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Displaying items by tag: Saltee Islands

#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed signed into law conservation measures concerning Irish velvet crab stocks as he hosted the 12th meeting of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF) today, Wednesday 27 September.

The Inshore Fisheries Forum structures, which include the NIFF and six Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums (RIFFs), were established in 2014 to foster stakeholder-led development of proposals for the inshore fishing sector.

As well as moved to protect Irish velvet crab, the minister also introduced measures to regulate fishing activities affecting Natura 2000 sites at Hook Head and the Saltee Islands.

Regulations signed by Minister Creed today will introduce a Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS) of 65mm for velvet crab that will apply to Irish sea fishing boats from 1 January 2018.

This measure was initially developed by the West Regional Inshore Fisheries Forum (RIFF) with advice from the Marine Institute. The proposal was brought to the minister last year by the NIFF, and a public consultation on the measure was held at the end of 2016.

Velvet crab are fished all year, but mainly in the March to October period, and they are predominantly a by-catch in the lobster fishery. Landings of velvet crab into Ireland were 406 tonnes in 2015, higher than any year since 2004, and were valued at just under €808,000. Over 80% of velvet crabs are landed by vessels less than 10 metres in length.

Additionally, a Fisheries Natura Declaration signed by Minister Creed today will restrict fishing using dredge and trawling gear for scallop fishing to protect certain sensitive habitats in Natura 2000 conservation sites off the southeast coast of Wexford from 30 November.

The Natura 2000 sites include the Hook Head and Saltee Islands SACs (Special Areas of Conservation). The declaration also sets down monitoring and notification requirements for boats fishing using dredge and trawling gear within these habitats.

These gear and monitoring measures were developed through industry members working with the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) to address risks to sensitive habitats in the Hook Head and Saltee Islands SACs. The risks were identified by the Marine Institute in a 2014 risk assessment report of sea-fishing activities in Natura 2000 sites in the Irish Sea.

Industry members – including individual scallop fishermen, members of the Southeast RIFF and representatives of the Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation (ISEFPO) – met with the Marine Institute and BIM through 2015 and 2016 to develop risk mitigation proposals for the fishery. A public consultation on the resulting Mitigation Response Plan was carried out in 2016.

These measures are being introduced following full consultation with the Inshore Fisheries Forum structures.

“Heading into their third year, the forums have taken a lead in tackling conservation issues and changing practices with a view to long-term sustainability,” said Minister Creed. “I welcome the support these measures have received from the Forums which reflects the mature approach this sector is taking in dealing with its own challenges.”

Minister Creed and the NIFF discussed the implementation of the new measures and the status of other measures under review for important stocks such as lobster, brown crab and razor clams.

The minister also discussed the impact of Brexit on the fishing sector and the UK’s intention to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention, which governs access to waters inside the 12-mile limit.

Commenting on issues arising for the sector from Brexit, Minister Creed noted: “While the implications of Brexit are far from clear at this point in time, I will continue to highlight Irish fisheries concerns on the EU agenda and work with other impacted EU member states and the Barnier team to ensure that fisheries are not isolated in the overall negotiations on a new EU/UK relationship.”

Published in Fishing

#Fishing - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport reminds fishing vessel operators to monitor their bilge spaces prior, during and after voyages.

It is also essential that bilge alarms are tested regularly, to determine that both the audible and visible alarms are working.

In addition, it is good practice to regularly inspect bilge suction strainers to ensure they are clean and ready for use.

The notice is prompted by the recommendation made in last year's report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board into the sinking of the FV Napier off the Saltee Islands on 30 January 2014.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Kilmore Quay lifeboat launched to the rescue of two fishermen on board the small lobster boat as it sank off the Co Wexford islands.

The official MCIB report into the incident was unable to determine the exact cause of water flooding the boat's bilge and engine area as it was not recovered from the sea bed, though it is presumed to be a serious failure of the seawater cooling system.

The full report is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Fishing

#MCIB - The lack of a handheld VHF radio or float-free EPIRB potentially delayed the rescue of passengers from a capsized vessel off the Saltee Islands last August.

