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Applications are currently being accepted for ship time in on Ireland’s national marine science research vessels in 2022 and 2023.

In addition to the RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager, placements will also be available on the new RV Tom Crean which is expected to be operational in mid 2022 and will replace the RV Celtic Voyager.

The ROV Holland I as well as the Marine Institute’s Slocum Glider submersibles Laochra na Mara and Aisling na Mara are also offered.

Applications must be submitted using Research Vessel Operations’ online Survey Planning System by Thursday 16 September. Contact Research Vessel Operations at [email protected] to obtain a username and password.

Each application will be reviewed and the applicant will be informed as soon as possible whether the ship time they requested is available. If the requested timing is not available, alternative dates may be offered.

The Vessel Charter Guidelines should be read carefully before submitting the ship-time application form.

Further information, technical specification and contact details for the Slocum Gliders are available on the Glider webpage.

Applicants may seek grant-aid to cover all or part of the vessel charter costs for Research Surveys or Ship-Based Training Programmes in 2022. The closing date for receipt of grant-aid applications is 5pm on Thursday 16 September.

Applicants for ship-based training are advised to consult with the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) at [email protected] SMART aims to standardise and optimise ship-based training for undergraduate and post-graduate students and develop nationally accredited ship-based training activities for national higher education.

Applicants are advised that survey schedules can change during the year; contact Research Vessel Operations at [email protected] to check whether any survey slots remain for 2021 and/or request to be notified if any dates become available.

Published in Marine Science

Yesterday, a group of students from 5th and 6th class from Kilglass National School in Co Galway delivered their 1.5 metre unmanned mini sailboat called ‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ to the Marine Institute’s research vessel, RV Celtic Explorer, in Galway Harbour. Marine Institute scientists will deploy the mini-boat from the RV Celtic Explorer into the Atlantic Ocean, near the M6 Weather Buoy, during the AIMSIR (Atlantic In-situ Marine Scientific Infrastructure Replacement) survey.

The mini-boat is equipped with a sail and a satellite tracker, or transmitter, which allows the students to track it as it sails across the ocean and gain a better understanding of ocean currents. This initiative is part of the international Educational Passages programme which connects schools from across the globe through the mini-boat activity.

Congratulating the collaborative effort of the Explorers Education Programme team, Kilglass National school, the infrastructures team at the Marine Institute, as well as Educational Passages in the USA, Patricia Orme, Joint Acting CEO said, “The Explorers mini-boat project is a wonderful example of marine science literacy and citizen engagement with the oceans. It supports the Marine Institute’s Oceans of Learning campaign which highlights the value of partnerships essential for sharing marine science with the wider community. For children, this project provides an exciting way of seeing real life examples of how the ocean has an influence on all our lives, learning how the ocean influences our weather and climate, and the types of technology used.”

‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ about to be Deployed from the RV Celtic Explorer‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ about to be Deployed from the RV Celtic Explorer

Peter Kane, teacher at Kilglass National School, Galway highlighted that working with the Explorers Education team and Educational Passages has helped to provide children with a better understanding of the ocean through real life hands-on activities. “The project involved more than 100 children in our school. Students have painted and decorated the boat, created artwork and good luck messages, and named the boat ‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’. Alisha McHugh from 4th class explained that the Irish term recognises the tradition of fishing in Galway and Ireland.”

Thanking the Marine Institute and the Explorers team for coordinating the delivery of the boat and teaching resources, Peter Kane said, “It has been a comprehensive STEM project and cross-curricular in nature. Using the boat as a focal point provides a great example of how teachers can integrate marine themes through a range of cross-curricular activities. This included learning how the boat was built, to covering a range of science and technology concepts using GPS and satellites.”

Padraic Creedon, Explorers Education Officer, Galway Atlantaquaria said, “It was great to see the children increasing their understanding of the ocean, completing science experiments and producing amazing class presentations about our ocean. The children also learned about marine biodiversity in the ocean from the smallest microscopic plankton to the largest animals in the world – the blue whales migrating across the Atlantic.”

The provision of the boat has been funded as part of the EU Interreg iFADO project, in which the Marine Institute are partners. Engaging in the mini-boat project, the iFADO consortium of researchers are launching five mini-boats this year around the Atlantic from Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, and the UK.

“People all over the world can monitor and track the mini-boats in the ocean, including Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor. The project webpage is available to children, teachers and their classes. This is a really fun way of connecting people, and predicting where the boat may land is part of that experience. At least 11 mini-boats have landed in Ireland since 2009, and some have been recovered, fixed, and relaunched. Currently, there are six actively reporting boats in the Atlantic, and some in the Pacific as well. Both the Explorers Education Programme and Educational Passages are absolutely delighted to see another boat leaving Galway, and look forward to seeing how it can connect more people around our world ocean,” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers Strategic Education Manager, Camden Education Trust.

