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#island nation – Barryoe Oil from West Cork; can Irish civil servants co-operate in the interest of the marine sphere; more signs of the difficult economic times with sailing cutbacks; deciding whether the white shark should continue to be protected; Ireland winds the British School Sailing Championships; consumers are using ecolabels to decide their fish-buying habits, the Atlantic Challenge and the continuing mystery of the Lusitania, are my topics this week.

OIL FROM WEST CORK OFFERS PROSPECTS!

I held a phial containing Barryroe Oil in my hand on Saturday, the first time I have seen an example of this discovery off West Cork.

johnosprovidenceresources

John O'Sullivan of Providence Resources

John O'Sullivan, Technical Director of Providence Resources, was outlining the find at the Glandore Maritime Summer School which was discussing Ireland's Ocean Wealth.

He said the oil is of good quality and during the initial testing had flowed at 1,500 barrels a day. The find has great potential, he said and told the audience that the company was considering Irish facilities to bring it ashore and there will be drilling in other areas, including off Spanish Point.

It was an encouraging description of the resources off our coast.

CAN CIVIL SERVANTS CO-OPERATE IN MARITIME DEVELOPMENT?

I chaired the Saturday afternoon session at the summer school where fundamental questions were raised about government and civil service commitment to the marine sphere. The Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Mark Mellett, a courageous speaker, made the case that the Navy can contribute a wider role to the national economy than just that of a defence force. Micheal O Cinneide, formerly with the Marine Institute and now with the Environmental Protection Agency highlighted lack of co-ordinated decision-making amongst Government Departments.

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Glandore Summer School 2012

The level of actual sea-going experience amongst civil servants forming the government's Marine Co-ordinating Group which is drawing up the national maritime development plan was discussed. Many people at Glandore had never heard of this Group, though the plan they have been preparing is due to be launched later this month. The issue of whether the nine government departments on the Group, competing against each other for scarce resources, can co-operate in the interest of advancing the marine sphere as a major national economic resource, was raised. The school was told that top civil servants regularly go to the high-powered Harvard Business School in the USA to hone their skills and are top of the class in administration, but regularly fail to show that they can co-operate or work together. An interesting reflection!

Marine Minister Simon Coveney maintained that they can and are co-operating and that the plan will point to an exciting future for the marine sphere, establishing it as a major economic sector. He said there had been strong public interest in making submissions.

CALVES CUTBACKS

Alan Dwyer the Commodore of Schull Harbour Sailing Club in West Cork has been telling me of another sign of the difficult economic times - Calves Week will be a different event this year.

"We have made major changes to what was an event which had grown with time and tradition to lasting almost two weeks. That grew with the holiday season in Schull but as people have come under more time and economic pressures, those who took part told us they wanted a shorter and less expensive alternative."

The club has responded by cutting the event back to a four-day Calves Week Championships which will start on Tuesday, August 7 and run until Friday, August 10. Schull will have a sailing festival with the village decorated in a maritime theme by local businesses and events for all the family. The traditional regattas in Baltimore, Crookhaven and Schull will continue as stand-alone events with their own courses and prizegivings, organised by the local clubs.

Schull Harbour SC was founded in 1977 as a summer sailing club and from its inception has actively promoted leisure and competitive sailing in the West Cork harbour. The first commodore was Billy Pope who had sailed in the area from the fifties in his yacht Pendua.

SCHULL REVENGE IN BRITAIN

The Fastnet International Schools Regatta is being revived in Schull this month following the hosting of the World Team Racing Championship there last year and will be held from Monday to Thursday next week, July 23-26. Gold Fleet Racing will take place in the TR3.6 dinghies which were designed and built for the world championships. Handicap Racing will take place in both silver and bronze fleets with class racing where sufficient entries are received.

The success of what has been achieved by the concentration which Schull Community College has placed on sailing as part of the sports curriculum is shown by the College winning the British Schools Dinghy Team Racing Championships for the second time in 3 years. Racing was at Bough Beech Reservoir in Kent. The students of Schull Community College beat Magdalen College, Oxford, by 2 races to nil in the final. The Schull team crews were: Oisin O'Driscoll/Katie Moynihan; Connor Millar/Ellen O'Regan; Fionn Lyden/Mark Hassett.

BANTRY CHALLENGE

Next week also, this time in Bantry, young sailors from 16 nations will be taking part in the Atlantic Challenge. Competitions involving sailing and rowing the Bantry Longboats which are replicas of the Wolfe Tone Expedition and the French Armada dating back to 1796. There will also be seafaring competitions.

I once sailed in one of the boats and, as they are also rowed, they do not have the traditional keel which keeps sailing vessels upright, so they are balanced by the weight and positioning of the crew. That keeps you on your toes, but it is exhilarating and challenging sailing.