One man died by drowning but nine others were rescued after a five-hour ordeal at sea when their leisure craft was swamped in the channel between the islands, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

According to the official report on the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB), the 21ft Dory named 'Jillian' was already low in the water when it set out from Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford on the afternoon of Saturday 29 August 2015 with its owner-skipper and nine passengers on board.

Shortly before 7pm, as the boat passed through the channel in what are commonly choppy waters towards fishing grounds south of Great Saltee, witness reports said that a wall of water came over the bow, forcing through the acrylic glass windows of the wheelhouse and flooding the cabin.

Before efforts could be made to bail out the boat or use the fixed VHF radio in the wheelhouse, the engine stopped and more water flooded in, causing the vessel to capsize quickly.

One passenger was trapped under the hull but was rescued moments later by one of the others, and all but one managed to climb onto the upturned hull.

With no handheld radio or EPIRB on the boat, the skipper and his passengers were unable to call for help. A flare found by one of the survivors was discarded as none knew how to operate it and feared injury in doing so.

Many hours later at midnight, as the group were having difficulty staying on the upturned hull, they attracted the attention of the Saltee Islands ferry which had joined the search party with the Kilmore Quay and Fethard RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard minutes before.

Within 20 minutes all 10 casualties had been taken aboard the ferry, but one was quickly transferred to the Kilmore Quay lifeboat when his health appeared to be failing.

Despite the swift actions of the lifeboat crew and the personnel of coastguard helicopter Rescue 117 who continued CPR, the man was pronounced dead on arrival at Wexford General Hospital.

The investigation later determined that the skipper did not know the maximum load capacity of his vessel, though it was built before such information was made mandatory for the maker's name plate.

It was therefore judged likely that the additional passenger weight caused the boat to sit low in the water, making it vulnerable to breaking waves in the rougher waters between the Saltees.

In addition, if the boat had carried a handheld radio or EPIRB, or had anyone on board knowledge of how to use a flare, it's likely that the party could have been rescued earlier, the report concluded.

The complete MCIB report into the 'Jillian' incident is available to read or download HERE.

Published in MCIB

#MCIB - Wearing a personal flotation device could have helped save the life of a fisherman whose body was found at the Saltee Islands off Co Wexford this summer months after his disappearance, according to marine accident investigators.

As RTÉ News reports, the body of Paddy Barry, 56, was discovered on the shore of Great Saltee Island on 4 May more than five months after his fishing vessel, the MFV Leonora Jacinta, was found south of the island with no one aboard on 25 November 2013.

The official report into the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) established that Barry, a part-time fishermen who could not swim, had set out from Kilmore Quay alone on the morning of his disappearance to lift and bait lobster pots, and retrieve a string of fouled pots close to Shoal Rock.

It was at the latter location where his boat was last seen headed at 11am, but around 11.50am a passing fishing vessel noted that Barry's boat had been stationary in that spot for some time.

Another vessel approached some 30 minutes later and found that the Leonora Jacinta was secured to a line of pots with its engine idling and its pot hauler set in neutral.

Lifeboat and coastguard teams were contacted immediately and began what became a 26-day search by land, sea and air around the area where the Leonora Jacinta was found, but the operation was stood down on 22 December due to deteriorating weather conditions.

According to the MCIB report, witnesses familiar with Barry confirmed that two personal floatation devices (PFDs) found on the Leonora Jacinta were the vessel's only PFDs – and indicated that Barry preferred not to wear one when he was working, against the Code of Practice for Fishing Vessels.

It was also found that the boat's gunwale was only half a metre high at the pot hauler, giving little stability in that deck position. Though not against regulations, it suggests that Barry could have been pitched overboard by the vessel lurching in even a slight swell.

In such an event, strong currents in the area could have carried Barry some two miles northeast of the boat within two hours, and lacking a lifejacket it would have been extremely difficult both for him to stay afloat and for rescuers to spot him.

Had he been wearing a PDF "it is likely that he would have remained on the surface and been visible to the search teams, which could have led to an early recovery," says the report – which also recommends amending the Code of Practice to set a minimum height for bulwarks, guard rails and hand rails.