To follow the mini-boat Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor, visit here

The Marine Institute and partners are celebrating our seas and Ireland’s marine resource through the Oceans of Learning series. Over four weeks, Oceans of Learning enables everyone to engage with our ocean through a podcast series, short films, news and online resources all about our ocean. 

Teachers, children and parents can also follow the Explorers Education activities on Facebook: @ExplorersMarineEducation and Twitter @explorersedu for great ideas and fun facts about the ocean. The team in Galway will also be tracking the Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor.

The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute, Ireland's state agency for marine research and development.

Published in Marine Science

The Department of Transport advises that a survey will take place at several offshore reefs and sandbanks off the North West Coast from next Friday 23 April to Tuesday 4 May.

Survey works with marine robots in support of the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme will take place within a three-nautical-mile radius of six shipwrecks, the coordinates of which are included in Marine Notice No 24 of 2021 which can be downloaded below.

The survey will be conducted from the RV Celtic Explorer (callsign EIGB) which will conduct acoustic surveying during the night using its hull mounted multibeam, with remotely operated vehicle (ROV) sampling during daylight hours.

In addition, the vessel will be used as a platform to deploy a range of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and a series of six small (1.2m3) pyramidal landers, referred to as baited remote underwater video (BRUV).

At all times, the RV Celtic Explorer will display appropriate lights and signals.

Published in Coastal Notes

The Department of Transport has been advised that a marine geophysical survey will be carried out from 5-30 May southwest of Rockall Plateau and across the Porcupine Abyssal Plain and Porcupine Seabight.

This survey is part of the Irish marine research programme project PORO-CLIM and is being carried out with the support of the EU Eurofleets+ programme (Project PORO-CLIM, Survey Code CE21008).

The survey will be conducted by the RV Celtic Explorer (callsign EIGB). The vessel will display appropriate lights and signals. All survey operations are 24 hours, continuous over day and night.

The vessel will on occasion be towing a hydrophone cable and other equipment up to a maximum of 1,000 metres behind the vessel. The vessel will be restricted in its movements when towing a cable astern.

Full details of coordinates for these survey works are included in Marine Notice No 17 of 2021, a PDF of which can be downloaded below.

Published in Marine Science

The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport advises that INFOMAR will undertake a hydrographic and geographic survey operation in the Celtic Sea and Atlantic Ocean for six months from this April.

The massive operation will involve research vessels from Geological Survey Ireland (Keary, Geo, Lir, Gale and Mallet) and the Marine Institute (Celtic Voyager and Celtic Explorer) in a variety of surveys — along the South-West Coast from Roaringwater Bay to Kilkee, and offshore south of Mizen Head and between Kerry Head and the Aran Islands.

All vessels will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the survey, and will display appropriate lights and markers. The RVs Celtic Voyager and Celtic Explorer will also be towing a magnetometer sensor with a single cable up to 200m in length, and a moving vessel profiler cable of variable length up to 200m.

Full details of the surveys, including dates, maps and coordinates, can be found in Marine Notice No 10 of 2021, a PDF of which can be downloaded below.

Published in News Update

This year’s Irish Groundfish Survey (IGFS 2020) of the North, West and South Coasts of Ireland is set to commence today, Sunday 25 October.

Carried out by the Marine Institute, the IGFS is a demersal trawl survey consisting of around 170 fishing hauls, each of of 30 minutes’ duration, in ICES areas VIa, VIIb, VIIg and VIIj.

As part of the requirements for the 2020 survey, fishing will take place within a two-nautical-mile radius of indicated positions.

The survey will be conducted by the RV Celtic Explorer (callsign EIGB) which will display appropriate lights and signals.

IGFS 2020 survey areas

The vessel will be towing a high headline GOV 36/47 demersal trawl during fishing operations.

Co-ordinates and approximate locations of these hauls are included in Marine Notice No 48 of 2020, a PDF of which is available to download below.

The Marine Institute requests that commercial fishing and other marine operators keep a 2nm area around the tow mid-points clear of any gear or apparatus during the survey period between now and October and Thursday 10 December.

This survey follows the annual Irish Anglerfish and Megrim Survey which was conducted off the West, South West and South Coasts this past February and March.

Published in Fishing

An Irish-led team of marine scientists on board the RV Celtic Explorer returns to Galway Harbour today (Wednesday 16 September) after more than three weeks investigating historic climate change in the Arctic region.