REVIEWING PROTECTION OF WHITE SHARKS

Continuing the protection of white sharks is being questioned in Western Australia after a fifth fatal attack on humans since September of last year. The State's Fisheries Minister, Norman Moore, said that the level of attacks on humans by white sharks was higher there than documented anywhere else in the world and action would have to be taken to deal with the situation.

White sharks have been a protected species for more than a decade, since the International Union for Conservation of Nature identified them as vulnerable. The Federal Government's White Shark Recovery Plan was released in 2002 and reviewed in 2008. That review found insufficient evidence to confirm an increase in the species. He wants the Federal Government to discuss the research data on which the protection of these sharks is being maintained and whether that status should be reviewed.

BUYING FISH BY LABEL

Consumers around the world, particularly in Northern Europe, are using ecolabels to find out if fish they buy come from sustainable stocks, according to the Marine Stewardship Council. It commissioned an independent study which found that label recognition was highest in Germany and lowest in France.

LUSITANIA MYSTERY CONTINUES

The underwater footage of the Lusitania wreck shown on the National Geographic Channel was very impressive and concluded with a US government weapons research centre testing the theories about a second explosion after the liner had been torpedoed.

The conclusion was that this was a boiler explosion and that only the German U-boat torpedo sank her. Greg Bemis who owns the wreck disagreed and says he will continue to explore the second blast theory.

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#VOR – Catch all the latest action and news from the Volvo Ocean Race on TG4 . TG4 will broadcast the in-port race live from Lorient next Saturday as well as the start of Leg 9 on Sunday. On Saturday 7th July, TG4 will broadcast the in-port Race from Galway.  The race started in Alicante, Spain last October and finishes in Galway in July. The 2011-12 race is the 11th edition of the event with six boats participating: Groupama Sailing Team, Team Telefónica, PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG, CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Sanya.

*UPDATE:  Please note change of timings to in-port race in Lorient on Saturday and start of Leg 9 on Sunday next*

Coverage on TG4
SATURDAY 30 JUNE

11:45am LIVE Volvo Ocean Race

Live coverage of the In-Port Race from Lorient, France. Situated in Brittany in north-west France, Lorient has a long-standing link to the maritime world and is the first French harbour to welcome the Race since La Rochelle did in 2002. The race course for the in-port race is always close to shore, so spectators will have a great view of the races.

SUNDAY 1 JULY

11:45am LIVE Volvo Ocean Race

Live coverage of the start of Leg 9, which sees the boats depart Lorient and make their way to Galway - a distance of 485 nautical miles (898 kilometres). Ironically, Lorient has been a twin town of Galway since 1978. The last stage of the Volvo Ocean Race will be short but intense with around 3 days at sea. The gun will be fired at 1pm in the Lorient's bay and the boat will head back south to Belle-Ile before they head back up towards Galway. The race's final sprint from France to Ireland takes the fleet on a predominantly coastal course: first north along the shores of western Brittany, then across the English Channel and up the prehistoric south coast of Ireland to the finish line in Galway. Short as it is compared to the preceding legs, this final passage is fraught with obstacles to be negotiated including commercial shipping lanes and rocky outcrops, as well as a seemingly endless series of headlands and major tidal gates. Added to this is the potential for rapidly changing weather conditions, which will keep the crews on their toes as they battle their way to the finish line in Galway.

MONDAY 2 JULY

7:30pm Volvo Ocean Race

Highlights from the start of Leg 9, which sees the boats depart Lorient and make their way to Galway, a distance of 485 nautical miles (898 kilometres).

SATURDAY 7 JULY

12:45pm LIVE Volvo Ocean Race

Live coverage of the in-port race from Galway Bay.  After nine months, nine legs and 39,000 nautical miles it all comes down to this one race in Galway that will be broadcast live on TG4. The In-Port Race is the final scoring opportunity for teams in the 2011-2012 edition of the race so this is where the overall podium positions could be awarded.  The fleet will sail for an intense hour around a course positioned close to land to both challenge the crew and delight those lining the shore along Salthill and Barna. The Galway stopover for the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race was a huge success for the city and for the race, and once again the Volvo Ocean Race will visit this ancient west coast city of Ireland, this time as the finish line of the 2011-12 race. The Volvo Ocean Race fleet will finish the race in the fabled waters of Galway Bay in July 2012 where they are bound to receive a tremendous Irish welcome at the end of the final leg from Lorient.

9:40pm Volvo Ocean Race

Highlights from the in-port race in Galway and the Prize Giving.

SUNDAY 29 JULY

2:00pm Volvo Ocean Race Official Film

A look back at the 2011/2012 race as the boats left Alicante last October, sailing around the world and visiting ports and cities such as Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, Itajaí, Miami, Lisbon, Lorient and Galway. It is undeniably the world's premier global race and one of the most demanding team sporting events in the world. The race is the ultimate mix of world class sporting competition and on the edge adventure, a unique blend of onshore glamour with offshore drama and endurance.

