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Displaying items by tag: Iceland

A new hour-long documentary following the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) on a unique research expedition to the Arctic Circle is now available to rent and watch on demand.

On The Trail Of The Humpback Whale tells the story of the IWDG’s weeks-long passage to Iceland two years ago in search of humpback whales, building links with the country and its people among the way.

Tony Whelan of Canola Pictures — which also produced The Humpback Whales of Cape Verde — was along for the voyage, documenting the team’s encounters with local people and marine wildlife alike.

The IWDG previously brought the story of their adventure on a nationwide tour — and now it can be enjoyed at home on your choice of computer, tablet, smartphone or streaming box.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is bringing stories from the Celtic Mist’s historic marine wildlife survey voyage around Iceland to libraries and other venues nationwide.

Already the IWDG has visited 10 venues across eight counties in its ‘On the Trail of the Whale’ tour, which continues tonight (Tuesday 19 February) at 7pm in Killarney Library.

In May last year a crew of marine scientists and enthusiasts set sail on the IWDG’s research yacht for a weeks-long return passage to the edge of the Arctic Circle in search of humpback whales, building “strong links with Iceland and its people” along the way.

Last month, IWDG members began sharing their experiences from the rewarding mission in images, stories and video of the voyage to audiences in libraries and other venues across the island of Ireland — beginning on 14 January at DLR LexIcon and since visiting Galway, Tralee, Monaghan town and Arklow, as well as Bangor and Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland and Dublin’s Poolbeg Yacht Club.

“Through the tour, we want to encourage people to get involved,” IWDG’s chief science officer Dr Simon Berrow told the Irish Examiner. “If even one person at every event we do gets interested [in marine life] and gets motivated, that’s fantastic.”

The Irish Examiner has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#CelticMist - The Celtic Mist’s historic marine wildlife survey voyage to Iceland is complete, with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) recording nearly 100 sightings over the course of the month.

The research yacht set sail with a crew of wildlife enthusiasts and marine scientists in late May for the 2018 IWDG Humpback Whale Expedition, taking less than a week to cross the North Atlantic to the edge of the Arctic Circle.

Week one began on 31 May on arrival at Vestmannaeyjar in the south, following a clockwise route round to Reykjavik — minke whales, humpbacks and dolphins recorded along the way.

Though sightings were slim in number, the Celtic Mist team hailed “great engagement with both Icelandic people and people from overseas working in Iceland”.

“From the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute to tour operators and guides and visiting scientists, all have given us insights into life in Iceland and whaling and whale-watching issues,” said the IWDG’s Simon Berrow.

Week two was spent amid poor conditions in Iceland’s remote West Fjords — with sea ice and stormy weather keeping the Celtic Mist firmly in part at Isafjordur for the first few days.

But later in the week, patience was rewarded with the sighting of five humpback whales, the majority of a group known to the area but never recorded further south-east in Irish waters.

Week three brought a crew change and a break in the weather allowing passage to the north-west peninsula of Hornstrandir — still a challenge with rolling seas overnight.

“In almost 21 hours of sailing in some of the most productive waters on the planet and in reasonable viewing conditions and 24 hours daylight, we didn’t have a single cetacean sighting,” remarked IWDG sightings officer Pádraig Wholley.

“It would be inconceivable that Celtic Mist would survey for a whole day in Irish waters without a single sighting entry being input into the logger software that we were running throughout.

“This was our first strong evidence that if you want to find marine mammals in Icelandic waters, that open waters may not be the place to be looking.”

Week four took the IWDG to the “poorly surveyed” East Fjords, via the Arctic Circle — in bright midnight sun instead of the common sea fogs. Sightings remained consistent, with no big whales spotted on Iceland’s eastern coast.

The Celtic Mist was due back in Ireland by tomorrow (Friday 13 July) when the mammoth task of sorting through all the recorded data and images begins.

But perhaps the greatest takeaway the voyage is in the connections made with Icelanders around their coastline, suggests Berrow.

“We have achieved all our objectives and built strong links with Iceland and its people. We have discussed fishing, whaling, whale watching and the weather.

“We have a great appreciation of these issues and the differing perspectives and challenges faced which ultimately will be decided by Icelanders.”

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

#Fishing - Mackerel quotas will be the focus of discussions among European fisheries ministers in Brussels today as Ireland seeks a reduction of Iceland's share.

As RTÉ News reports, Marine Minister Simon Coveney will seek "strong and decisive action" against Iceland and the Faroe Islands unless the European Commission reports progress in talks over the realignment of mackerel catch limits.

Iceland's quota for mackerel increased from 2,000 tonnes in 2009 to a whopping 146,000 tonnes just two years later as stocks of the staple fish soared - partly due to migration from more southerly European waters.

But Minister Coveney has blasted Iceland's move as "irresponsible and unacceptable fishing".

The talks come in the wake of fruitful reform of the Common Fisheries Policy led by the minister as president of the EU Fisheries Council during Ireland's EU Presidency in the first half of this year.

