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#CadetClass- Simon Coveney, Minister for Defence, this morning attended a Naval Service Commissioning Ceremony of the 53rd Naval Service Cadet Class.

The event took place at the Naval Base, in Haulbowline, Co. Cork, where the Minister offered his congratulations to the newly commissioned officers and remarked that “I offer my warmest congratulations to all of you for the commitment you are making to the State. Each one of you, together with your families and friends, can be justifiably proud of your achievement”.

Minister Coveney also paid tribute to the ongoing humanitarian work being carried out by the Naval Service in the Mediterranean “The actions of both the LÉ Eithne and LÉ Niamh have highlighted the capability and commitment that has always been the hallmark of Ireland’s Naval Service”.

The Minister said that the L.É. Samuel Beckett will be deployed to the Mediterranean from the end of September until the end of November this year and stated that “The people of Ireland can truly be proud of the marvellous work the Naval Service has done and is continuing to do and I wish them every continued success with their work”.

Published in Navy

#navy – L.É. Niamh under the command of her captain, Lieutenant Commander Daniel Wall departs the Naval Base, Haulbowline this evening, en route for the Mediterranean to assist the Italian authorities in the humanitarian operation to rescue migrants fleeing North Africa.
The Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., had announced earlier this month that L.É. Niamh would deploy to the Mediterranean to continue Ireland's contribution to the search and rescue mission. L.É. Eithne has spent the past eight weeks in the Mediterranean and has set out on her return to Irish shores. A total of 3,377 people have been rescued by L.É. Eithne from the waters between Libya and Sicily.
Defence Minister Simon Coveney said "I had the opportunity of visiting L.É. Eithne last Tuesday. I conveyed to the personnel our deep appreciation for the outstanding manner in which they performed their duties on overseas service on behalf of the Government and the people of Ireland. I am pleased to be here today to convey my appreciation to you, in advance of your deployment."
L.É. Niamh with a crew of 55 Naval Service personnel and 2 medics from the Army Medical Corps will continue the remarkable work started by L.É. Eithne. The Minister went on to say "L.É. Niamh is expected to be deployed in the Mediterranean until September, dependent on the operational demands and requirements arising."
The Minister concluded by saying "I want to wish Lieutenant Commander Daniel Wall and the crew of L.É. Niamh a safe and successful mission. You are travelling to the Mediterranean with my best wishes and with those of the rest of the nation."

Published in Navy
Tagged under

#MedTrafficker - The LE Eithne has picked up a suspected people smuggler amongst 646 desperate migrants has been arrested by Italian Police.

Bairam Ltayef (24), a Tunisian national, was detained in the Sicilian capital Palermo after he was identified by refugees who were interviewed by officers.

It is understood that the crew of the LE Eithne were unaware that the man was a suspected trafficker.

Drowned

It is estimated that at least 1,850 people have drowned in the Mediterranean this year alone, with many falling victim to people traffickers in their desperation to flee war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

The State Police told the Herald that they "identified and arrested" Mr Ltayef on suspicion that he was the "smuggler" of a boat of migrants.

A statement explained how the LE Eithne arrived in Palermo on June 30 to offload the migrants, with the Italian police meeting the vessel to assist in the processing of the immigrants.

 For more on this development, the Herald.ie has a report here.

 

Published in Navy

#NewChiefOFstaff - Rear Admiral Mark Mellett DSM writes The Irish Times has been nominated by Minister for Defence Simon Coveney for the appointment by the President as chief of staff of the Defence Forces.

Rear Admiral Mellett was appointed to the position of deputy chief of staff of the Defence Forces in November 2013.

From Co Mayo, he joined the Naval Service in 1976. His first command was the LÉ Orla in 1992, followed by the LÉ Ciara in 1997 and the flagship LÉ Eithne in 2005 (see related report today).

He will succeed the current chief of staff Lt Gen Conor O'Boyle when he retires in September this year.

Mr Coveney congratulated Rear Admiral Mellet on his new appointment and said that he is looking forward to working with him in the future.

Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) President Dr Brendan Murphy said - "We are delighted with to hear of the appointment of Rear Admiral Mark Mellett as Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces. CIT, since the foundation of the National Maritime College of Ireland ten years ago, has had a long and fruitful relationship with the Irish Naval Service and in particular with Rear Admiral Mellett is his role as Officer Commanding the Irish Naval Service. It has been a long and fruitful relationship particularly as Mark showed great strategic vision. He has been instrumental in the transformation of the Irish Naval Service to a knowledge based institution and the naval service now actively takes part in education and research, playing an important role in the economic development of the country as a whole. I, and CIT, wish him every success in his new role."

Conor Mowlds, Head of the National Marine College of Ireland said " I would like to echo Dr Murphy's words and to give my very best wishes Rear Admiral Mellett. His appointment will add strength to the voice of the growing Irish Maritime Community."

For further details of the career of the Rear Admiral, click here.

 

Published in Navy

#EithneMedCrisis - In operations that took place in two separate incidents writes The Belfast Telegraph, about 50 miles north-west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, men, women and children were taken off two wooden barges.

The crew of the LE Eithne (P31) took part in the first search and rescue after transferring a group of 593 migrants to HMS Bulwark (L15).

The first rescue started at about 8am Irish time when 330 people were safely taken from a barge and immediately afterwards the crew was tasked to assist with another rescue of 317 migrants on another barge.

The migrants included 544 men, 95 women and eight children, the Naval Service said.

Published in Navy

#NewEUmigrantMission - L.É. Eithne has rescued a further 519 migrants yesterday, as part of the coordinated response to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean which was welcomed by Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D.

