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Displaying items by tag: Atlantic

The European Union, The United States and Canada today agreed to join forces on Atlantic Ocean Research. The goal is to better understand the Atlantic Ocean and promote the sustainable management of its resources. The Agreement aims to connect the ocean observation efforts of the three partners. The work will also study the interplay of the Atlantic Ocean with the Arctic Ocean, particularly in relation to climate change. The EU and its Member States alone invest nearly two billion euro on marine and maritime research each year. The 'Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation' was signed today at a high level conference at the Irish Marine Institute in Galway.

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, said: "The enormous economic potential of the Atlantic remains largely untapped. We probably know more about the surface of the Moon and Mars than we do about the deep sea floor. This alliance can make a big contribution to meeting challenges such as climate change and food security."

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: "Today's agreement fully supports the Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic we put forward this month. While the initiative is of particular interest for the EU's five Atlantic states, it is open to researchers from all over Europe and beyond. The knowledge gained will be of benefit to all."

The agreement recognises that Atlantic research will in many areas be more effective if coordinated on a transatlantic basis. Areas for potential collaboration under the agreement include: an Atlantic Ocean observation and forecasting system; mapping critical areas of the Atlantic seafloor; identifying and recommending future research and ocean literacy and awareness initiatives.

Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny, T.D., said: "Today marks a new political and policy awareness of the ocean's potential to create sustainable jobs and growth. Such awareness also provides broader societal benefits of understanding major environmental changes and associated risks. It was a major priority of the Irish Presidency to support the achievement of an Atlantic Ocean research alliance and I welcome the signing of the Galway Statement by the European Commission, the United States and Canada here at the Marine Institute today. The delivery of a Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic was also a priority of Ireland and I congratulate all those involved in the launch of the Action Plan to revitalise the marine and maritime economy in the Atlantic Ocean Area."

"The enormous economic potential of the Atlantic remains largely untapped"

The Atlantic Action Plan aims to show how the EU's Atlantic Member States, their regions and the Commission can help create sustainable growth in coastal regions and drive forward the "blue economy", which has the potential to provide 7 million jobs in Europe by 2020.

Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine said: "Ireland has a significant role to play in the implementation of the Atlantic Area Action plan and will also derive many benefits from it. The Government's 'Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth' is rooted in the role the oceans can play in our economic recovery with a goal of significantly increasing the turnover of Ireland's "Blue Economy" to over €6.4Billion by 2020 and doubling the GDP contribution by 2030 (to 2.4%)."

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

The Taoiseach, as Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in association with Ms Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and Ms Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, Simon Coveney, is holding a meeting on Friday at the Marine Institute in Oranmore, Galway: The Atlantic – a Shared Resource.

The Political Leaders will discuss research and innovation requirements needed between now and 2020 to implement the Atlantic Area Action Plan to drive the "blue economy".

An outline of Horizon 2020 funding initiatives that will support the implementation of the Action Plan and transatlantic scientific collaboration. Ireland's contribution to the delivery of the action plan during the Irish Presidency and its implementation to 2020 and a joint declaration on an Atlantic research partnership between the European Commission, the USA and Canada.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

#MarineWildlife - A gray whale has been sighted many thousands of miles from its usual Pacific swimming grounds in the South Atlantic.

As Pádraig Whooley writes on the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) website, the whale was spotted in the last week in Walvis Bay, Namibia - only the second ever confirmed sighting of the marine species in the Atlantic Ocean, and the first south of the equator, since records began.

Previously a solitary gray whale was tracked in the Mediterranean in May 2010 from the coast of Israel to Barcelona in north-eastern Spain.

That was the first time a gray whale had been seen anywhere east of the Pacific Ocean following the presumed extinction of the Atlantic gray whale in the 17th century.

Whooley calls the latest sighting "a fascinating discovery" and says it "points strongly towards a dramatic shift in distribution facilitated by climate change.

"This is a timely reminder that we should never assume to know what species occur in our local waters, especially when this species seems to have literally come back from the dead."

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport advises mariners that ENI Ireland BV is scheduled to conduct a 2D seismic survey in the Atlantic waters of the Irish Designated Continental Shelf.

The planned start of the survey is mid-April 2013 and, weather permitting, will continue until mid-October 2013.

The proposed survey consists of 18,000km of a full-fold 2D seismic survey in offshore waters beyond the 12-nautical-mile limit, and extends into international (high seas) waters.

The seismic acquisition will be carried out by the seismic vessel M/V BGP Explorer (Call sign HP4919), which will be accompanied at all times by guard vessel M/V Alk Explorer (Call sign HO2639). In addition, M/V De Vrouw Marie (Call sign HP9974) will act as a supply vessel for the re-supply of materials.

M/V BGP Explorer will tow a single solid 10km streamer. The vessel will travel at 4–5 knots and the streamer will be located approximately 10 metres below the surface. All vessels will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

The notice requests all vessels, particularly those engaged in fishing, to give the M/V BGP Explorer, the M/V Alk Explorer and the supply vessel a wide berth, and keep a sharp lookout in the relevant areas.

Details of co-ordinates for the seismic survey are included in Marine Notice No 13 of 2013, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Notice of this latest seismic survey comes after the news that the European Commission has sought an explanation from the Government over why it has not conducted environmental impact assessments for such operations in Irish waters, which are a designated whale and dolphin sanctuary.

Meanwhile, another recent Marine Notice advises passenger ship operators of the requirements for vessels engaged in the tendering of passengers between ship and shore.

Full details on the relevant provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts are included in Marine Notice No 12 of 2013 available HERE.

