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Displaying items by tag: Search and Rescue

#MISSING DIVER - Teams were still searching yesterday at a wreck site off Cape Clear for a diver missing since Tuesday, according to The Irish Times.

A Defence Forces spokesperson told the paper that a sonar device would be employed to scan the seabed for any sign of 54-year-old Reinhardt Teschke, who failed to resurface from a 90m dive on the wreck of British merchant vessel the Minnehaha.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Baltimore RNLI launched both its inshore and all-weather lifeboats to the scene south of Balitmore Harbour in West Cork on Tuesday evening to search for the German diver, one of a party of three at the wreck site.

Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 and the Naval Service vessel LE Ciara were also involved in the surface search, which was set to be wound down yesterday.

Published in News Update

#COASTGUARD - The Donegal Democrat reports that the northern county may soon lose the cliff rescue service supplied by the Bunbeg coastguard unit.

Irish Coast Guard spokesman Gerard O'Flynn confirmed that the recent Fisher Report commissined by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar "recommends that the Bunbeg unit should just continue as a coastguard boat and search team and no longer offer the cliff rescue element of their operation."

He added: "There has been no decision taken on this. It is only contained in the report, it is at discussion level."

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the same 'value for money' report has recommended the closure of both coastguard radio stations at Malin Head and Valentia Island.

The Bunbeg unit, which comprises 23 volunteers in total, covers much of the county's northwestern coastline from Rosbeg to Horn Head which has become a popular spit for climbers both on the mainland and offshore on the likes of Tory Island and Arranmore.

Published in Coastguard

#LOUGH DERG - RTÉ News reports that the body of a man in his 40s was recovered from Lough Derg on Friday night.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat was launched to investigate an upturned speedboat in Youghal Bay near Garrykennedy on Thursday evening.

The 20ft vessel was said to have extensive damage to the outdrive and propellers, consistent with damage sustained while running.

The Killaloe unit of the Irish Coast Guard immediately launched a search and rescue operation in the area for any mossing persons, assisted by the Shannon coastguard helicopter.

There was no reports on shore of anyone overdue, and as of Friday attempts were ongoing to find out who might own the boat and who was on board at the time of the incident.

Divers with the Killaloe Search and Rescue Unit found the body some 30m from the boat and recovered it around 8pm on Friday. A post-mortem was scheduled to be carried out yesterday at Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick.

Published in News Update

#MISSING FISHERMAN - Search teams combing the coast off Valentia Island for a missing fisherman have this afternoon found the body of a man, according to the Irish Examiner.

A major search operation was launched last night after the 32-year-old angler slipped and fell into the water while fishing with a group of seven at Culloo Rock off the Co Kerry island.

Garda and Naval Service divers this afternoon joined the search, which resumed at 6am headed by the Valentia lifeboat and Kingstown coastguard unit, with assistance from the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter.

The body recovered by divers has not yet been identified.

Lifeboat operations manager Richard Foran said the area is notorious for people losing lives, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

"It's a fantastic fishing, spot but the problem is it is exposed to the Atlantic," he said.

Published in News Update

#SEARCH AND RESCUE - A body was recovered yesterday during the search for a 43-year-old fisherman missing off the Galway coast, as RTÉ News reports.

The body was discovered near the shoreline of St Macdara’s island off Carna, some distance from the empty currach found early yesterday morning at Inis Mór in the Aran Islands to the south.

The missing man, named locally as Gerry Folan or Gearoid O'Cualáin, was last seen rowing a currach from the Mace Head area around 5pm on Monday evening.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a major air and sea search and rescue operation was launched, assisted by Irish Coast Guard helicopters and the Air Corps Casa patrol craft.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#SEARCH AND RESCUE - The Irish Times reports of a major air and sea search and rescue operation for a 43-year-old fisherman missing off the Galway coast.

Irish Coast Guard helicopters based at Sligo and Shannon joined the overight search for the man, who was last seen rowing a currach from the Mace Head area around 5pm yesterday.

It is understood that a currach was found in the area this morning.

The search resumed at first light, with the Air Corps Casa patrol craft searching the area, and coastguard and lifeboat crews set to rejoin the operation.

Published in Rescue

#COASTGUARD - Canada's L-3 Wescam has announced it will be providing electro-optical and infrared imaging systems for the Irish Coast Guard's revamped search and rescue helicopter fleet, starting with the new Sikorsky S-92 based at Shannon.

“This order pairs the most modern SAR helicopter with the most advanced EO/IR sensor to provide a vital capability for lifesaving missions,” said Paul Jennison, vice president of government sales and business development for L-3 Wescam.

The company describes its MXTM-15 system as a one-line replacement unit solution, which reduces installation weight by 25% and increases much-needed cabin space for transporting rescue victims.

The system’s digital infrared camera is capable of a 20% increase in visual range, allowing missions at night or in inclement weather to result in a higher search success rate.

In addition, the system comes with WESCAM’s MX-GEO Gen 3 software package which helps deliver maximum geographic location accuracy and significantly reduces operator fatigue that often arises in demanding and stressful SAR operations.

Imaging system upgrades are expected to be rolled out across the Irish Coast Guard's helicopter fleet by the end of next year.

Published in Coastguard

#COASTGUARD - Greater co-operation between Europe's coastguard organisations is inevitable, according to the Irish Coast Guard director.

Chris Reynolds was speaking at Search and Rescue 2012, the EU Heads of Coastguard conference in Dublin last Thursday, at which he outlined a feasibility study being conducted by the European Commission on a standardised coastguard service across Europe.

As Shephard Media reports, Reynolds admitted that some challenges stood in front of any effective change in the sector, noting that SAR policy at member state level is often spread across many departments.

But the Costa Condordia disaster off the Italian coast recently may focus governments to develop a "sense of urgency" on the issue, he said.

In the keynote address at the conference, Italian coastguard chief Giuseppe Troina said it was fortunate that the death toll in that incident had not been much greater, emphasising that more than 4,000 people survived the cruise ship's sinking.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#RESCUE - The Killaloe/Ballina Search and Recovery Unit in Co Clare has been left reeling after the engines powering its specialist dive boat were stolen recently.

According to the Irish Examiner, the 18-strong volunteer search team were "gutted" when they turned up for training on Wednesday to find thieves had broken into the boathouse and made off with two 90HP Honda engines, worth €15,000 each.

Chairman Tony O'Brien commented: "The boat is well marked and clearly identifiable so whoever took these engines knew what they were taking and that they were stealing from a volunteer community group."

O'Brien described the theft as a "sick act" and emphasised that "lives are being put at risk".

Anyone who might have information regarding the theft is urged to contact gardaí in Killaloe at 061 620540 or the Garda confidential line at 1800 666 111.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#RESCUE - BBC News reports that the search for a cargo ship crewman missing in the Irish Sea has been scaled down.

The 22-year-old from Slovakia was reported missing yesterday morning from the Fehn Sirius, which was en route from Belfast to Portugal, as it headed past Arklow, Co Wicklow.

According to The Irish Times, he was last seen on the cargo ship around 10pm on Monday night as it headed south of the entrance to Strangford Lough.

Lifeboats from Portaferry and Newcastle in Northern Ireland and Arklow joined the search and rescue operation, which was assisted by the RAF helicopter based at Prestwick in Scotland and an Irish Coast Guard helicopter.

However, most rescue services have now been stood down as the Fehn Sirius continues to backtrack in the Irish Sea, with assistance from the Naval Service vessel LE Ciara.

Only three days ago the body of another mariner was recovered from the Irish Sea off the north Dublin coast, more than a month after he went missing.

Published in Rescue
Page 4 of 12

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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