The Minister commented "L.É. Eithne under the command of her captain, Commander Pearse O'Donnell, and her crew are continuing to undertake a key role in addressing the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. The rescue operation today, involving 519 migrants, is yet another example of the worthwhile efforts being undertaken by our Naval Service."

L.E. Eithne was alerted to three craft in potential distress approximately 50 nautical miles northwest of Tripoli.

The Minister confirmed that "L.É. Eithne has completed the rescue of 104 personnel from the first craft, 363 from a second vessel and 53 from a third vessel. This brings the total migrants rescued so far to 2,136."

The Irish Naval Vessel is providing medical assistance, food, water and dry clothes to those in need and will transfer them safely to port in Italy as soon as possible.

New EU Military Operation

Separately the Foreign Affairs Council adopted a Council Decision yesterday to launch a European Union military operation, EUNAVFOR MED as one element of the EU's comprehensive approach to the Mediterranean crisis.

The EUNAVOR MED mission will undertake systematic efforts to identify capture and dispose of vessels and enabling assets, before they are used by traffickers, thereby contributing to disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean.

Phase one of this mission, which focuses on surveillance and assessment of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, will commence in the coming days. Further phases will be subject to assessment by the European Council, taking into account a UN mandate and the consent of the coastal states concerned.

The Minister concluded that "the work of our Naval Service in the Mediterranean is invaluable. The Naval Service will remain in the Mediterranean undertaking humanitarian search and rescue activity. We do, however, need a comprehensive approach to addressing this ongoing crisis. Today's Council Decision to launch an EU mission is just one part of a bigger strategy. The Taoiseach at the EU Heads of State and Government meeting later this week will give further consideration to the broader migration issue".

Published in Navy

#EithneMedRescue – Naval Service 'flagship' LÉ Eithne (P31) successfully located and rescued 367 migrants on a wooden barge yesterday some 50kms north-west of Tripoli, the Libyan capital.

Almost the same number of migrants again on a barge were rescued earlier this month off the North African coast.

According to the Naval Service, conditions during this latest indicdent were choppy with the operation commencing at 7.25 am during a south easterly 1 metre high swell. All migrants were successfully taken on board by 10.09 am. On board the LÉ Eithne were 278 male, 80 female and 9 children where they received medical screening, food and water.

The LÉ Eithne next tasking will be under the direction of the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre.

A month ago today LÉ Eithne departed Cork Harbour on the 16th of May to assist the Italian Authorities in the humanitarian search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

The role of the Irish Naval vessel will be to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean.
Assistance to persons in distress at sea will be provided in accordance with the applicable provisions of international conventions governing search and rescue situations.

The Naval Service vessel will be deployed in the Mediterranean for a period of up to six months over the summer period, subject to the operational demands and requirements arising in the theatre of operations.

Published in Navy

#YeatsFinalJourney – Peter Murtagh of The Irish Times writes of a long forgotten record of the return to Ireland of the remains of WB Yeats.

The records emerged from the Military Archives and is available online to coincide with the 150th anniversary on Saturday of the poet's birth.

The body of the poet, who died in January 1939 and was buried at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in south-eastern France, was brought by sea from Nice to Galway in September 1948 for reinterring in Drumcliffe Churchyard in Co Sligo. It was transported by the LE Macha, the first overseas deployment of a ship of the Naval Service.

The operation was overseen by the then minister for external affairs, Sean McBride, son of Maud Gonne-McBride, the subject of unrequited, but poetically inspiring, amour from the poet.

The rediscovered record of the repatriation includes just over 30 minutes of film - silent, grainy and mostly black and white footage of the Macha's mission; more than 80 black and white photographs; the ship's log; and five informal letters to the first head of the Naval Service, Captain HJ Jerome, from an officer on board the Macha, Commander Thomas McKenna, who in due course succeeded Capt Jerome to lead the service.

To this has been added a recording of the only surviving member of the crew, former Petty Officer Patrick Campbell, who is now aged 90 but has a clear recollection of the mission.

"When we docked in Nice there was great excitement because it was the first Irish ship [there flying the] tricolour. We did get a good reception," Mr Campbell told a researcher at the Archive after his daughter, Antonette, contacted the Defence Forces earlier this year saying her father had a story to tell.

For much more, The Irish Times reports here.

Published in Naval Visits

#EithneMedRescue - LÉ Eithne (P31) the Navy Service flagship writes the Independent.ie, has rescued more than 500 men, women children and infants desperately attempting to cross the Mediterranean this weekend.

Yesterday morning the ship rescued 310 migrants from a barge floating in the Mediterranean 40km north of Libya.

Then at 5pm the LÉ Eithne located and rescued migrants on two inflatable craft -this time with 89 persons on board - some 75 kilometres north of Libya. Conditions at the time were good and the operation took two hours.

There are now 399 rescuees on board the Irish ship who owe their lives to the skilled Irish naval services. They number 280 men, 78 women and 41 children in total and will be transferred to other vessels to bring them safely to shore.

On Friday, the LÉ Eithne rescued another 113 migrants adrift on a rubber inflatable dinghy north of Tripoli. They were all given food and water once they were safely on board and then transported to shore.

The LÉ Eithne has now saved more than 1,000 people since it left Cork three weeks ago on May 16 (as previously reported on Afloat.ie)- sailing to assist the Italian authorities in the ongoing search- and-rescue mission in the southern Mediterranean waters.

For more on the story click here.

Published in Navy
Page 11 of 23

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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