Scientists from NUI Galway, University of Southampton, University of Bremen and Bergen University had been capturing data in the Nordic and Greenland Seas as part of the CIAAN survey (Constraining the Impact of Arctic Amplification in the Nordic Sea: A biogeochemical approach).

This survey aims to provide new insight into how essential climate variables are recorded in geologic archives.

Assessing the impact and magnitude of past (pre-industrial) climate changes is critical to further our understanding of how the climate system will respond to a rapidly changing Arctic ecosystem, the scientists explain.

‘One of the key challenges in climate change science is assessing the magnitude of future climate change’

Lead scientist Dr Audrey Morley, from the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway, says: “One of the key challenges in climate change science is assessing the magnitude of future climate change, due to our short observational records which are limited to the past 150 years.

“Our research is unique, as we are not only observing modern essential climate variables, but we will also look into the past to assess how essential climate variables have evolved since before pre-industrial conditions.

“This long-term perspective is crucial and will help us to better understand our environment and the environmental consequences of human activities.”

Dr Morley notes that the Arctic is an especially sensitive and vulnerable environment with regards to contemporary climate change.

“The North Atlantic and Nordic Seas are a key region for the formation of North Atlantic deepwater and the uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Whether or not this region will remain a carbon sink during rapidly warming climates is a question that remains to be answered,” she says.

As part of this research survey, the RV Celtic Explorer travelled to 79 degrees north in the Greenland Sea, which is the highest latitude reached by the marine research vessel.

‘The RV Celtic Explorer is crucial to facilitate this type of international research’

In order to operate in the Arctic region, the RV Celtic Explorer was required to obtain a Polar Code Certification — becoming the first Irish vessel to achieve this status, which greatly increases its ocean research capabilities.

“The RV Celtic Explorer is crucial to facilitate this type of international research,” says Marine Institute chief executive Dr Paul Connolly.

“This research in the Arctic region will deepen our knowledge of the region and will improve models that can forecast changes to our oceans and climate. This will inform effective policy and management decisions to meet the challenges posed by climate change.”

Published in Marine Science

An art project involving multiple collaborators and many years in the making will soon invite the public to connect, both in person and online, with one of the last unknown spaces on earth — the ocean wilderness.

Aerial/Sparks was created by artist Louise Manifold as part of Galway’s European Capital of Culture programme for 2020, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Manifold brought together seven artists, writers and composers from across Europe who produced a series of standalone artworks for exhibition and radio broadcast, inspired by their experiences on research expeditions aoard the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer.

Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Aran Islands and with a deep-rooted maritime culture, is the setting for the Aerial/Sparks Art Trail from 11-27 September.

At just 3km long by 3km wide, the island can easily be traversed by foot to discover sound works housed in a lighthouse, the local church, an old handball alley and Áras Éanna, Europe’s most westerly arts centre.

Louise Manifold created Aerial/Sparks to explore the potential of radio communication to reimagine our relationship with the ocean

‘Garden Galway’ — a virtual programme of events for Ars Electronica 2020, the world-renowned festival for art, technology and society — will accompany the main exhibition from 9-13 September, and will include a series of conversations between artists and marine science experts.

Manifold created Aerial/Sparks to explore the potential of radio communication to reimagine our relationship with the ocean.

And each artist’s experience of ocean and water masses around Ireland and Europe has informed the production of individual works for audio and radio listening.

Highlights include author Kevin Barry’s ‘Island Time’, a monologue in nine chapters for a lovelorn lighthouse keeper as he dreams of distant lands, sited at Inis Oírr Lighthouse.

German composer David Stalling’s ‘Palace of Ships’ was created in collaboration with seismologist Sergei Lebedev, while visual artist Carol Anne Connolly’s acoustic portrayals of the ocean were inspired by the use of sound waves in acoustic mapping to create visuals of the sea bed.

Meanwhile, UK radio artist Magz Hall’s ‘Waves of Resistance’ is a broadcast created in the spirit of transnationalism, relaying a message of peace, hope and unity across all borders.

Manifold says Inis Oírr is the ideal home for these sound works.

“I wanted to find a place more than a space for this presentation, a place rich with silence, where organic and human sound floats and carries through the wind,” she explains. “I wanted each work to be experienced in a way that would connect with and charge our experience of place.”

Aerial/Sparks is the result of a long-term collaboration with the Marine Institute. Since 2017, artists from Ireland, Germany, England and Slovenia have taken part in seven ocean surveys and a passage from Galway to Hamburg on the RV Celtic Explorer, which the institute says is one of the few marine research vessels with sonic capabilities.

