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#SHANNON ESTUARY – The Maritime Journal reports that a simulated fire and rescue drill simulating a fire on board a ship took place in Foynes Port this week.

Limerick County Fire & Rescue Service with the assistance of Shannon Foynes Port Company and Celtic Tugs which operates a fleet of  tugs in the port hosted the Ship and Ports Course.

A number of exercises were carried out during the course, to read more on the exercise click HERE.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#FOYNES – Next Sunday the Dublin Bay Mermaid fleet of Foynes Yacht Club will be in action on the waters of the Shannon Estuary for the 'Inaugural' golden jubillee race writes Gerry Ryan

Mermaid class captain, Darragh McCormack is hoping to have a full fleet of Mermaid's (10 in all) for the race. . A special trophy as been commissioned for the winner.

Last weekend the first cruise of the season took place down the estuary to Loughill, with a north-west wind force 3-4, it was certainly a cruise to get all skipper's and sailor's in the groove for the coming season. A total 10 craft sailed on this venture.

The cruise started at 2pm and finished at Cooleen Point at 4pm, where a Bar-B-Que in the clubhouse was organised for the hungry 'Pirates'.

Culluan Sailing Club will host its annual Spring Regatta on Sunday, April 29. This is a mixed fleet open event, and entry from travelling boat's are always welcome.

Three races are pencilled in to take place with a briefing at 12.30pm. The first race will be at 1pm with an approximate finish for all races at 5pm. A special junior race is organised on this event. The entry fee per boat is €15.

The P750 Class Association of Ireland will be holding a Powerboat Race in conjunction with Riverfest on Sunday, May 6. The race will be starting at 3pm and finishing at 6.30pm.

The P750 craft will be racing between Shannon and Sarsfield Bridge. These craft will be be travelling at approximately 40kt's, and it is requested that during this time no craft will encroach on the course and other river users are aware of this event.

Published in Shannon Estuary

46 craft have put pen to paper for WIORA, and it is envisaged that 50 craft will be taking to the water's of the Shannon Estuary for Foyne Yacht Club's golden jubilee and it hosting of the West of Ireland Offshore Racing (WIORA) Championship's from Wednesday, July 11 to Saturday, July 14 writes Gerry Ryan.

Three classes will be organised for the event IRC, Echo and White Sails. Liam Dineen has been appointed Officer-of-the-Day for the championships.

This coming Saturday, April 14 'lift-in' is scheduled to take place for all craft at Foynes Yacht Club Officially, this will be the start of the much anticipated sailing season in Cooleen Point. While the standard around the 'can's' windward-leeward course's will be laid for the IRC and Echo fleets, more varied courses for the White Sails division will be set, taking the fleet to all parts of the Estuary.

Peader McGrath, who is rib manager for WIORA week has asked for rib drivers and assistants for this week. Any member's who would have time to assist are asked to contact Peader on 087 2600817.

To kick-off the season a cruise for all craft on the estuary is organised for Saturday, April 21, this will take place in the afternoon where a Bar-B-Que will take at the clubhouse after the cruise.

Brendan Buckley and Ciara McCormack on qualifying as dinghy instructions, one of their first briefs is to develop a plan for the junior racing during the season. These two individuals have a wealth of experience in the rudiments of sailing. It augurs for the junior member's of the club, where the sailing school is going from strength to strength.

The sailing school will officially start proceedings on Monday, June 11 until the end of July (it will not operate WIORA week).

The new club polo shirts, hoodies and jackets with the new 50th anniversary logo are available in the club. These are available in an assortment of colours and sizes.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Limerick branch of Birdwatch Ireland is seeking volunteers to assist in rescuing birds from oil spillages in the Shannon Estuary.

A report in the Limerick Post recounts a recent meeting at Shannon Rowing Club, where Birdwatch Ireand highlighted the impact on the environment and marine wildlife from both major and minor oil spills.

The meeting also discussed the role that local birdwatchers can play in determining crucial spillage incident response times.

A training exercise at Poulnasherry Bay is being organised for next month using equipment donated to the Irish Seal Sanctuary, preceeded by a similated planning exercise and "on-the-ground response".

The Irish Seal Sanctuary will also provide opportunities for training in the rehabilitation and cleaning of spillage-affected birds.

The Limerick Post has much more on this story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#FOYNES – Preparations are getting under way at Foynes Yacht Club for the golden jubilee of the club this year.

On Sunday, January 22 a traditional Irish music session will take with the group, Creeves Wrenboy's taking to the stage at 5pm for what promises to be a spectacular event of music and song.

In Feburary and March a series of lectures will take place on nautical activities, and these will take place on Wednesday evenings; the adult and junior sailing  courses are beginning in March, and the annual boat flotilla to Limerick for the Riverfest celebrations on the May Bank Holiday weekend will take place.

The lift-in day for all craft is scheduled for Saturday, April 14 at 10am.

In April a gala going Afloat will take place. Further details on this event will be posted on the club website shortly.

A mass for deceased members of the club, and members will be said in February, the date is not confirmed yet, but members are asked to keep an eye to the club website.