The full MCIB report on the MFV Leonora Jacinta incident is available to download below.

Published in MCIB
Tagged under

#RNLI - Kilmore Quay RNLI came to the rescue of two fishermen after their boat sank off the Saltee Islands in Co Wexford yesterday afternoon (Thursday 30 January).

The volunteer crew was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat shortly after 4pm following a Mayday report that a small fishing vessel with two people on board was sinking southwest of the Saltee Islands.

Weather conditions at the time were described as overcast with a force three wind blowing.

The two casualties managed to evacuate the sinking boat onto a liferaft before being rescued by another vessel that was in the area at the time. The men were then transferred to the lifeboat and brought safely back to Kilmore Quay harbour.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Motor Boats Monthly has posted video of the dramatic rescue of four divers from the Wexford coast on Saturday.
The search operation, which included four RNLI lifeboats, an Irish Coast Guard helicopter and shore unit, was launched last Friday night when the group of divers failed to return to shore.
The divers were rescued at 6am on Saturday morning near the Saltee Islands, where they were found clinging to their upturned RIB.
Divernet reports that the accident occurred when a section of tubing at the boat's bow broke away from the hull.

The accident that left four divers stranded off the Wexford coast last weekend was caused by damage to their boat's hull.

Divernet reports that the accident occurred when a section of tubing at the RIB's bow broke away from the hull.

The search operation, which included four RNLI lifeboats, an Irish Coast Guard helicopter and shore unit, was launched last Friday night when the group of divers failed to return to shore.

The divers were rescued at 6am on Saturday morning near the Saltee Islands, where they were found clinging to their upturned RIB.

Dramatic video of the divers' rescue was posted earlier this week on Afloat.ie.

Published in Rescue
The first in a new series, The Sea Road, following classic Irish sea kayaking routes in The Irish Times takes Gary Quinn to the Saltee Islands.
Setting out from Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford in a group of seven, the forecast of four four winds with rain, fog and thunderstorms is concerning, but not enough to hold Quinn back. And when they finally pierce the fog to land on Little Saltee, it's all worth it.
"The fog lifts, the sun breaks through and, stepping up off the beach, a carpet of bluebells appears to bloom, almost before our eyes," writes Quinn.
The Irish Times has more on Gary Quinn's Saltee Islands visit HERE.

The first in a new series, The Sea Road, following classic Irish sea kayaking routes in The Irish Times takes Gary Quinn to the Saltee Islands.

Setting out from Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford in a group of seven, the forecast of four four winds with rain, fog and thunderstorms is concerning, but not enough to hold Quinn back. And when they finally pierce the fog to land on Little Saltee, it's all worth it.

"The fog lifts, the sun breaks through and, stepping up off the beach, a carpet of bluebells appears to bloom, almost before our eyes," writes Quinn.

The Irish Times has more on Gary Quinn's Saltee Islands visit HERE.

Published in Canoeing
Three anglers were recovered by the Kilmore Quay lifeboat last weekend after an engine failure on their vessel close to the Saltee Islands.
SAR Ireland reports that three males were on board the cheekily named Crafty Bitch on a fishing expedition when they got into difficulty.
They were forced to raise the alarm by phone as there was no VHF radio on board. The absence of radio and GPS made locating the vessel "very difficult", but the boat was eventually found after some delay and towed to port. All on board were wearing lifejackets.
Boat anglers are reminded to ensure they have at a bare minimum a VHF radio and GPS locator on board, as mobile phone signals can be unreliable offshore.

Three anglers were recovered by the Kilmore Quay lifeboat last weekend after an engine failure on their vessel close to the Saltee Islands.

SAR Ireland reports that three males were on board the cheekily named Crafty Bitch on a fishing expedition when they got into difficulty. 

They were forced to raise the alarm by phone as there was no VHF radio on board. The absence of radio and GPS made locating the vessel "very difficult", but the boat was eventually found after some delay and towed to port. All on board were wearing lifejackets.

Boat anglers are reminded to ensure they have at a bare minimum a VHF radio and GPS locator on board, as mobile phone signals can be unreliable offshore.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

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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