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Displaying items by tag: Northern Ireland

Loughs Agency fishery officers recovered illegal nets in two separate incidents on the River Foyle last weekend.

In the first of these, fishery officers seized a 150m-long net containing 28 salmon at an area known as Rosses Bay.

A sea trout, millet and flounder were also caught in the net, which was found in an important holding water for salmon on their journey to the tributary rivers upstream.

Protection of this area is vital to ensure salmon populations are sustainable, the Loughs Agency says.

In a separate incident, another illegal net was seized on the Foyle at Porthall in Co Donegal after reports from a member of the public about suspicious activity near the river.

The net showed signs of recent use, with fresh salmon scales visible. The net was seized and will be destroyed once a court order has been granted.

Loughs Agency encourages the public to report suspicious activity directly and promptly using the 24-hour Response Line at +44 (0) 2871 342100 or through the WaterWatch reporting tool on its website.

Published in Inland Waterways

Discarded plastic is the predominant form of litter on Northern Ireland’s beaches, according to a new survey by a local environmental group.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the survey by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful estimates that plastic — most of it single-use, such as bottles or food wrappers — accounts for nearly four-fifths of more than three million items of rubbish on NI beaches at any one time.

The figure is projected from on-site surveys in 2019 which recorded an average of more than 500 pieces of litter per 100 metres of beach.

KNIB Plastic Around Coast

Commenting on the survey, NI Environment Minister Edwin Poots said: “The figures reveal the stark reality of litter on our beaches, with over 22,000 pieces of litter collected across 11 beaches, with 78% of this made from single-use plastic.”

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

RYA Northern Ireland has released guidance for boaters after a Sport Northern Ireland update confirmed that Outdoor Activity has moved into Step 2.

However, this is limited to outdoors only and indoor activity/advice remains as it was in Step 1 until further announcements. This has allowed some additional considerations for boating activity.

The Sport Northern Ireland update highlighted that:

  • Groups of up to 10 are now permitted to take part in socially distanced outdoor training
  • No relaxation of restrictions is yet in place for indoor activity and as a result no indoor sports activity is permitted at this time.
  • Resumption of outdoor sporting activity at Step 2 is entirely conditional on robust protocols being in place, communicated, fully understood and complied with by all participants. We would therefore urge a cautious approach.

Under the Northern Ireland Executive's Pathway to Recovery, the following is therefore permitted:

Outdoor activities involving small groups of less than 10 people during which it may be difficult to maintain social distancing but where contacts are brief (less than10 minutes).

RYA Northern Ireland has updated and issued its Guidance for Step 2 and considerations of activity that could now take place.

The Governing Body continues to urge boaters to take a conservative approach to activities and to follow all public health advice in order to best help eliminate COVID 19. Guidance for access to indoors remains in Step 1 until subsequent announcements.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
Tagged under

In the UK the British Ports Association has welcomed news that government will postpone its plans to introduce full border checks on traffic arriving from the EU for six months from January 2021.

This will be done for imports into the UK in three phases until July 2021.

Richard Ballantyne, the Chief Executive of the British Ports Association, who represents all the main ferry port gateways including Dover, Holyhead, Immingham and Portsmouth, said:

“This is welcome news. Across the board the freight industry has been telling government that it will not be ready. The risk of doing nothing could have led to issues for much of our trade with Europe, including severe congestion at ports. Delays and additional costs for freight operators get passed on and ultimately this sensible and pragmatic decision will mean British manufacturers and consumers are not faced with the increased expenditure, at least until a more formal border operating model is agreed by industry and Government.

Whilst the context of the Coronavirus pandemic means we have lost some time to prepare, the timescales were already challenging so a period of pragmatism will be helpful. There do remain questions about how Northern Irish traffic will be managed. Government must now speed up its work to agree a new long-lasting border operating model which ensures goods continue to flow between the UK and the EU and also between Britain and Northern Ireland.”

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, announced details of the extension which included arrangements for the funding of certain inland borders infrastructure. A new Border Operating Model should be published by July to outline what ports and businesses need to do to prepare. These measures are focussed on EU to Great Britain trade and there remain differences in approach for traffic between GB and Northern Ireland.

Published in Ferry

The RNLI has urged the Northern Ireland public to exercise caution when visiting the coast and be aware of the dangers while lifeguards are currently not deployed on the region’s beaches.

Rollout of the normal seasonal lifeguard service was halted at the end of March due to the measures put in place by the Northern Ireland Executive to control the spread of Coronavirus.

Despite the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak, the charity will be running a restricted lifeguard service on some Northern Ireland beaches. However, this service will not be starting until later in June.

“As we move to a gradual relaxing of restrictions as advised by the Northern Ireland Executive and we experience the good weather, we expect many people to be eager to visit the coast,” said Karl O’Neill, RNLI lead lifeguard supervisor.

“We ask those who are visiting beaches to continue to be aware of the inherent dangers and to avoid taking risks.