Published in Marine Warning

#Angling - The Atlantic Salmon Trust will team with IBIS (Integrated Aquatic Resources Management Between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland) to host a major conference at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow on 27-28 November 2013.

Leading speakers will be invited to discuss all aspects of salmon stocking at the conference, titled 'Boosting salmon numbers: is stocking the answer or the problem?'

Over two days, the conference will examine in depth the potential role of stocking in restoring, sustaining and enhancing salmon populations and fisheries.

In a statement, IBIS said: "We are bringing together experts on salmon science and management - including those with direct experience of stocking - to join with anglers and fishery managers in exploring the potential for salmon stocking, including its effectiveness and risks.

"We'll look at such issues as: How does stocking affect numbers of returning adults? Is it cost effective? What is the role of genetics and climate change?
The presentations will range from the underlying science to case studies and examples of best practice."

The conference is fully financially supported by IBIS. Attendees will only be asked to pay for their own travel and hotel costs, and the conference dinner if attending.

Full details of agenda, speakers and how to register will be available in the New Year by sending an e-mail to [email protected]

Published in Angling

#Angling - Anglers on the River Feale in Kerry and Limerick have been assured by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) that it supports their concerns over the proposed deep-sea fish farm in Galway Bay, as the Limerick Leader reports.

Local anglers are among those throughout the region who have rallied in opposition to plans for the Aran Islands fish farm project, over fears that it would lead to “an explosion” in parasitic sea lice which would prey on wild inland salmon from Irish rivers feeding in the North Atlantic.

IFI reiterated its statement issued last month in which its board said it does not believe "that the corpus of peer reviewed international scientific literature which recognises the negative impacts of sea lice on salmonids have been adequately dealt with" in the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) as part of the public consultation process.

A spokesperson for IFI told the Limerick Leader that the authority has "major concerns about the location and scale [of the farm], as well as its potential impact on sea life. [IFI] is not supporting it in its current form.”

Earlier this month the National Inland Fisheries Forum also criticised as "flawed" the consent process regarding the 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm planned off Inis Oirr, which would be the largest of its kind in Europe.

If approved, the operation could more than double Ireland's current production rate of farmed salmon.

The Limerick Leader has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#Oil - Tullow Oil's shares dropped more than 6% in London trading early last week with the news that its prospect in the Atlantic off French Guiana is dry, according to The Irish Times.

The Irish-founded oil exploration firm says it encountered a number of oil shows in reservoir quality sands at its Zaedyus-2 well in the waters north of Brazil, but it "did not encounter commercial hydrocarbons".

The result was described as "very disappointing" by Investec Securities analyst Stuart Joyner - though better signs have been seen at the nearby Zaedyus-1 well, drilled by Tullow with partners Royal Dutch Shell and Total at a cost of $250 million.

And as previously reported on Afloat.ie, the UK-based company's prospects off the Ivory Coast and Ghana have proven encouraging for future exploration.

Published in News Update

#FISHFARM - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) is set to hold a public tender process for the development of the proposed deep sea fish farm in Galway Bay, according to The Irish Times.

Financiers around the world have expressed interest in the 500-hectare organic salmon farm to be located off Inis Oirr in the Aran Islands, though BIM said it was not at liberty to disclose who they are.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the proposed fish farm would be the largest of its kind in Europe, set to double the State's production of organic salmon.

BIM says it is already receiving inquiries for jobs from emigrants wishing to return home.

However the scheme has faced opposition from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and local anglers, who cite the potential threat to wild salmon numbers in the area.

IFI recently issued a statement regarding its submission on the project's Environmental Impact Statement, raising concerns about the scale of the development and the impact of sea lice - infestations of which are often concentrated by aquaculture.

The public consultation that began in mid-October is scheduled to conclude next Wednesday 12 December.

Published in Fishing

#VOYAGE - The Irish Independent reports on the rapturous welcome received by retired Irish fisherman Finbarr Murphy in Iceland as he retraces the route of St Brendan the Navigator.

The West Cork sailor has already travelled on his restored yacht, the 19-metre Bella Donna, via the Orkneys, Norway and the Faroe Islands - crossing the freezing waters of the far north Atlantic to reach Iceland last month.

Since his arrival he's been treated as a celebrity, with regular appearances in the press and on TV and radio, and so has understandably decided to spend the rest of the winter in Iceland before the final leg of his voyage to Greenland early in the new year.

Murphy isn't the first to retrace the voyage of the legendary St Brendan, as last year a crew of sailors, artists, musicians and historians attempted the same on board Paddy Barry's 45ft yacht Ar Seachrán.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, that trip hit a snag along the way in May last year when the boat was refused permission to land on Skellig Michael off the Kerry coast.

Published in Offshore

#SURFING - The Irish Times reports that surfers from around the world are flocking to Sligo in expectation of what might be Ireland's biggest waves of the year.

Breakers of up to 30 feet off Donegal Bay could be the result if growing swells in the Atlantic combine with southerly winds expected from this weekend.

“We have had 50ft waves in the past but 30ft waves would certainly be great and you would have a lot of surfers coming into Ireland to follow them," said top Irish surf pro Richie Fitzgerald.

Elsewhere, President Michael D Higgins made a recent visit to the Somo Surf Centre in Cantabria, northern Spain while attending Spanish courses ahead of his State visit to South America last month, as Oceanlook reports.

“I had already heard of the charms of Loredo and Somo," the President commented. "There are many Irishmen flying to Cantabria in search of sun and also waves to get the chance to surf.”

Published in Surfing
Page 4 of 7

The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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