roll out health and safety procedures and protocols to ensure the safe return of both staff and boaters to these navigations.
Private boaters undertaking short trips on the water, as permitted under the new restrictions, are reminded to proceed with caution as navigations and their facilities have not been fully maintained since lockdown began in late March.
“It will take time to reopen the above navigations,” Waterways Ireland said in a statement. “We expect they will reopen on May 29th.
“Waterways Ireland’s locks and service blocks will remain closed in line with the five-step roadmap to recovery [in Northern Ireland]. We recognise the situation is constantly changing.”
It added that updates prior to reopening will be made via marine notices, on the Waterways Ireland website and via social media channels.
The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) yesterday welcomed to the return of boating to Lough Erne with a list of recommendations to keep everyone safe on the water.
Customers of ferry operators have complained that outstanding payments are being deducted for trips that, due to travel restrictions, they are unable to take.
While ferries continue to sail between Ireland, the UK and France, both to maintain supply chains and cater for essential journeys, the Irish Government is advising against all non-essential travel "until further notice".
That puts leisure passengers with imminent sailings in a bind.
Last November, for example, customer Padraig Murphy says he booked June sailings to France with Irish Ferries for two adults and five children.
He paid a €100 deposit, with the balance of €1,413.50 due on April 23.
"When Covid hit, we contacted Irish Ferries on March 23 to see what the options were. We were advised that nothing had changed and they would contact us if there were any changes..."
"Clearly everything did change."
“Safety is our priority — let’s reopen safely” is the message from CH Marine, which has announced its stores will partially reopen for counter sales with the start of the first phase of relaxing coronavirus restrictions from tomorrow, Monday 18 May.
Only two customers will be allowed inside at any one time, and customers are asked to limit their time in store to reduce exposure.
To save time, customers are invited to order on the CH Marine website, choosing the ‘store pickup’ option at checkout, or to phone orders through for collection or delivery.
For clothing sales, CH Marine says it will be allowing goods on approval if necessary, and quarantining them for 72 hours if returned.
CH Marine’s lifejacket and liferaft servicing department remains open as usual as an essential service.
Naval Service patrol ship LÉ William Butler Yeats left Dublin today to return to routine security operations as Covid-19 community testing centres on ships are stood down.
Six ships have rotated duty in the three ports of Dublin, Galway and Cork since March 15th as a support to the Health Service Executive in providing field hospitals for testing.
The nine-week operation involved almost 6,000 tests for the HSE and was known as "Operation Fortitude", according to the Defence Forces press office.
It said the Naval Service has "completed a handover with their Army colleagues" who "will now operate the COVID19 testing centre at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin as the Defence Forces continue to assist the HSE".
Across the Irish Sea an Indian seafarer stranded thousands of miles from home because of the Covid-19 crisis has been able to reconnect with his family thanks to the help of two Liverpool-based maritime organisations.
Ecumenical charity Liverpool Seafarers Centre launched a social media appeal after hearing about 3rd Officer Nishanth Sadaram who had lost touch with his family after his mobile phone was damaged by seawater.
Mr Sadaram arrived in Liverpool aboard MV Seamec Gallant, a bulk carrier transporting grain from Argentina to the UK. Restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic meant he was unable to leave his vessel to buy a replacement phone.
After reading about Mr Sadaram’s plight on Twitter, a member of Propeller Club Liverpool rose to the challenge and immediately got in touch to donate an Apple iPhone to the stranded seafarer.
John Wilson, Chief Executive of Liverpool Seafarers Centre, travelled to the Port of Liverpool to personally deliver the handset to a very grateful Mr Sadaram.
Mr Wilson said: “The smile on Nishanth’s face when I handed over the iPhone made it abundantly clear how much this generous gift from the Propeller Club means.
“The current crisis has left large numbers of seafarers in a worrying and precarious position, with all vessels on lockdown and no shore leave permitted. Travel and quarantine restrictions mean many are unable to return home when their contracts end, leaving them thousands of miles from home and their families.
“We all now take phone calls, email, messaging apps and social media for granted, but if seafarers lose that link with home it adds extra pressure to an already stressful situation. This gift will allow Nishanth to keep that vital connection. It’s another shining example of the generosity of this city’s residents, and of the respect Liverpool has for the critical work done by seafarers everywhere.”
Mr Sadaram added: “Thank you so much for the iPhone. It has saved my life by helping me communicate with my mother, brother, cousins and friends back home during Covid-19 times.”
Adam Whittle, Propeller Club Liverpool President, said: “The Propeller Club is at the heart of a proud maritime community in Liverpool, and as such we are so pleased that we were able to assist. In these dark times we are all more reliant on seafarers than ever before, and so being able to extend the hand of welcome, generosity and support is vital.
“Many of our members are both serving and former seafarers, and so know first hand how hard it can be for crew today. We very much hope the phone allows the particular seafarer to stay in touch and feel closer to their family and loved ones at home, and we are very pleased to be supporting the seafarers centre here in Liverpool.”
Liverpool Seafarers Centre has been overwhelmed by the public’s response to its recent appeals. Donations made through the charity’s website and by post are being used to provide other visiting seafarers with mobile handsets and internet-enabled SIMs, allowing them to speak to friends and family at home.
The organisation is also looking to purchase MiFi devices, which create an internet hotspot and allow up to 20 people to go online simultaneously. Each device costs £450 and Liverpool Seafarers Centre is aiming to buy 10 of the units to loan to vessels whilst in port.
