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Displaying items by tag: Dredging

Environmental campaigners have hit out at a Stormont decision to approve sand dredging in Lough Neagh, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Sand dredging has been practiced in Lough Neagh since the 1930s, with no permission needed until after the lough was designated as a Special Protection Area for wildlife in 1999.

Most recently the practice has been subject of a years-long legal battle, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, with Friends of the Earth claiming that as much as 1.5 million tonnes of sand are removed from the lough each year.

The final say on the matter was left to Northern Ireland’s Department of Infrastructure, whose minister Nichola Mallon signed off on the approval and said the decision was a “finely balanced” one “where I had to weigh up the various benefits with the potential for harm to the designation features of the lough”.

Among those criticising the move was Green Party NI leader Clare Bailey.

She said that sand dredging has “a devastating impact on the entire ecosystem of the lough”, and claimed the situation underscored the notion that “Northern Ireland is disintegrating into an environmental wasteland”.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
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The Dublin Port Company has given notice that maintenance dredging will take place between Alexandra Basin and the Dublin Bay Buoy from tomorrow, Thursday 10 September.

Four weeks of dredging works are scheduled in the fairway and berth pockets from the buoy to a line drawn due south of berth OB1 and including Alexandra Basin East.

Three vessels will be involved in the dredging works: the trailing suction hopper dredger Shoalway; the survey vessel Smit Neyland; and Norma, a bed-levelling plough.

The three craft will maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 12 and show the required lights and shapes.

All other vessels should pass at slow speed and make due allowance for their operations and restricted manoeuvrability.

Published in Dublin Port
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The Port of Cork reminds mariners that maintenance dredging will be taking place in Cork Harbour on all main shipping channels and berths from this Wednesday 19 August.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the dredging campaign by the TSHD Taccola will progress 24 hours a day until late September.

It follows a prior survey conducted last week, and bed levelling operations which began yesterday, Sunday 16 August.

Mariners are requested to navigate with caution when in the vicinity of the work craft, to pass by as wide a margin as possible and proceed with minimum wash and speed.

Published in Port of Cork
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A maintenance dredging campaign has begun in recent days at the Port of Waterford where activities will involve the waters of Duncannon Bar, Cheekpoint, and at the port's main terminal at Belview, writes Jehan Ashmore

Prior to the operations at the south-east port, the Cypriot flagged Shoalway, a trailing suction hopper dredger had been carrying out operations for the Dublin Port Company. Shoalway sailed from the capital to arrive on the Waterford Estuary on Sunday. 

According to the Port of Waterford (click to consult campaign notice here), the dredger will dispose spoil at an approved site south west of Hook Head, Co. Wexford. Dredging will be followed by a bed levelling campaign by the vessels, Fastnet Sound and or the Glenesk.

Afloat adds that Irish Dredging which is a subsidiary of Royal Boskalis Westminster nv, the world’s largest dredging group, was given the contract from the Port of Waterford. The extensive fleet of the Dutch group provides Irish Dredging access to the use a of wide range of vessels for projects around the Irish coast.

Further tracking of the Shoalway since introduction on the Waterford Estaury has seen the 90m long dredger kept busy between Cheekpoint to the spoiling grounds out to sea.

The campaign according to the Port of Waterford is expected to last approximately 24 days.

Published in Irish Ports

#Irishports - The Port of Waterford have issued a Marine Notice in recent days to advise all ship owners, shipmasters, agents, fishing vessels, pleasure craft users, seafarers and fishery organisations of a dredging campaign, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The dredging operation along Waterford Estuary began in mid-March and according to the south-east multi-modal Port the campaign will continue until around 6 April.

Carrying out these works is the task of trailing suction hopper dredger Freeway which will conduct dredging activities in the vicinity of Belview Port. The lo-lo facility located downriver of Waterford City is the main port along the estuary.

Freeway is operated by UK firm, Royal Boskalis Westminster based in Hampshire. They are no strangers to these waters having been contracted previously by the port and more recently from the Dublin Port Company. Due to berth capacity constraints the 92m dredger during December had to dock in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

On this occasion, Freeway's role on Waterford Estuary will include duties carried off Cheekpoint and at the Duncannon Bar located further downriver and beyond where the Passage East ferry links to Ballyhack.

Disposal material from Freeway will take place at an approved site south west of Hook Head. Following such work a bed-levelling campaign will be assigned to the Waterford City based catamaran craft Fastnet Sound.

Published in Irish Ports

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has updated local Fingal councillors on its proposals for the dredging of Howth Harbour.

On his Facebook page, Cllr Cian O’Callaghan says the meeting with the department and the Howth Harbour Master on Wednesday (6 March) detailed a plan to dredge five key areas of the harbour, namely:

  • The fishing trawler basin between the West Pier and Middle Pier
  • The approach channel at the mouth of the harbour
  • The marina used by Howth Yacht Club
  • The approach channel to the marina
  • The outer moorings area which is used by the Howth Sailing and Boat Club

This would result in the extraction of 225,000 cubic metres of silt, the equivalent of up to 30,000 lorry loads, says Cllr O’Callaghan.