Published in Maritime TV

In this week's column: Safety in sailing; ocean wealth in Galway; the US Navy going green; increased shipping in the Arctic Circle; Denis Noonan and the Round Ireland Race; Australia's world ocean reserve and the UK Coastguard suggests offshore sailors use satellite phones.

OCEAN WEALTH IN GALWAY

Rain was lashing against the bridge windows of the Irish Lights' vessel Granuaile in Galway Docks, the wind was howling. Most definitely, it was not a nice day to be on the water when I told the audience listening to me that we Irish people are fortunate to live on an island. I was launching the Ocean Wealth Showcase with Yvonne Shields, Chief Executive of the Commissioners of Irish Lights. It will take place at the Volvo Ocean Race Festival from June 30 to July 8 and will be well worth a visit.

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Yvonne Shileds with the new Twitter buoy off Galway yesterday

Driving into Galway you can see that the city has embraced the Volvo Race and, talking to that great member of Galway Bay Sailing Club and one of the men whose determination brought the race to the City of the Tribes, John Killeen, we agreed that the overall result will be decided in the city. Eamonn Conneely, who sailed Patches to international success and Enda O'Coineen, were the other members of the trio which led the Galway Volvo campaign. Well done to them and all those involved, including hundreds of volunteers, who have established Galway on the world maritime map.

State agencies and commercial companies and organisations have put together the Ocean Wealth Showcase. Throughout the week there will be a wide range of exhibits demonstrating the scale and diversity of Ireland's ocean resources and their economic, social and environmental value to our island nation. In addition there will be a range of business and family events throughout the week.

It was a pleasure to launch the Showcase and to see how much commitment is being given to it.

The launch coincided with the placing of the Galway 'Twitter' Buoy in the Bay which will Tweet information about the Showcase as well as navigation and metocean information about the Volvo Race and Galway Bay. Look it up on www.twitter.com/GalwayBuoy.

TO SAIL OR NOT TO SAIL

There has been a lot of heavy weather around to test the ability of sailors. Not surprisingly, the issue of how safe is the sport and in what state of bad weather racing should be held, has arisen. I did not finish the first race of the Union Chandlery evening league at the RCYC in Crosshaven due to prevailing heavy weather conditions. The forecast was not encouraging but it seemed a reasonable assumption that the race could be held before a strong front arrived. Shortly after it began, though, the very heavy weather arrived. Wind strength was 27 knots, with gusts of 34 according to meteorological reports recorded at Roche's Point. With a reef in the main, two rolls of the headsail taken in on the furling jib, the boat still taking a pounding while reaching speeds of 8 to 9 knots at times, I decided it was better and safer for my 33ft. Sigma and crew not to continue to race and withdrew. In Class 3 in which I was competing, six of the seven boats taking part retired. Class 1 and 2 boats raced on to their finish.

Afterwards there was quite a bit of discussion about the conditions. Views ranged from those who thought them too heavy, to others exhilarated by what they had encountered, underlining that individual views differ about conditions. For those who ask when racing should or should not be held, the decision on whether or not to race and responsibility for it must be taken by the Skipper. Clubs will provide racing, but do state in their regulations that the decision to sail is that of the Skipper. Therefore the crew who go with him or her are presumed to support that decision. Insurance companies are careful about stating their position, but my understanding is that they regard the responsible person as the one who has insured the boat.

Experience of heavy weather is necessary for sailors because weather patterns can change quickly in these waters. Leisure sailing, to which I am referring in this regard, is different to professional racing such as the Volvo Round the World Race where conditions far different to club racing are experienced and sailors must be capable of dealing with them.

The second race of the league was cancelled this week because of the very heavy weather conditions, quite rightly in my view. I would be interested to hear views from readers.

NICE DOCKS IN GALWAY

I like the comment which Galway Harbour Master Capt.Brian Sheridan made to me about the new view the people of Galway have of the city docks:

"The people of Galway no longer refer to the 'docks' as a dirty, disliked place. It is now 'the harbour,' a positive part of the life of the city and it will be even more important, because the West of Ireland deserves to have a strong, vibrant port as a major economic contributor to the city and the western region."

He is one of the driving forces in the successful staging of the race. It is on his shoulders that arrangements for the berthing of the race fleet and visitors falls.

DENNIS NOONAN, WICKLOW AND THE ROUND IRELAND

"There were those who thought we wouldn't make it, but again we have," Dennis Noonan told me from Wicklow Sailing Club in that quiet but determined voice of his when we talked about this year's Round Ireland Race which will start on Sunday, June 24 and for which there are 38 entries as I write. The number includes more British than Irish. There are 18 from the UK, just 12 from Ireland, with several other countries represented. Dennis is a legend who has devoted huge energy to the staging of the Round Ireland. 'Fair Sailing' to all competitors.

I hear indications that Green Dragon, Ireland's former Volvo entry may be returning to racing and participate, with plans to use it for offshore training.

