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Displaying items by tag: Coronavirus

Waterways Ireland advises all masters of vessels and users of Ireland’s inland waterways that the following closures are in place as of midnight last night, Monday 30 March:

  • All locks on all navigations are closed until further notice.
  • All service blocks are closed until further notice.
  • The Winter Mooring period on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon Erne Waterway has been extended until Thursday 30 April. There will be no additional cost for this extension.

Waterways Ireland is encouraging all users of vessels on its navigations not to take part in any activity on the water in order to comply with the directions of both the Irish and British Governments.

Towpaths remain open but Waterways Ireland is encouraging locals who live in their vicinity to use them in accordance with Government guidelines for brief physical exercise, within 2km of their home, always observing social distancing protocols.

Where towpaths are likely to be busy, users are asked to restrict use, where possible, and only use those towpaths which are local, quiet and largely free of moored vessels.

Waterways Ireland confirms that operational staff, water patrollers and lock keepers will continue to undertake essential management of water levels, and any emergency works that may arise, under strict social distancing protocols.

In a statement, Waterways Ireland said: “We are aware of the potential impacts for the community of these decisions, and the difficulties this may present. At this time we would normally see the season kicking off and people de-winterising their craft and finishing off maintenance to be ready to get out on the water.

“These measures are being taken to support the national effort in keeping people safe, protecting our staff, colleagues, partners and everyone who visits, or lives on and around our canals and river navigations. We will continually review such measures in light of direction and advice from Government and health professionals and any decisions on service provision will be communicated.”

In the meantime, work continues on Waterways Ireland’s Heritage Plan 2016-2020, as well as the cross-border body’s Learning Zone online portal to assist families home schooling. Waterways Ireland can be contacted by email at [email protected] or by phone.

Published in Inland Waterways

RTÉ News reports that Tory Island residents sought the assistance of gardaí and the Irish Coast Guard after a yacht berthed unexpectedly at the Co Donegal island’s pier last night (Friday 27 March).

The yacht’s four crew were spoken to by the local coastguard unit and reminded of the updated measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, which include limiting travel to offshore islands only to residents.

Published in Island News

In a statement to its members, the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) confirms that personal use of vessels for leisure purposes is now prohibited under the Government’s added restrictions on movement to combat Covid-19.

“All citizens on the island must now stay at home except in the most limited of circumstances as determined by the governments in both jurisdictions,” said the preservation group for all of Ireland’s working inland waterways navigations.

Following the Taoiseach’s address to the nation last night (Friday 27 March), the IWAI also emphasises that “face-to-face meetings, such as branch meetings, must be postponed” until at least after Easter Sunday.

“Where branch committees wish to continue to perform their duties, this can only be done using technology to manage meetings rather than face-to-face … All planned indoor gatherings must be postponed.

“All outdoor gatherings are banned, therefore all cruises in company, rallies and work parties must be postponed.”

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

Dun Laoghaire Marina has been closed to berth-holders with immediate effect, following the Taoiseach’s announcement last night (Friday 27 March) of more measures restricting movement to slow the spread of Covid-19.

In a statement sent out following Leo Varadkar’s address to the nation, Dun Laoghaire Marina general manager Paal Janson confirmed that the facility is now “shut completely, as directed by the Government, for a period of 14 days” from midnight this morning, Saturday 28 March until Easter Sunday, 12 April.

He added: “There will be no access to berth holders, contractors or any visitors. Fuelling for boats will cease for this period also. The marina will maintain access for necessary state and emergency service vessels, etc.”

In addition, new travel restrictions have been extended to “the arrival of personal non-national maritime leisure vessels is banned (except to exceptions as ‘port in a storm’)”, according to the Government.

Janson continued: “Marina staff come under the category of essential workers and will be present at the marina throughout this period. Your boats will be checked daily and staff will deal with any issues that arise. We will be contactable throughout on [email protected] and 01 2020040.

“We are now about to sail into the worst of this storm and it’s time to heave-to and weather it as best we all can. We respectfully ask that you follow Government guidelines and stay at home.”

Prior to the Taoiseach’s address, the Royal Cork Yacht Club announced the cancellation of Cork Week this July and all planned Cork300 events from now until August, while the Department of Transport issued guidance to the maritime industry on measures in response to the virus.

Following the UK Government’s advice in relation to Covid-19, the Loughs Agency has put in place a number of measures to maximise capacity to continue to deliver business and statutory services to the public.

The public are still encouraged to report illegal angling or pollution concerns through the Waterwatch App or 24-hour response line on +44 2871 342100.

Loughs Agency offices remain closed and customers are strongly encouraged to engage using email ([email protected]) and telephone (+44 2871 342100).

Those wishing to pay bills or undertake other financial transactions with the Loughs Agency are requested to do so online, via telephone or by bank transfer.

Staff will be, if possible, working from home. In these circumstances there may be delays in replying to queries.

The agency adds that it is currently experiencing technical difficulties with its elicence website, and is working to try and fix the issue as quickly as possible.

Regarding the current restrictions announced by the Irish and UK Governments, the cross-border body for fisheries in Carlingford and Foyle reminds that the only permitted activities that have been specified are walking, running and cycling for the purpose of local daily exercise.

“We must all do what is required of us by the Government’s and work together to fight this pandemic. This is about saving lives and supporting our healthcare systems and frontline staff,” it added in a statement.

Published in Angling

Improper disposal of wet wipes could cause the coronavirus to spread via Ireland’s recreational waters, it’s being claimed.

The Green News reports on Coastwatch Ireland’s warning over the use of wet wipes, which are linked to around 90% of wastewater overflows as households flush them instead of binning them.

With a much larger volume of such wipes being used, both in the bathroom and to keep surfaces clean in homes amid the Covid-19 outbreak, there are fears that treatment plants and septic tanks could be pushed past their limits and spread the virus.