Following changes in UK government guidance for England, which allow people to travel to the coast and use the water, the RYA says it is engaging with the RNLI and representatives from the ports and leisure marine industry to help ensure a safe return to recreational boating activity amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Any facilities associated with outdoor sports and physical activities have been permitted to reopen from today, Wednesday 13 May. This includes facilities such as marinas and sailing clubs.
Guidance for English sailing clubs considering a safe plan to restart activity is available on the RYA website, while the devolved administrations have issued their own phased plans and measures.
“In line with Government guidelines for public spaces, the boating community [in England] may now drive to their destination so long as they observe social distancing,” said RYA chief executive Sarah Treseder.
“We welcome the Government’s guidance that general day trip leisure activities are being encouraged and we will continue to work with the RNLI to ensure this is done safely.”
Meanwhile, the RNLI urges people to take extra care when out on the water following the changes in government guidance for England.
‘We are urging anyone who is planning a return to the water to follow key water safety advice’
“We completely understand that people will want to take to the water, particularly as the weather improves,” said Gareth Morrison, RNLI’s head of water safety.
“Our volunteer lifeboat crews are still ready to respond during the public health crisis.
“However, we are urging anyone who is planning a return to the water to follow key water safety advice, which includes ensuring equipment is maintained and functioning correctly, and making sure that lifesaving apparatus is available.
“By following this advice we can work together to enjoy a safer summer and reduce the demand on our crews and other emergency services.”
Boaters are reminded that at present there are no RNLI lifeguards on UK beaches — and anyone visiting the coast is urged to understand the risk and takes the necessary steps to keep themselves safe.
“As we start to get back on the water, we advise boaters to take a considerate and conservative approach when planning to go afloat,” Treseder added.
“Be mindful of the potential impact that you could have on other water users and do not place unnecessary extra strain on the RNLI and emergency services. Finally, proper preparation will prevent accidents and is a vital step to getting back on the water safely.”
Yesterday the RYANI said it continues to support the Northern Ireland Executive’s guidance on lockdown measures. The Executive has published a roadmap to recovery in which step one allows for ‘activities’, but there is no timetable for when this begins.
Some sailing activity will return in the Republic of Ireland with the first relaxation of movement restrictions next Monday 18 May.
Marine Minister Michael Creed has called on the European Commission to strengthen its support for the fisheries sector in the fight against Covid-19.
Speaking at a video conference of EU Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers earlier today (Wednesday 13 May), Minister Creed welcomed the steps taken by the commission to date, but said further action is urgently required.
The minister noted that overall activity by the Irish fishing fleet is significantly reduced, particularly for smaller vessels, and that the market situation remains challenging.
He called on the commission to keep the needs of the sector under ongoing review.
“We need an ongoing, co-ordinated and effective response to Covid-19 at European level in order to effectively mitigate the impacts of the crisis on the agri-food and fisheries sectors,” he said.
“I expect the commission to reflect carefully on today’s discussions, and I look forward to seeing further proposals that will ensure a robust and timely response to the difficulties that look set to continue to affect these sectors over the medium term.”
The first phase of Spain’s transition towards its ‘new normal’ amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic saw boat owners yesterday (Monday 11 May) allowed to set their vessels free from moorings, as International Boat Industry reports.
‘Non-commercial cruising’ in limited groups, such as a family or people who share the same address, is limited to local waters only.
But the move will come as a relief to many recreational boaters who had been kept away from their vessels under a 50-day lockdown, one of the most restricting in Europe along with Italy.
Boat charter and rental is also permitted under the latest relaxing of regulations, with further allowances — to move outside of one’s municipality for safety and maintenance checks, for instance — expected to come with the next phase on Monday 25 May.
Neighbouring France has followed suit with its own easing of lockdown measures, which allow for navigation and mooring within 100km of home port with no more than 10 passengers on any vessel.
But the entry of vessels with a foreign flag from a port outside the Schengen zone into French territorial waters, if the destination is a port on the French coast, remains prohibited until at least next month.
And Spain’s border remains closed to all non-essential travel, with a 14-day quarantine mandated for anyone entering the country.
It comes after the weekend announcement by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson easing lockdown restrictions in England only.
The announcement, which followed the Republic of Ireland’s own roadmap towards the restart of economic and leisure activities, included water sports that could resume under certain conditions.
In a statement, the RYANI’s chief operating officer said the NI Executive’s most recent position on Thursday 7 May “outlined no further changes to the current regulations”.
“We must await the publication of any further guidance of the Executive’s ‘plan for a phased, strategic approach to recovery’,” Richard Honeyford said. “The next statutory review of the Regulations will take place before 30 May.”
Honeyford added that the RYANI will continue to support the NI government guidance on the lockdown “as long as necessary to combat the pandemic”.
However, he added that the organisation “believes there is a clear case for boating (sailing, windsurfing, power boating, etc) to be able to resume as part of any easing of restrictions” while following social distancing protocols.
“We have seen the boating community acting in a responsible and patient manner throughout this period. As the national governing body, we urge all members of the boating community in Northern Ireland to continue to do so until instructed otherwise.” he said.
While clubs and training centres in England will be receiving guidance based upon UK Government advice, the RYANI will issue such guidance “only once a full assessment of any future NI Executive recovery plan is made”.
Honeyford added: “RYANI is very aware, that people are eager to get back on the water, but this can only take place once the implications of any modification the current lockdown restrictions have been assessed.
“For now all clubs, centres and participants must continue to follow the current Public Health Agency advice in Northern Ireland to Stay At Home, Keep Your Distance, Wash Your Hands.
“We look forward to the time that restrictions are eased and we can safely return to the water.”