Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: fishing vessel

Lifeboat crew from Arranmore RNLI finally got to their beds at 1.20 am this morning (Tuesday, 6 February) after spending over 26 hours at sea to bring a fishing vessel, with five people onboard, to safety.

The Coast Guard requested the Donegal lifeboat to launch on Sunday evening at 10.50pm, after the vessel, which was 48 miles north of Arranmore, reported being in difficulty.

The crew successfully towed a fishing vessel to safety in harsh weather conditions. The vessel was facing swells of up to 5.5 metres and winds of 60kph, making the operation particularly challenging. 

After an initial attempt to tow the vessel failed, the lifeboat crew decided to establish a tow themselves. Despite the difficult conditions, a crew member managed to successfully throw a rope onto the deck of the fishing vessel and establish a line. 

The Arranmore RNLI crew then towed the fishing vessel back to Rathmullen pier in Donegal, at a speed of 1.2 to 3 knots. Upon arrival, they were met by their colleagues from Lough Swilly RNLI, who provided them with warm food before they continued their journey home. 

This was the second callout for the Arranmore RNLI crew over the St. Bridget’s bank holiday weekend. They had earlier launched to carry out a medical evacuation from the island, bringing a casualty to Burtonport where an ambulance met them. 

Reflecting on the operation, Arranmore RNLI Coxswain Jimmy Early expressed his gratitude to the crew members who left their homes to help those in need. He highlighted that the conditions were far from ideal, but the crew members' dedication and expertise ensured a successful outcome. 

The crew members' commitment to their work is commendable, and their bravery in the face of challenging circumstances is truly inspiring.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Two Aran island fishing vessels which were approved for Ireland’s decommissioning scheme, recently completed their last trip before being broken up.

The 17-metre Connacht Ranger and the 20-metre Conquest were photographed on their journey from Ireland to Denmark.

Skipper-owner John Conneely, from the Aran island of Inis Mór, opted to take the vessels to Denmark for scrapping.

“Beautiful but poignant images of MFV Connacht Ranger and Conquest waiting to go up Neptune’s Staircase on the Caledonian Canal en route to Denmark for decommissioning. A stairway to heaven of sorts for two boats whose time is sadly up,” read a post on Twitter by Conneely’s partner, Mary-Frances Beatty.

Both vessels arrived in Denmark on June 11th after a seven-day voyage.

The Connacht Ranger fishing vessel crossing the North Sea on its final voyage to Denmark Photo: John ConneelyThe Connacht Ranger fishing vessel crossing the North Sea on its final voyage to Denmark Photo: John Conneely

“ The trip through Scotland added a nice silver lining to an otherwise difficult journey,” Beatty said.

Formalities were completed on June 12th, and the automatic identification systems for both vessels were then turned off the following day.

“John said goodbye with a heavy heart to the Connacht Ranger in particular.

He just kept her wheel and anchor,” Beatty said.

“The industry is just too hard to survive in nowadays,” she said. She has worked in the State and private sector and says she has “never encountered anything like the complexity of running a fishing business”.

The Connacht Ranger and Conquest in the Caledonian Canal en route to Denmark for scrapping Photo: John ConneelyThe Connacht Ranger and Conquest in the Caledonian Canal en route to Denmark for scrapping Photo: John Conneely

The 17-metre Connacht Ranger has been in the Conneely family for over half a century. It was one of a fleet of timber boats built at boatyards and then run by Ireland’s sea fisheries board, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

John Conneely, who is a fourth-generation skipper, took up fishing with his father, Gregory, and sister Clíona at the age of 16. The late Gregory Conneely was something of a legend, having survived a serious deck injury at an early stage in his career.

Back in 1968, Gregory was at home on Inis Mór with his wife, Maggie - who was about to deliver their first child - when he had a premonition that something was wrong. His first vessel, the Ard Aengus, had run up on rocks.

Gregory launched his brother’s boat, the Ard Colum, with several young fit men from the island.

In a terrific feat of seamanship, they saved the crew from the Ard Aengus before the vessel broke up in heavy seas.

John Conneely was 21 when he became skipper in 1998. He loved the career at sea, but after the family’s vessel Maggie C was arrested back in 2006, his father Gregory advised him to “get out”, having seen how difficult it was to operate within the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The case took almost ten years to be heard, and in May 2015, Conneely was acquitted of breaching EU fishing regulations.