“The RNLI’s water safety campaign is advising people to keep their family safe when they are at the coast, avoid using inflatables and if they see anyone in trouble, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Anyone planning a visit to the coast should remember and follow RNLI safety advice:

  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage.
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water.
  • Don’t allow your family to swim alone.
  • Don’t use inflatables.
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
  • In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the coastguard.
  • The RNLI’s safety information can be found at rnli.org/safety/beach-safety

RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew in Northern Ireland remain on call and are expecting to see an increase in callouts as the good continues and lockdown restrictions gradual ease.

The charity that saves lives at sea appeals to the public to please take extra care and follow water safety advice.

Earlier this week, RNLI chief executive Mark Dowrie published an open letter saying that England’s relaxing of lockdown rules without prior consultation with the charity had put it “in an impossible situation” with regard to its provision of lifesaving services.

Tagged under

Northern Ireland’s Agriculture Minister has confirmed that a fish kill in a tributary of the River Moyola last week was caused by a spillage of 30,000 gallons of slurry, as BBC News reports.

The incident on the Grange River in Co Derry on Thursday 21 May affected a significant stretch of water near the village of Desertmartin, according to a local angling club.

It’s understood that the spillage originated from an over-ground slurry tank, but the circumstances are still being investigated.

The incident comes just weeks after anglers in Co Armagh expressed anger at the killing of more than 1,000 wild brown trout by pollution in the Glenavy River.

Two years after his dream of a riverboat barge on the River Bann was lost to the Irish Sea, a Northern Ireland marina owner is making plans for Ireland’s first floating hotel, as Belfast Live reports.

Seamus Carey, who owns the Cranagh Marina Complex, has filed a planning application for a 70-metre barge he’s found in Norway which he intends to renovate into three-star accommodation with 36 cabins, a restaurant and function room.

He said “surge” in visitor numbers at his marina complex before the Covid-19 lockdown moved him to reflect his plans — which initially sank with the loss of the Mississippi-style paddle steamer MV Oliver Cromwell off the North Wales coast in May 2018.

Belfast Live has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

Following more easing of Covid-19 restrictions announced by the Northern Ireland Executive, plans are being made by Waterways Ireland to reopen its navigations north of the border — the Erne System, Lower Bann and on the Shannon-Erne Waterway — to boating from next Friday 29 May.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says it is working to roll out health and safety procedures and protocols to ensure the safe return of both staff and boaters to these navigations.

Private boaters undertaking short trips on the water, as permitted under the new restrictions, are reminded to proceed with caution as navigations and their facilities have not been fully maintained since lockdown began in late March.

“It will take time to reopen the above navigations,” Waterways Ireland said in a statement. “We expect they will reopen on May 29th.

“Waterways Ireland’s locks and service blocks will remain closed in line with the five-step roadmap to recovery [in Northern Ireland]. We recognise the situation is constantly changing.”

It added that updates prior to reopening will be made via marine notices, on the Waterways Ireland website and via social media channels.

The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) yesterday welcomed to the return of boating to Lough Erne with a list of recommendations to keep everyone safe on the water.

Published in Inland

A South Antrim MLA says fisheries staff in Northern Ireland have not been given enough time to prepare for the safe return of angling in the region, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Alliance’s John Blair was responding to the decision by DAERA Minister Edwin Poots to allow the gradual reopening of public fisheries to local anglers from tomorrow, Monday 18 May as part of Northern Ireland’s ‘roadmap to recovery’ plan.

The move, which comes two weeks after a limited return to fisheries began in the Republic, has been welcomed by angling representatives in the North.

But Blair says the announcement “came out of the blue” and has left “major questions” to be answered over maintaining the health and safety of both anglers and fisheries staff.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Tagged under

The Loughs Agency’s elicence website is now back online and anglers can purchase licences for the Foyle and Carlingford areas.

Anglers are individually responsible for compliance with their government’s advice and guidance. Anglers should keep up to date with the latest advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA) in Northern Ireland and the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland.

Loughs Agency offices remain closed and the normal licence distributor network is also still under lockdown conditions. Therefore, anyone wishing to purchase a licence should do so through the elicence website.

For anglers requesting carcass tags when they purchase a licence online, these will be posted to your address. Anglers should take this into account when purchasing.

For anglers purchasing a Loughs Agency endorsement licence, please ensure you have already purchased a full season licence or concession licence from DAERA or a full season or district licence from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). Loughs Agency carryout checks with our colleagues in DAERA and IFI to validate licence purchases.

If you require a Loughs Agency permit for Foyle, Finn or Greenbraes, please contact the Loughs Agency on +44 (0) 2871 342100 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).

Illegal fishing or pollution concerns can be reported through the Loughs Agency’s Waterwatch reporting tool online or through the 24-hour response line on +44 (0) 2871 342100.

If you require any further assistance, call the Loughs Agency at the above number during normal weekday office hours or email [email protected]

Published in Angling
Page 1 of 27

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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