The main focus is on the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Championship's, which will take place in July, and a target on 50 boats for the event is planned. already an entry of 42 craft have put pen to paper, and it is hoped that 50 vessels will take part. Other events planned are Glin Castle race, the Estuary Bell race, Carrigaholt race, the Cappa race, the the Club regatta, which coincides with the Foynes Irish Coffee festival, and other fringe events.

Published in Shannon Estuary
A masterplan for Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC), the state's second largest port operation, is to look into the marine infrastructural requirements for the next three decades along the 500 sq km Shannon Estuary, writes Jehan Ashmore.
SFPC's Masterplan Achieving the Vision 2041 will be a public consultation process and with the participation of port's stakeholders and interested parties. The masterplan aims to capitalise on the significant growth potential and focus promoting the port as a strategic economic driver for the mid-west region.

Port expansion options are to be examined so to prepare ports for larger trade volumes when the opportunities arise. Also under consideration are the non-core assets at the Port of Foynes and Limerick Docks. To read more about the masterplan and the challenges and issues that has been identified in both ports click HERE.

The statutory jurisdiction of the estuary is under the control of SFPC, which is responsible for the estuary that runs from the mouth entrance marked by Kerry and Loop Heads and stretching far inland to Limerick City. The natural waterway can handle vessels of up to 200,000 deadweight tonnes (dwt) which are the largest ships that can dock in Irish waters.

Published in Shannon Estuary
Separate investigations are underway as to why two cargoships were involved in a collision in the Shannon Estuary on Sunday morning, according to a report in today's Irish Times.
The incident occurred off Kilrush, Co. Clare around 5am when the 225-metre Irini (photo), a 69,734-tonne bulk carrier, was taking a cargo of bauxite to the Rusal Alumina plant at Aughinish in Co. Limerick but was at anchor at the time.

The second vessel, the 93-metre Danish-registered Tina Theresa, was leaving the anchorage to meet up with the Shannon estuary pilot when the collision took place. The tanker was destined for Foynes Port in Limerick and was damaged along her starboard side but there was no hull damage.

Published in Shannon Estuary
Ireland's leading fishing port of Killybegs, Co. Donegal, this morning received the 226 passenger yacht-like cruiseship Le Diamant, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 8,282 tonnes Le Diamant had sailed overnight from anchorage in Galway Bay and prior to visiting the 'City of the Tribes' the vessel also called to Foynes port in the Shannon Estuary as reported previously in Afloat.

In 2004 Killybegs received a significant boost in the completion of a €50m outer harbour with berthing quays totalling 350-metres long so to accommodate the north-west fleet and to include the 'supertrawlers'.

Despite the major port infrastructural investment, Killybegs has seen declining fortunes in the fish industry though in recent year's new business from the offshore exploration and cruise ship industries has assisted in generating new revenue.

Published in Cruise Liners
A record operating profit of €2.5 million for last year was made by the Shannon Foynes Port Company, according to a report in today's Irish Times.
The profit of the mid-western port is on foot of a 23% increase in tonnage which rose to 9.4 million tons, up from 7.6 million in 2009.

The boost is revealed in the state-owned company's annual report which shows the facility made a bottom-line profit for the year of €1.1 million – a five-fold increase on 2009. Operating cash flows rose to €3 million, up from €2.7 million a year earlier. To read more click HERE.

Late last month the Co. Limerick port was busy particularly with the seasonal arrival of three cruise ships and all made within one week, for more click HERE. This Friday sees the return of one of those cruise-callers, the French-flagged Le Diamant which is on charter to operator Inter Cruises.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Cruiseship passengers on board the Spirit of Adventure which anchored in Galway Bay today will have an opportunity of visiting the famous race course venue at Ballybrit, writes Jehan Ashmore.
At just under 10,000 tonnes Spirit of Adventure built in 1980 with a capacity for 352 passengers is the largest cruise-caller this season to make a call to the mid-west port. She had sailed overnight from Foynes and is due to depart later today bound for Kirkwall, Orkney Islands.

The vessel first visited Galway in 2009 but this call will be her last year operating under the Spirit of Adventure cruise banner. The company are to replace the vessel  next season with the Saga Pearl II which will be transferred from the parent company Saga Cruises and renamed Quest for Adventure.

Prior to the Spirit of Adventurer's call, the 226 passenger Le Diamant arrived from St. Malo last Friday. She became the first vessel to make a call to the 'City of the Tribes' on behalf of her French operators, Cie de Ponant. Her passengers were taken on tours of the city, Connemara and the Aillwee Caves in neighbouring Co. Clare. The vessel is due to return early next month.

With three cruise-calls this year the port is set to increase this figure to 7 in 2012 arising from the ports campaign over the last two years. Paul Carey, Chairman of the Harbour Company, said "We are beginning to see the fruits of this campaign and look forward to growing Galway's association with the return of the majestic passenger liners to Galway".

"The passenger liner The World has been confirmed for a two-day visit in August 2013 which is a great endorsement of Galway as a cruise destination".

The call by the world's first ocean-going luxury resort vessel will also be another first for Galway. Operators of the 43,524gt vessel, Residences at Sea have made previous Irish ports of call to include Dublin, for more on her to the capital last August click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners
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