The detailed plan follows testing of material extracted from the harbour which confirms that while is it contaminated by general harbour activity, it is not considered hazardous.

It is being proposed that the spoil be treated and used to create a 100-metre-wide infill area along the west side of the present West Pier. Plans for the use of this new space have not yet been decided but it is expected there will be a relevant public consultation by year’s end.

Four months ago the tender period closed for engineering services related to these long-awaited dreading works in the North Co Dublin harbour.

Published in Howth YC
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Monday 12 November is the final date for receipt of tenders for engineering services for the long-awaited dredging of Howth Harbour.

Howth Yacht Club Commodore Joe McPeake has confirmed the date after contact with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

It is believed that consultants will be appointed within two weeks of tender closing date, and that they will engage with harbour stakeholders early in the new year to discuss issues such as minimising disruption to harbour operations, including the moorings and marina.

While no clear timeframe is available as yet, Commodore McPeake expects the initial stage towards securing licensing and planning permission to take 12 to 15 months, pending any potential challenges.

Following that, dredging works could take up to 18 months to complete, including works at both piers in Howth.

“As soon as the engineers have been appointed we will seek to meet with them to scope out their plan to methodology and review its implications for us,” said Commodore McPeake, who expects to further update Howth Yacht Club members in February.

Published in Howth YC
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#Ports&Shipping - The second largest port in Northern Ireland, Warrenpoint Port, is inviting members of the public and other key stakeholders to comment on proposed changes to how dredged material from the harbour is dealt with.

The Co. Down port currently carries out a major dredging programme every two to five years with material disposed of in the Irish Sea.

However, new plans have been put forward to carry out dredging on a more regular but smaller scale, with material placed at a site in the mouth of Carlingford Lough between Cranfield Point and Greencastle.

Clare Guinness, CEO, Warrenpoint Port said: “In order for the Port to continue to support maritime trade successfully, it must ensure a sufficient water depth is maintained to allow for the safe berthing of vessels, which it does through dredging.

“In anticipation of a rise in trade over the coming years, and to ensure the Port continues to thrive as an economic driver to the local region, a new site for the disposal of dredged material is being proposed within the mouth of Carlingford Lough.

“This is also in line with current thinking that dredged material should be deposited as close as possible to source.

“In our role as a custodian of the marine environment, we want to hear the views of all stakeholders, including members of the public, before any plans are put into action.”

A number of surveys, studies and assessments will be undertaken to determine the suitability of the location between Cranfield Point and Greencastle, including marine ecology and sediment surveys, geophysical surveys, and hydrodynamic and sediment transport modelling.

A public drop-in consultation event will take place at Warrenpoint Town Hall on Wednesday 19th September from 4pm to 7pm. There will be an opportunity to discuss the proposed disposal site and the environmental assessment process with Port staff and its consultants Royal HaskoningDHV.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#DublinBay - The dumping of sewage sludge in deeper waters beyond the Kish Bank “might well serve as a model” for the current dredging of Dublin Port.

In a letter to The Irish Times earlier this week, Cormac F Lowth, a diver and member of the Maritime Institute of Ireland, responds to the claims of Dublin Port Company’s chief regarding the effects of recent dredging operations.

Dublin Port CEO Eamonn O’Reilly defended the dredging operations in the port, citing “the science available to measure its impact” in response to discontent among diving groups over the state of the water in Dublin Bay.

Divers concerned that the dredging is to blame for murky waters, which have seen all planned dives cancelled due to poor visibility, have however “ignored the obvious” and might now look further east for a potential answer to a question that’s left the bay’s crabs and lobsters with ‘an overcoat of silt on their backs’.

Lowth explains that dredging spoil such as that dumped at the Burford Bank at the edge of Dublin Bay contains estuarine mud and fluvial silt that “is not going to remain in toto on the top of this bank”.

“A glance at a tidal atlas for Dublin Bay is enough to convince one that much of anything that gets dumped near the mouth of the bay will get washed back in by the strong tidal currents,” writes Lowth. “This can surely be described as the maritime equivalent of defecating on your own doorstep.”

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

This article was updated on Thursday 17 May to correct an inadvertent misrepresentation of Cormac F Lowth's comments.

Published in Dublin Bay
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#DublinBay - Murky seawater in Dublin Bay should not be blamed on dredging, according to Dublin Port Company’s CEO.

Earlier this week, it emerged that all planned diving excursions in Dublin Bay by Irish Underwater Council members had been cancelled due to poor visibility in the water.

Dive instructor Peader Farrell pointed at dredging works to deepen the channels into Dublin Port for rendering the bay’s waters “filthy brown” and leaving crustaceans “with an overcoat of silt on their backs”.

However, in a letter to The Irish times this morning (Thursday 10 May), Dublin Port Company chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly says that the dredging operations that began last year ‘did not cause any discernible increase in turbidity above recorded background levels’, according to the port’s Annual Environmental Report.

“Dredging has been a feature of operations in Dublin Port since the early 20th century,” said O’Reilly.

“We now have the science available to measure its impact and objectively confirm that dredging in Dublin Port does not damage the environment of Dublin Bay.”

The Irish Times has more HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay
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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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