US NAVY GOING GREEN

The United States Navy is making a move towards going 'green'. In exercises off the coast of Hawaii next month five warships are to make Stateside maritime history when they become the first to use biofuels to power their turbines, as well as jets flying off a carrier's deck and helicopters hovering overhead. The flotilla will be powered by a mixture of cooking grease and algae oil of which 3,400 tonnes was loaded aboard the Naval fleet oiler, Henry J.Kaiser, this week to supply the ships. This is part of the U.S. Navy's efforts to move away from dependence on petroleum.

AUSTRALIA HAS WORLD'S LARGEST MARINE RESERVE

Australia has created the world's largest network of marine reserves where it will restrict fishing as well as oil and gas exploration to safeguard the environment and access to food the government says. The area covers 1.2 million square miles of ocean, a third of the island continent's territorial waters, which sustain more than 4,000 species of fish.

The environmental group WWF has welcomed the development but the government's conservative opposition has vowed to review the boundaries if it gets into power at elections next year, an outcome that opinion polls indicate is likely!

"I am instinctively against anything that damages the rights of recreational fishing and anything that will further damage the commercial fishing industry and tourism," opposition leader Tony Abbott said. {youtube}KPLvgZa3ltA{/youtube}

MORE SHIPPING USE OF THE ARCTIC

Shipping cargoes moving through Arctic waters are set to rise to their highest this year as companies use the route to cut journey times and fuel usage compared with Suez Canal shipments.

Nordic Bulk Carriers A/S plans to transport about six to eight 70,000 metric-ton shipments of iron ore to China from the Russian port of Murmansk starting next month. Using the Northern Sea Route for the journey instead of the canal is saving the company 1,000 tons of fuel, or $650,000 per journey.

SATELLITE PHONES OFFSHORE

It was interesting to see what appears to be a change of approach by the UK Coastguard this week when it suggested that offshore sailors should carry a satellite phone for emergencies,

Following the helicopter rescue of a solo sailor whose 22ft boat had been knocked flat repeatedly in Force 9 conditions, Falmouth coastguard issued a statement: "For offshore voyages leisure sailors are recommended to carry a satellite form of communication."

"It makes life easier for us if we can be in direct touch, because then we can establish what the problem is," said James Instance, Watch Manager at MRCC Falmouth. "An EPIRB is fantastic, but although it indicates position it doesn't say what kind of distress it is."

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#ISLANDNATION – The effect of six-on/six-off hours of watchkeeping on accidents at sea, boat hooks aboard lifeboats, 67 children drowned in 10 years, a traditional beauty in Cork Harbour and the astonishing discovery beneath the Arctic ice are my topics this week.

SIX-ON SIX-OFF WATCHES AND SEAFARER FATIGUE

Seafarer fatigue and tiredness have been blamed as contributory factors in shipping accidents. Though seafarers and accident investigators have regularly drawn attention to the issue, much of this has been anecdotal. The six-on/six-off watch system has come in for criticism as the cause of stress and tiredness. The Nautical Institute, the professional body for seafarers, says that for the first time scientific proof has established that tiredness levels are the "real issue that seafarers and accident investigators have known it to be for years."

The evidence is in the EU-funded Horizon Project co-ordinated by Warsash Maritime Academy, part of Southampton Solent University with partners in Sweden and elsewhere, which measured the effects of different watch-keeping regimes. It provides advice to relevant authorities on how to address the issues and a fatigue projector tool developed for risk mitigation processes.

BOAT HOOKS AND LIFEBOATS

ACHILL ISLAND LIFEBOAT MECHANIC STEPHEN McNULTY

Stephen McNulty, Achill lifeboat mechanic

"There are two boat hooks on the lifeboat. The starboard one is blue and the port is white and they are the only items on the modern boat which remains as a tradition from the past."

When Stephen McNulty, Achill Lifeboat's Mechanic told me that, I learned something new about maritime tradition. I love visiting lifeboat stations. They are very special places with a strong sense of community spirit, the foundation base for the lifeboat service. I was being shown around the Achill Trent class boat, Sam and Ada Moody, on the pontoon at Cloghmore in Achill Sound, an area of magnificent coastal scenery with the highest cliffs in Ireland. Achill lifeboat crews have received eight awards for gallantry.

ACHILL LIFEBOAT WHITE POLE ON PORT SIDE

Achill lifeboat - white pole on port side

"I saw you looking at the boat hooks and thought you mightn't know their background," Stephen McNulty chuckled as he saw me looking more closely at them and wondering why I hadn't noticed them before on other boats!

"Traditionally on the old rowing lifeboats, when the boats were wood and the men were steel, the oars were blue on the starboard and white on the port side," he said. "It continues the tradition in the way we have them aboard today and they remind us of what those in the past did for the saving of life and the challenges they faced."

67 CHILDREN DROWN IN 10 YEARS

The Irish Water Safety Association has drawn attention to the start of summer holidays for primary school children in a few weeks, "many of whom may lack an awareness of how to stay safe when playing near or on the water."