Published in Fishing

#Surfing - Iceland, of all places, may not be known as a surfing hot-spot - but Irish wave rider Eoin McCarthy Deering has made something of the freezing swell, as the video above demonstrates.

The clip, via IrishCentral, was captured using one of the now ubiquitous GoPro portable HD cameras that enable extreme sports enthusiasts to record footage right from the centre of the action.

Closer to home, Epic TV reports on yet more incredible sessions at Mullaghmore Head and Aileens, this time by visiting surf pros Kohl Christiansen and Aritz Aranburu - see the videos below.

Christiansen took on the giant waves off Sligo - which are featured once again among the nominees for the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards - while Aranburu headed to Clare with British rider Tom Lowe for a run at the famed surf break.

Kohl Christiansen at Mullaghmore Part 1:



Kohl Christiansen at Mullaghmore Part 2:



Aritz Aranburu at Aileens:

Published in Surfing

#gbsc – Nick Kats, the owner of a 39 foot steel ketch will talk about a sail from Clifden in county Galway to Iceland, East Greenland and Jan Mayen Island.

Kats, a naturopathetic Doctor from Connemara undertook the cruise in 2012 after several months of planning.

His talk takes place at Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) clubhouse next wednesday night the 6th March at 8.00pm. It is the last of GBSC's Winter/Spring talks series.

Published in Cruising
Tagged under

#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
The crew of sailors, artists, musicians and historians on board Ar Seachrán - who are retracing the famous voyage of St Brendan - were refused permission to land on Skellig Michael, it has emerged.
The Kerryman reports that though some visitors are understood to have landed on the island in recent weeks, the OPW refused the Brendan's Voyage crew on health and safety grounds.
A spokesperson for the OPW said it requires at least 10 days notice to make preparations for any visitors and repair damage to pathways and buildings occurring over the winter months.
Dr Breandán Ó Ciobhán of the voyage party described the news as "very disappointing".
Ar Seachrán, a 45ft yacht owned by Paddy Barry - himself a veteran of unique ocean voyages - will continue on its journey up the west coast of Ireland and Scotland, by the Orkneys, Shetlands and Faroe Islands to Iceland.

The crew of sailors, artists, musicians and historians on board Ar Seachrán - who are retracing the famous voyage of St Brendan - were refused permission to land on Skellig Michael, it has emerged.

The Kerryman reports that though some visitors are understood to have landed on the island in recent weeks, the OPW refused the Brendan's Voyage crew on health and safety grounds.

bon_voyage_a_danny

Photo copyright: Robert Brummett


A spokesperson for the OPW said it requires at least 10 days notice to make preparations for any visitors and repair damage to pathways and buildings occurring over the winter months.

Dr Breandán Ó Ciobhán of the voyage party described the news as "very disappointing".

Ar Seachrán, a 45ft yacht owned by Paddy Barry - himself a veteran of unique ocean voyages - will continue on its journey up the west coast of Ireland and Scotland, by the Orkneys, Shetlands and Faroe Islands to Iceland.

Published in Coastal Notes
This week's edition of Seascapes on RTÉ Radio 1 features accounts of two very different voyages across the Atlantic.
Presenter Marcus Connaughton hears from Pat Hanafin who is currently crossing the pond on board the US Coast Guard clipper Eagle, which as previously reported on Afloat.ie is due to call at Waterford on 27 May.
The show also features news of a group of sailors hoping to retread the route of St Brendan's famous voyage.
A crew of "mariners, poets and musicians" will set sail from Dingle on 16 May - St Brendan's Day - on the 45ft vessel An Seachrán, heading up the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland towards Iceland.
The latest edition of Seascapes is available to listen HERE.

This week's edition of Seascapes on RTÉ Radio 1 features accounts of two very different voyages across the Atlantic.

Presenter Marcus Connaughton hears from Pat Hanafin who is currently crossing the pond on board the US Coast Guard clipper Eagle, which as previously reported on Afloat.ie is due to call at Waterford on 27 May ahead of the Tall Ships Races.

The show also features news of a group of sailors hoping to retread the route of St Brendan's famous voyage.

A crew of "mariners, poets and musicians" will set sail from Dingle on 16 May - St Brendan's Day - on the 45ft vessel An Seachrán, heading up the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland towards Iceland.

The latest edition of Seascapes is available to listen HERE.

Published in News Update
At today's Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers Meeting in Brussels, Sean Connick TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, welcomed the opportunity to prepare for negotiations on the current international impasse with Iceland and the Faroe Islands with regard to the management of the mackerel fishery in the North East Atlantic.

Minister Connick said "I want to see a fair deal to resolve this issue and secure the future for our fishermen and fish factories. However, I made it clear that I will not accept a deal at any price."