He continued in fishing, but loss of access to British waters after it withdrew from the EU was a final hammer blow. The couple decided to apply for the Irish government decommissioning scheme, feeling they had no choice with so little quota.

“I would not like my young son Gregory to go into this industry, as I don’t see a viable future,” Conneely has said.

Published in Fishing

Valentia Coast Guard is coordinating assistance for a fishing vessel which is on fire off the southwest coast.

The British-registered vessel Piedras with a crew of 11 onboard was reported to be taking in water and had lost power approximately 60 miles southwest of Mizen Head, Co Cork earlier this morning.

The Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115, was immediately tasked to the scene as was an Air Corps Casa maritime patrol aircraft, while the Naval Vessel LÉ Samuel Beckett also steamed to the area.

"Shortly after raising the alert the crew of 11 decided to abandon the vessel and transferred to another fishing vessel, FV Armaven," the Irish Coast Guard said.

"No injuries were reported. The casualty vessel is reported to be on fire and the situation is being monitored by Rescue 115," it said.

" A second Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 was placed on standby at Cork airport," the Irish Coast Guard said in an update at midday.

Weather conditions in the area are described as "favourable", the Irish Coast Guard said.

The vessel sank in the area where it was initially reported to be in difficulty early on Wednesday afternoon. 

The Naval Service patrols hip LÉ Samuel Beckett remained on scene to monitor the situation. 

The Irish Guard said the Armaven was en route to Castletownbere with the 11 crew it rescued from the Piedras earlier this morning.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

An unattended electronic device, possibly a mobile phone on charge, may have ignited a fire on a west Cork fishing vessel which sank last year.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report into the sinking of the fishing vessel Horizon 20 nautical miles off the Old Head of Kinsale, Co Cork, on May 14th, 2021.

The skipper broadcast a “Mayday” on VHF and the four crew on board were recovered from their liferaft by the offshore supply ship, Pathfinder (italics).

Despite efforts to fight the fire by a responding offshore supply ship, Maersk Maker, the fishing vessel sank at approximately 07.00 hrs, close to the position where it initially caught fire.

The MCIB report said there was some sea surface oil pollution reported which appears to have dissipated naturally.

Weather and sea conditions at the time were good with light winds and a moderate sea. The crew, who were not injured, were subsequently transferred to the RNLI Courtmacsherry lifeboat and brought ashore.

The MCIB report found the vessel was materially fit for purpose and in a stable condition immediately prior to the incident, and its condition was not a factor in the fire and sinking.

It says while the cause of the outbreak of the fire is “not known with any certainty”, it is “ reasonably deduced” that an unattended mobile phone or other similar electronic device which was being charged and/or an electronic device battery charger into a 240V AC circuit in the crew accommodation cabin may have been the source.

It says a time delay in fighting the fire caused by the failure of the smoke detector alarm on board allowed the blaze to take hold and spread before being spotted by the skipper when he returned to the wheelhouse.

It says that exposure of the flexible plastic hose components of the vessel’s machinery cooling systems to the fire in the engine room - allowing them to melt and lose their watertight integrity – allowed seawater in and the vessel sank.

The report says that had the fire detection system onboard the fishing vessel been “more in-line with the more stringent requirements of the International FSS Code which requires the fire detection system to include both audible and visual fault signals, the fire in the accommodation cabin would likely have been detected earlier”.

However, only audible smoke detector alarms were fitted as the Horizon was deemed an “existing vessel” in 2007 when a relevant statutory instrument on fire detection was promulgated.

The report says that two of the vessel’s crew did not have the required BIM safety training courses completed.

The report recommends that the Minister for Transport should prepare and issue a marine notice reminding owners, skippers, officers and crew members of fishing vessels of the requirement to have basic safety training in accordance with statutory instrument 587 of 2001.

A marine notice should also be issued ensuring that fire detection systems and alarms are regularly tested and maintained in an operational condition, it says.

This includes “guidance on the inspection and testing of fire detection systems onboard fishing vessels of 15–24 metres in length”.