John Leech, CEO of the Association and a former Naval Service Officer, is a man I have known for many years whose dedication to the concept of safety on the water has driven awareness of wearing lifejackets on leisure craft and urging fishermen to wear personal buoyancy at sea.

"Sixty-seven children aged fourteen and under drowned in Ireland in the last ten years. Responsible parental supervision guarantees child safety yet tragic drownings occur every year when children escape the watchful eye of guardians."

The Water Safety Association's "PAWS" programme (Primary Aquatics Water Safety) is a component of the primary school curriculum teaching children how to stay safe around water.

TRADITIONAL BOATS

The beauty of traditional boats was evident in Cork Harbour when the beautiful craft pictured here sailed past while I was on the water on Bank Holiday Monday. Many more traditional craft will be on the harbour waters next weekend, June 15, 16, 17 when the annual Crosshaven Traditional Sail is held, organised by a local committee in association with Crosshaven Vintners. It is always a great weekend to meet and talk with the owners of traditional boats who are so outgoing with information about their boats, conveying the pride and dedication which are an essential ability of the owners of traditional craft.

TRADITIONAL BEAUTY IN CORK HARBOUR

The beauty of traditional boats in Cork Harbour

Pat Tanner is the event Co-ordinator with the experienced sailor, Dave Hennessy, as Officer of the Day. Boats can register on arrival at Crosshaven Pier. For everyone who turns up, afloat and ashore, adults and children, they are running a "Mad Fish Headgear Competition" – 'Let everything nautical go to your head.'

ASTONISHING ARCTIC DISCOVERY

Scientists from Stanford's School of Earth Sciences in the USA have reported the discovery of a massive bloom of phytoplankton beneath the ice of the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic, which they say challenges long-held assumptions about the Arctic's ecology. The scientists from Stanford's School of Earth Sciences in the USA were researching aboard a Coast Guard icebreaker 200 miles west of the Alaskan coast. It seems the phytoplankton, seen for an estimated 60 miles, are thriving because the Arctic sea ice has been thinning for years, a result of global climate change. Phytoplankton are the crucial diet for many marine organisms. They make up the base of the entire Arctic food chain, supporting fish, walrus, seabirds and more. The ice was between two-and-a-half and four feet thick where the phytoplankton cells were growing and at least four times greater than in open water.

algalbloomarctic

This NASA Aqua satellite image from 2003 shows clouds of phytoplankton off of Greenland's eastern coast (AFP/NASA/File)

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#DOCKLANDS – The Waterways Ireland Docklands Summer Festival 2012, bathed in gorgeous sunshine was a highly fun and exciting family event with over 100,000 people in attendance over the two days. The festival ran over Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th May and took place in the Docklands around the Grand Canal Basin.

Sponsored by Waterways Ireland and organised by members of Docklands Business Forum(DBF), the 2012 festival follows on from its inaugural success in 2011. Speaking at the launch, John Martin Chief Executive Waterways Ireland said "The Waterways Ireland Docklands Summer Festival highlighted the superb resources that the waterways provide within Dublin City Centre. All the organised events encouraged the public and those who work and live around the Docklands to participate in waterway activities and enjoy the fun and frolics off the water."

Last year over 50,000 people visited the festival. This year the organisers added even more events to ensure a bigger and better family day out. 100's of people watched the dragon races and thrilling wakeboarding demonstrations by the Irish Wakeboarding team and some even tried walking on water in a 'Waterroller!'. The Viking's from Dublinia invaded the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre, running free children's crafts workshops, demonstrating Viking crafts, playing Viking games. All the workshops were fully subscribed. The Irish Navy has queues both days for visits to the L.E. Aoife on Sir John Rogersons Quay for the weekend.

The DBF in conjunction with Irish Village Markets provided face painting, balloon modelling and kiddies amusements. The performers from the World Street Performance Champions were also there and Irish Village Markets served up delicious foods from around the world. Visitors will also enjoyed food from a wide range of local suppliers including Il Valentino, Ely Restaurant and Herb Street.

As a special promotion local water sports experts, Surfdock, ran "come and try it" sessions. For those who fancy trying the exciting new sport of stand up paddling or have a go at kayaking the half-hour classes running over both days provided a great opportunity and were fully booked.

The local shops and businesses sold rubber ducks for a duck race in aid of cancer research charity Biobank Ireland and had a great turn out both days.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#ISLAND NATION – The Commissioners of Irish Lights, the seafood industry and country's ports and shipping movements all provided indications this week of how important the marine sector is to this nation.

Twenty-one seafood companies are investing €15.5m. and creating 142 jobs at a time when Ireland needs employment. This how the seafood sector is developing. This investment follows investments of €7m. in 2011 and €2.7m. in 2010, all of which indicates a continuing path of development in the fishing industry.

Marine Minister Simon Coveney said the seafood sector is a high growth area of the economy: "The investment involves companies significantly growing their businesses and diversifying, which will lead to increased profitability and increased employment."