‘An innovative opportunity for artists and marine scientists to connect and engage with the wider community’

These expeditions have opened up "unique opportunities to foster connections between art and science", the Marine Institute says, as artists work side-by-side with scientists monitoring our marine biodiversity and human impact on the ocean environment.

“The collaboration between the Marine Institute and Aerial/Sparks has created an innovative opportunity for artists and marine scientists to connect and engage with the wider community through mediums such as art and music,” says Marine Institute chief executive Dr Paul Connolly.

“Using the concept of sound and the sea is a unique way of showing how both the arts and sciences can come together to highlight the value, opportunities and societal benefits of our ocean.”

Marilyn Gaughan Reddan, head of programme at Galway European Capital of Culture 2020, added: "Aerial/Sparks is a notable example of what a European Capital of Culture can bolster — new ways of thinking, new ways of working, new conversations and new partnerships.”

The Inis Oírr exhibition will be open from 11-27 September, Wednesday to Sunday between 11am and 5pm. For more information visit aerialsparks.org

Published in Marine Science

Surface ocean carbon dioxide observations collected by the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer have been published in the 2020 version of the Surface Ocean Carbon Atlas (SOCAT).

These data provide scientists, climate researchers and international policy makers with essential information on ocean carbon dioxide measurements.

About 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide are added to the atmosphere each year as a result of human activities. The ocean absorbs about one-quarter of these emissions, which helps to slow down climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

However, absorbing additional CO2 increases the acidity of seawater. This process is known as ocean acidification, and it could have dramatic consequences for marine life.

The impacts of ocean acidification would extend up the food chain, threatening food security for millions of people

If sea water is too acidic, it can make it difficult for marine organisms such as coral, oysters and mussels to form shells and skeletons.

Ocean acidification may impact some plankton species, which form the base of marine food webs and would impact larger animals like fish and whales.

The impacts of ocean acidification would extend up the food chain, affecting fisheries and aquaculture, threatening food security for millions of people, as well as the tourism industry.

Ocean acidification is a global problem. The European Union has committed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and aims to be climate-neutral — an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions — by 2050.

To understand the Earth’s changing climate, it is essential to collect high-quality data on surface ocean CO2 levels.

Since 2017, the Marine institute has been measuring dissolved carbon dioxide (pCO2) in Irish and Atlantic surface waters using a General Oceanics pCO2 system on board the RV Celtic Explorer. This system enables near-continuous and high-accuracy carbon dioxide measurements in surface water and the atmosphere when the vessel is at sea.

The close collaboration between the Marine Institute and P&O Maritime Services, with support from GEOMAR in Germany, has resulted in the successful collection of this data.

SOCAT has become a milestone in research co-ordination, data access, climate research and in informing policy

The high-quality measurements of CO2 collected by the Marine Institute are now included in the 2020 version of the Surface Ocean Carbon Atlas (SOCAT) and fill “a notable data gap”, according to the Irish State agency for marine research.

The Marine Institute submitted data from nine surveys in 2017 and a further 15 surveys in 2018 to SOCAT, whose data set os used globally by climate researchers and contribute to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

SOCAT has become a milestone in research co-ordination, data access, climate research and in informing policy, the Marine Institute says.

And this work further contributes to collaborative research on ocean carbon and acidification undertaken over the last decade by the institute and NUI Galway.

Margot Cronin, chemist at the Marine Institute, said: “Measuring carbon dioxide in Irish and Atlantic waters provides essential data that increases the understanding of our oceans and climate.

“The Marine Institute is contributing to global science, providing advanced scientific knowledge which will help inform policy and our response to a changing ocean.”

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Marine Institute’s latest Oceans of Learning series focuses on our changing ocean climate with videos, interactive activities and downloadable resources.

Published in Marine Science

The first and second leg of 2020’s Irish Anglerfish and Megrim Survey will be carried out from next weekend off the West, South West and South Coasts of Ireland by the Marine Institute, in fulfilment of Ireland’s Common Fisheries Policy obligations.

As with previous years, IAMS 2020 — which will run from Sunday 23 February to Wednesday 18 March — is a demersal trawl survey consisting of approximately 110 otter trawls (60 minutes) in ICES areas 7b, 7c, 7g, 7h, 7j and 7k.

The survey will be conducted by the RV Celtic Explorer (Callsign: EIGB) which will be towing a Jackson demersal trawl during fishing operations and will display appropriate lights and signals.

Commercial fishing and other marine operators are requested to keep a three-nautical-mile radius area around the tow points (indicated below) clear of any gear or apparatus during the survey period outlined above.

Further details of the survey, including co-ordinates of the survey stations, are included in Marine Notice No 07 of 2020, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

IAMS 2020 survey stations

Published in Fishing
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