Currently Iceland and the Faroe Islands are acting unilaterally and outside of normal fishery management protocols and their actions pose a serious threat to the well being of the mackerel stock which economically, is Ireland's most important stock. The item was placed on today's agenda in advance of the intensive negotiations on mackerel management due to commence in October and as a follow up to the June Council where Ireland lead the debate.

Minister Connick reiterated his dismay at the continuing irresponsible fishing by Iceland and the Faroes on the mackerel stock, and his desire to see a resolution to the situation. So far in 2010, Iceland has caught about 115,000 tonnes which is more than 25 times their catch four years ago. In the case of the Faroes, their 85,000 tonnes is more than 3 times their catch in 2006. Ireland's quota in 2010 is 62,000 tonnes.

The Minister said "Ireland has consistently supported the need to reach an international agreement on mackerel management. However we can only accept an agreement that is fair and proportionate. We consider that the current fishing levels by Iceland and the Faroes are totally unjustified and that any eventual agreement must involve much reduced levels of fishing by these countries. We must robustly put our case and minimise the final cost to our fishermen."

The long term stability of the lucrative mackerel stock is of paramount importance to Ireland and in urging for increased intensification of efforts to reach a solution the Minister advised the Council that "It is my opinion that a joint approach with Norway, considering our long term agreement with them, would have added weight and would be more likely to succeed".

Minister Connick said, "I was heartened by the widespread support of my EU colleagues for the concerns that I first raised on this issue at the June Council".

There will be intensive negotiations over the autumn and the Minister committed that Ireland would work closely with other Member States and the Commission to consider all options to make progress and find a basis for a long term agreement. The Minister emphasised the critical importance of securing fair and equitable arrangements at international level that will deliver a sustainable mackerel fishery for the Irish fleet and ensure the continued prosperity of the seafood processing sector in coastal communities.

Published in Fishing

Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's 4th 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.

Introduction

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 around 2000 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues and 200 times to carry out aeromedical HEMS missions on behalf of the HSE), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 1000 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 950 times
  • evacuate medical patients off our Islands to hospital on 100 occasions
  • assist other nations' Coast Guards about 200 times
  • make around 6,000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users
  • carry out a safety on the water campaign that targets primary schools and leisure craft users, including at sea and beach patrols
  • investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports

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

List of Coast Guard Units in Ireland

  • 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

The roles of the Irish Coast Guard

The main roles of the Irish Coast Guard are 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.

Each year the Irish Coast Guard co-ordinates the response to thousands of incidents at sea and on the cliffs and beaches of Ireland. It does this through its Marine Rescue Centres which are currently based in:

  • Dublin
  • Malin Head (Co Donegal)
  • Valentia Island (Co Kerry).

Each centre is responsible for search and rescue operations.

The Dublin National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) provides marine search and rescue response services and co-ordinates the response to marine casualty incidents within the Irish Pollution Responsibility Zone/EEZ.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia and MRSC Malin Head are 24/7 centres co-ordinating search and rescue response in their areas of responsibility.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Ballycotton and Clifden.

MRSC Malin Head is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle.

MRCC Dublin is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Carlingford Lough and Ballycotton.

Each MRCC/MRSC broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and, in some cases, MF radio in accordance with published schedules.

Maritime safety information that is broadcast by the three Marine Rescue Sub-centres includes:

  • navigational warnings as issued by the UK Hydrographic Office
  • gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings as issued by the Irish Meteorological Office.

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.

The Coast Guard can contract specialised aerial surveillance or dispersant spraying aircraft at short notice internationally.

Helicopter tasks include:

  • the location of marine and aviation incident survivors by homing onto aviation and marine radio distress transmissions, by guidance from other agencies, and by visual, electronic and electro-optical search
  • the evacuation of survivors from the sea, and medical evacuees from all manner of vessels including high-sided passenger and cargo vessels and from the islands
  • the evacuation of personnel from ships facing potential disaster
  • search and or rescue in mountainous areas, caves, rivers, lakes and waterways
  • the transport of offshore fire-fighters (MFRTs) or ambulance teams (MARTs) and their equipment following a request for assistance
  • the provision of safety cover for other search and rescue units including other Marine Emergency Service helicopters
  • pollution, casualty and salvage inspections and surveillance and the transport of associated personnel and equipment
  • inter-agency training in all relevant aspects of the primary role
  • onshore emergency medical service, including evacuation and air ambulance tasks
  • relief of the islands and of areas suffering from flooding or deep snow

The secondary roles of the helicopter are:

  • the exercise of the primary search, rescue and evacuation roles in adjacent search and rescue regions
  • assistance to onshore emergency services, such as in the evacuation of high-rise buildings
  • public safety awareness displays and demonstrations
  • providing helicopter expertise for seminars and training courses

The Irish Coast Guard provides aeronautical assets for search and rescue in the mountains of Ireland. Requests for Irish Coast Guard assets are made to the Marine Rescue Centres.

Requests are accepted from An Garda Síochána and nominated persons in Mountain Rescue Teams.

Information courtesy of Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (July 2019)

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