SEAFOOD DEVELOPMENT

Seafood developments

The companies are based in Wexford, Dublin, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Louth and Kerry and their investment is being supported by grants of €3.2 million under the EU co-funded Seafood Processing Business Investment Scheme which is administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara. BIM is the national fisheries board and its future has been under question in the review of State services. In my view it is time that the future of BIM was clearly and unambiguously stated. It is a necessary part of the fishing industry and must be maintained.

Details of the companies involved in the seafood development are attached at the end of this column.

Light On The Future

I met and interviewed Yvonne Shields several times when she was Director of Strategic Planning and Development at the Marine Institute, responsible for management of the National Marine Research Programme. She is the first lady to become Chief Executive of the Commissioners of Irish Lights. In the current edition of BEAM, the magazine of the Irish Lighthouse Service, she writes that Ireland is on the cusp of great developments in the nation's relationship with its marine resource.

YVONNE SHIELDS

Yvonne Shields CEO of Irish Lights

"These developments will bring great challenges and opportunities," she says, referring to the Government's consultation programme on harnessing Ireland's ocean wealth and securing part of what is a €1.3 trillion global ocean market. "At European level there is a renewed focus on the Atlantic and the need for an integrated strategy for its production and development. Ireland will be central to any Atlantic strategy as, in terms of seabed, we are one of the largest EU States with an area of 900,000kms containing many key resources."

When senior people in the marine sphere put emphasis in public on the importance of our marine resources the maritime sphere is enhanced.

SHIPPING

Bantry Bay Makes The Difference

Glenn Murphy, Director of the Irish Maritime Development Office, has always been clear in his view that the volume of shipping and port traffic indicates the state of the national economy.

"The Irish Ports and Shipping sector is heavily influenced by events globally. As the stability of the European economy remains fragile, uncertainty for Irish consumers and businesses will inevitably persist, which will be clearly reflected in freight volumes passing through Irish ports," he told the European Shortsea Conference in Dublin on Thursday when he said that the volume of shipping and port traffic through Ireland declined in the first quarter of this year.

Lift-on/Lift-off) trades were down 1%; Roll-on/Roll-off by 3%; Break bulk volumes down 4%.Total container traffic declined by one per cent.

BANTRY BAY - OIL TANKER TRANSHIPMENT

An oil tanker transhipment in Bantry Bay

There was growth in oil imports driven by Bantry Bay which recorded a marked increase at its international trans-shipment activity, a crude oil and products facility. Tankers are regular callers to Bantry and can be seen from the shoreside but probably pass unnoticed nationally. Liquid bulk volumes of tanker based petroleum products through Irish ports therefore increased by 30% in the first quarter of the year.

Repelling Pirates

The US-flagged Maersk Texas a container ship thwarted a pirate attack in the Gulf of Oman this week. An onboard security team fired warning shots when pirates in several boats approached the ship north-east of Fujairah. The pirates fired at the ship, but retreated when the security team opened direct fire on them. .

All sailors on board were safe, and the vessel proceeded on its voyage to the US, said Kevin Speers, a Senior Director of Marketing for the Maersk Line. The Iranian Navy issued a statement claiming it had repelled the pirates. Mr Speers said the ship had issued a distress signal and, while the Iranian navy responded, "it was never on scene, our own team dealt with the emergency."

FISHING

Decent Working Conditions

Representatives of the EU's employers and trade unions in the sea fisheries sector have signed an agreement to ensure that fishermen have decent working conditions on board fishing vessels. It lists minimum requirements for conditions of service, accommodation and food, occupational safety and health protection, medical care, and social security.

SAILING

World's Oldest Junk

The world's oldest surviving Chinese junk returned home to Taiwan on Thursday, nearly 60 years after it set sail on a historic voyage to the United States. Called the Free China to mark Taiwan's severance from mainland China arrived in the northern port of Keelung aboard a cargo ship from San Francisco. It will be restored and displayed in a maritime museum in the city, said L.S. Lwo, Head of the Boat Restoration Project. The 100-year-old boat is believed to be the oldest surviving wooden Chinese sailing ship, or junk, in existence and the last of its kind, according to the Chinese Junk Preservation Society which has been trying to save it. The boat and its six crew left Keelung in 1955 to cross the Pacific during a yacht race and arrived in San Francisco after a 112-day voyage. The vessel, which was in need of an overhaul upon arrival, went through several owners and was left in a shipyard while it continued to deteriorate until Taiwan's government stepped in to save it.

OLDEST CHINESE JUNK

"We are happy that she has arrived safely," said Calvin Mehlert, an original crew member of Free China who has assisted in the junk's return to Taiwan. "We are pleased that Taiwan is going to restore this treasure," he said.

• The photo shows the "Free China" that set sail on a historic voyage from Taiwan to the US nearly 60 years ago.