The Green News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

Temporary measures are being put in place in relation to the validity of both seafarers’ documents and the survey and certification of Irish-registered ships impacted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Marine Notice No 14 of 2020 outlines measures and procedures to provide for a temporary extension to the valid of seafarer certificates in order to minimise as much as possible the impact of Covid-19 on the maritime and shipping sectors.

Meanwhile, Marine Notice No 15 of 2020 sets out temporary provisions for survey and certification of Irish ships, including a three-month extension on the validity of certificates where surveys are not possible due to personnel and travel restrictions.

Both Marine Notices are available to download below.

Published in Ports & Shipping

A Dun Laoghaire senator has suggested that the currently vacant ferry terminal at the south Dublin harbour be employed as a Covid-19 testing centre.

In a letter to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council chief executive Philomena Poole, as seen by Afloat.ie, Senator Victor Boyhan says the St Michael’s Pier terminal building “would be ideal as a drive-in Covid-19 testing and support centre”.

He outlines a number of reasons for this, which include “its proximity to population along the east coast, its size, facilities and car capacity, and that it is disconnected from the principal residential quarter of the town”.

He continues: “Planning permission would not be an issue, given the emergency powers in place to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and the temporary nature of the use.

“The harbour terminal buildings extend to about 7,000 sq m (75,000 sq ft) with large, open-plan internal spaces and a wide range of facilities on the site.

“The property has 95 car-parking spaces for occupiers and visitors along with additional roll-on-roll-off car standing facilities that were put in place for the car-ferry service.

“Public transport including the Dart and a number of Dublin Bus routes are within a two-minute walk of the complex, so the site is very accessible to the general public – an important consideration.

“In simple terms, the site is ideal as an emergency Covid-19 testing and support centre.”

Senator Boyhan adds that he had contacted HSE bosses and Health Minister Simon Harris suggesting they explore the suitability of the site with DLRCoCo.

Published in Dublin Bay

Following today’s (Tuesday 23 March) announcement of further restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19, the Irish Marine Federation has called for marine industry staff to be classified as ‘essential workers’.

Taoiseach Leo Varakdar announced a slate of new measures on top of existing restrictions, which have been extended from this Sunday 29 March to Sunday 19 April.

These include limiting unnecessary travel, the cancellation of all sporting events and the shutting of ‘clubs’ — though it is not clear if yacht clubs and similar fall under this distinction.

Earlier today Bangor Marina announced its closure following severe lockdown restrictions confirmed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and its expected all other marinas and boating facilities in Northern Ireland and Great Britain will follow suit.

Meanwhile, Irish Marine Federation chairman Paal Janson has contacted the ministers for transport, trade and the marine on behalf of marina and boatyard operators here “to ensure that our sector is not left out when any guidelines or legislation is drawn up to limit travel and when they are defining ‘essential workers’”.

Janson, who is also general manager of Dun Laoghaire Marina, said: “Many of us will have a requirement to maintain access for emergency services and State Agencies, as well as looking after our customers' boats and marina/boatyard facility.

“We do not have the option to work from home, so we should not be forced to shut our doors.

“Through our membership of ICOMIA (the International Council of Marine Industry Associations), I am in contact with other marina operators around Europe (and the world) and am keeping abreast of what other countries are imposing on their domestic industries.

“I would encourage our own membership to keep in contact with the group and discuss the plans and implementations that are being carried out to protect staff and customers.”

Published in Marine Federation

Outdoor ethics programme Leave No Trace Ireland has published a set of simple guidelines for getting outdoors responsibly and safely amid the Covid-19 crisis.

“Now, more than ever, it is vitally important that collectively, we use the outdoors responsibly, taking care of each other and taking care of our local environs, our magnificent wildlife, our lands and waters,” the programme said.

“As seen in the media, overcrowding at popular outdoor beauty spots, lack of social distancing, increased disturbance of wildlife and vegetation, rubbish left behind, are all indicators that outdoor use is up but we are not caring for our outdoor spaces as we should be.

“Following Leave No Trace Guidelines ensures we are being collectively responsible in our use of outdoor spaces, protecting ourselves, our families, our fellow citizens and our incredible island.”

Leave No Trace Ireland’s guidelines are:

  • Plan Ahead: Check weather, bring proper clothing and footwear, water and food. Park and walk responsibly.
  • Expect Closures: Before leaving home, consider lack of usual facilities such as toilets, shops, cafes, restaurants.
  • Stay Home or Local: Unwell? Don't go! Feeling well? Look for local trails, hidden gems, explore closer to home.
  • Be Considerate: Maintain social distancing throughout the day. Keep group sizes small. There is plenty of space in the outdoors for everyone!
  • Time and Place: Find those hidden gems, avoid peak times, avoid difficult routes. Adhere to HSE guidelines.
  • Leave No Trace: Don't rely on or add to already overburdened services. Bring your own rubbish home.
  • Be Dog-Responsible: Keep dogs under control. Mind out for young wildlife. Pick up and bring home dog waste.

Leave No Trace Ireland also reminds of its seven principles: prepare for spring weather conditions, stick to trails, dispose of waste properly, minimise fire impacts, leave what you find, keep a safe distance from wildlife, and be considerate of others.

If you are well, remain active through outdoor pursuits, but do your part and comply with the latest Government guidelines issued by the HSE in the Republic of Ireland and the HSC Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland. For more up to date information and advice about coronavirus (Covd-19), visit www2.hse.ie/coronavirus

For ideas on where to find inspiration for safe and responsible outdoor activities, see LeaveNoTraceIreland.org and share these ideas with friends and family on social media #LeaveNoTrace #WeLoveNature

Published in News Update
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