Remembering Mario

Kinsale held the inaugural Mario Bertelotti Race last Friday night to remember their Club Steward whose kindness and courtesy always impressed when visiting the Kinsale clubhouse. Twenty-eight boats from five classes took part. The trophy was won by Johnny Godkin sailing Godot and presented by Patricia Bertoletti. Second were the MacCarthy Brothers in Mac Magic II. Rob Gill with his A Class came third.

mariobertoletti

(Above) The Bertoletti family with John Godkin winner of Mario Bertoletti Trophy and Cameron Good, Commodore KYC and (top) the late Mario

At an 'Italian evening' with the Bertoletti family and friends that followed, Commodore Cameron Good spoke about the late Mario and his contribution to Kinsale YC during his time as Club Steward.

WORLD'S GREATEST MARITIME DISASTER

The sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, which is being commemorated this centenary year is probably the world's most famous shipwreck, but it was not the biggest.

Wilhelm Gustloff

Wilhelm Gustloff sank in wartime

The wartime sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff during World War II, with the loss of 9,300 people in 1945 remains the greatest maritime disaster ever.

MARINE ENVIRONMENT

Sea level rise near Papua New Guinea in the southwest Pacific is estimated at seven millimetres per year, double the global annual average of 2.8 to3.6 mm.

BEARA'S NEW BOAT

While in Castletownbere on the Beara coastline in the past week I heard about the first vessel of its kind ever to be built in the area. The Orchid was constructed by Beara Iron Works of Eyeries for the Marine Harvest Company. A 15.6 metre work vessel, it will be used to service aquaculture facilities in the South West.

THE SEAFOOD COMPANIES INVESTING €15.5M

Beneficiary

 

Project Spend

 

Maximum Grant Approved

Sofrimar Ltd , Kilmore Quay Co. Wexford

 €        1,430,009

 €           357,502.25

Kilmore Fish Co. Ltd Kilmore Quay Co. Wexford

€           273,965

 €             63,408.25

Dunns Seafare Ltd Jamestown Business Pk., Finglas Dublin 11

 €           585,000

 €           146,250.00

Atlantis Seafoods Wexford Ltd. Kerlogue Ind. Estate, Rosslare Rd. Wexford

€             49,400

 €             12,350.00

Shellfish De La Mer, Dinish Island, Castletownbere, Co. Cork

€           488,980

 €           122,245.00

Rockabill Shellfish Ltd,  Stephenstown Ind. Estate, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin

€           437,239

 €           109,309.73

Sean Ward Fish Exports Ltd. Killybegs Co. Donegal

 €           755,140

 €           188,785.00

Iasc Mara Teo. ,Rossaveal, Co. Galway

€           310,612

 €             77,653.00

Earagail Eisc Teo  Meenaneary Carrick Co. Donegal

 €           895,000

 €           223,750.00

Charlie Vial (Fish Merchant) Ltd, Dunkineely Co. Donegal

 €           303,256

 €             75,814.00

Premier Fish Ltd. Kinncaslagh Co. Donegal

 €        6,134,884

 €           887,193.90

Atlanfish Ltd  Malin Rd. Donegal

 €           148,000

 €             37,000.00

Proseail An Clochan Liath Teo. Meenmor Dunglow, Co. Donegal

 €           591,950

 €           147,987.50

Breizon Ltd, Rossaveal Co. Galway

€             12,500

 €               3,125.00

Keohane Seafood Ltd Unit 28, Kinsale Road, Ind. Estate, Kinsale Rd. Co. Cork.

€           255,000

 €             63,750.00

Kish Fish Ltd. Malahide Road Industrial Park Coolock, Dublin 17.

€             80,625

 €             20,156.25

Seafood Processors Ltd. T/A Morgans Fine Fish, Omeath, Co. Louth 

 €           235,963

 €             58,990.75

Good Fish Processing (Carrigaline) Ltd. Carrigaline Industrial Estate, Crosshaven Rd. Carrigaline Co. Cork

€           222,000

 €             55,500.00

Castletown Bere Fishermens Co -op Ltd Castletownbere Co. Cork.

€        1,400,000

 €           350,000.00

O Cathain Iasc Teo An Dangain, (Dingle) Co. Kerry

 €           715,000

 €           178,750.00

Ballycotton Seafoods Garryvoe, Co. Cork.

 €           219,563

 €             54,890.75

 

 

 

TOTAL

€      15,544,085

 €        3,234,411.38

 

 

 

 

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Published in Island Nation

#ISLANDNATION – What the first woman Chief Executive of Irish Lights thinks about the Irish marine sphere; the first vessel of its kind built in Castletownbere; remembering Kinsale's Mario; China's oldest vessel; an 18th century Russian sailing ship takes to the seas again; decent onboard conditions for fishermen and the greatest maritime disaster ever. All these and more on tomorrow morning's edition of THIS ISLAND NATION on afloat.ie

Published in Island Nation
Tagged under

#MARITIMEFESTIVALS – Rosses Point in County Sligo is hosting its third International Shanty and Seafaring Festival from the 15th – 17th June 2012.The launch of the festival takes place on Thursday 31st of May in the Yeats County Hotel, Rosses Point.

“The festival is a celebration of the long maritime tradition of Rosses Point and Sligo area” stated Willie Murphy, chairperson of the festival committee.

 “Shanties were working songs used on board sailing ships.  The songs were mostly sung when the job involved several crew members  working in rhythm together.With many international and local groups performing “songs of the sea” this festival helps to preserve the seafaring tradition here in Rosses Point.

The Festival is run in aid of the RNLI which provides a 24 hour lifeboat search and rescue service across the West Coast for our seafaring population. Proceeds from “Songs for the Lifeboat” concert in the Church of Ireland on Friday 15th and the Main Festival Concert in the Yeats Country Hotel on Saturday 16th will go to the RNLI" added Mr. Murphy.


There will be artists from seven different countries performing at this years event namely, England, Ireland, Norway, Finland , Germany, Netherlands and Spain. There will be free performances in several venues throughout Rosses Point and if the weather is kind a number of outdoor venues will also be used.

This week Seascapes the Maritime programme on RTE Radio 1 will broadcast an interesting piece on the festival.  The story of the Norwegian Barque Narayana wrecked on the back of Coney Island in the mid 1800’s and its connection to the Norwegian group Riggerloftets who are performing at this years festival.  The programme will be aired on Friday night 1st June at 10.30 pm.

Published in Maritime Festivals
Tagged under

#MARITIME – From Friday, May 4 I will be writing a new weekly page for the Afoat.ie website, covering the maritime sphere in its widest application – marine, shipping, fishing, leisure, research and development.

This will be accompanied by a monthly newsletter which will be circulated to readers of Afloat.ie.

Sign-up detais will issue on May 4.

We have further plans for development of maritime coverage through the Afloat.ie website, providing the widest coverage of the marine sphere.

I look forward to your interest in this new approach and you can also follow this coverage on Afloat Twitter and Facebook and on Twitter @TomMacSweeney and on my Facebook page.

Published in Island Nation

#SAR – Force 10 storm, zero visibility, 40ft waves, someone needs rescuing. It's time to go to work. Search and Rescue, the new blockbuster exhibition from National Maritime Museum Cornwall invites you to enter the world of the rescue services where ordinary people lead extraordinary lives, risking their life to save yours.

Opening on 16 March, the exhibition takes you on an interactive, stimulating and emotive journey into the role of the maritime rescue services, celebrating the work of the RNLI, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, HM Coastguard and other organisations.

Objects of epic proportions include a 70ft Sea King helicopter, kindly loaned by the MOD, one of the Museum's most ambitious installations. Uniquely painted in the colours of both the Royal Navy and RAF Search and Rescue (SAR) services (red and grey one side and yellow on the other) it offers you the rare opportunity to climb inside, without having to be rescued. Dress as a pilot, listen to accounts from the crew and from those that have been rescued, explore their lifesaving equipment and discover the world of the Royal Navy and RAF SAR teams.

Revisiting rescues from the past, some well-known and some untold, this exhibition showcases the individuals whose job it is to head into the eye of the storm, when most of us would flee. The exhibition traces the evolution of rescue equipment from the early days of Henry Trengrouse's rocket line to the cutting edge equipment of today and shows that although the equipment might have changed, the determination and grit of rescue men and women to save lives has never changed.

At the heart of the exhibition is an interactive coastguard operations room. Put yourself in the coastguard hot seat, make the life or death decision to bring in the right service for the rescue and begin your journey through the incredible work and lives of the coastguard rescue, air and sea rescue teams.

Get up close to one of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboats and see a fascinating assembly of the charity's collection boxes spanning 150 years. Take to the beach and become a virtual lifeguard, climb aboard a quad bike and take action to make sure the swimmers and surfers are between the right flags. See real seaside rescues and listen to accounts from volunteer crewmen and women.

Ben Lumby, Exhibitions Manager of National Maritime Museum Cornwall, says: "This is our biggest and most ambitious exhibition to date but more importantly it is the first time anyone has celebrated the maritime rescue services in this way."

"Working with these incredible teams has been a true privilege; they have kindly allowed us to see inside their world and shown us they're real people doing an amazing job. They belong to different organisations and charities but work as a team and you can be safe in the knowledge that if things do go wrong at sea, there's a service that will be there for you."

The new Search & Rescue exhibition at National Maritime Museum Cornwall opens on 16 March. Honouring the work of the heroic men and women who risk their lives at sea and around our coast, it invites you to be part of their world and shares their lives with you.

Throughout the two year life of the exhibition there will be a number of events including air sea rescue demonstrations, 'meet the crew' days and opportunities to climb aboard an RNLI all-weather lifeboat. To keep up to date with what's on when, visit www.nmmc.co.uk

Published in Coastguard
Page 6 of 9

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