The report also recommends Minister for Transport should amend the Irish Maritime Directorate Strategy 2021 – 2025 policy document in relation to specified aspects of maritime safety.

Published in MCIB

The Chairman of the Irish Fishing & Seafood Alliance has accused the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority of causing serious losses and the temporary closure of a processing factory in Killybegs.

The Danish fishing vessel MV Ruth, arrived to land 1,270 tonnes of blue whiting for local processing and export to Africa but left port with the fish still aboard.

“The SFPA today has hit a new low" said Cormac Burke, Chairman, Irish Fishing & Seafood Alliance. "The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority refused landing permission unless fish were 'de-watered' which would make them unfit for human consumption. “Rather than see this ridiculous waste of a perfectly good, and valuable, fish commodity, the Skipper of the Ruth took the decision to leave Killybegs with its catch still on board and head back to Denmark. Apparently, word has spread quickly and it looks likely that future landings by Danish vessels to Irish fish processors is in serious jeopardy. The lost quayside value of approximately €350,000 euros is only the tip of the iceberg of the damage created by the SFPA in today’s actions. The processing factory which should have had 80-odd staff working over the next four or five days is now closed and these factory workers have each lost a week’s wages - not to mention the buyers of the product in Africa who are now left without a shipment.

“Many local Killybegs net and engineering companies, rely on these visiting vessels for work at a time when the Irish fleet has already exhausted their mediocre blue whiting quota and have tied up - this avenue of business may now be lost permanently,” Mr Burke posted on the Fishing & Seafood Alliance Facebook Page.

“Blue whiting is often landed in Killybegs for the local fishmeal factory and although this is also going to produce important products such as meal and fish oil, the need for water retention is not as great as it would be for processing for human consumption.”

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tagged under

A 75-year old skipper may have become ill or got trapped in his own fishing vessel when finishing a day’s work close to the Donegal coast, according to the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB).

The MCIB report into the death of the skipper of the 9.2 m Teelin-based vessel Mirror of Justice on August 26th, 2020, says it would appear that this happened when the skipper was either beneath the wheelhouse floor or in the forepeak compartment as he was “not visible to a helicopter winchman”.

The Sligo-based Rescue 118 helicopter, the RNLI Arranmore Lifeboat, the Killybegs Coast Guard Delta RIB and shore crew, the Garda Síochána and a number of local vessels had been involved in the search for the skipper after his vessel was spotted drifting close to rocks west of Teelin Bay, Co Donegal.

The skipper was described as being a “fit, competent and experienced fisher, with a sound understanding of the risks involved in all fishing operations and who would have implemented appropriate contingency actions in the event of a breakdown or a distress situation”.

Due to an Atlantic swell, the vessel broke up on the rocks on which it grounded. Shortly afterwards the casualty was found floating nearby wearing flotation type oilskins but no personal flotation device (PFD).

The vessel fished for squid using rod and reel, west of Teelin Harbour, and had departed Cladnageragh at approximately 09.30 am, with an expected return time of about 8.30 pm.

The skipper had left a note for his wife to say he was going to “Green nose”, a fishing area between Slieve League and Rathlin O’Beirne, marked as “Giants-rump” on the chart, approximately 3.5 nautical miles (NM) west and along the coast from Teelin Bay.

The operation involves the use of several rods and reels and special types of lures called squid jigs. Squid are caught in areas with stony sea beds and finding an area where squid are present is a matter of trial and error or by using local knowledge. Any catch was to be sold to market.

The wreck of the FV Mirror of Justice Photo: MCIB reportThe wreck of the FV Mirror of Justice Photo: MCIB

Weather at the time was moderate occasionally fresh at first – Beaufort 4 or 5 (mean wind speed 15 – 20 knots) and occasional gusts up to 25 knots.

The winds gradually decreased during the period to light – Beaufort force 3 (mean wind speed 8 to 10 knots) by the end of the period. Wind direction was westerly and backed south-westerly later in the period.

At no time before or during the incident, were there any reports that the Skipper of the “FV Mirror of Justice” attempted to call for help either by VHF radio or by phone, which was found on his possession following recovery, the MCIB report says.

It also says he made no attempt to indicate distress with hand flares and there is also no evidence that he made any attempt to arrest the drift of the vessel by anchor or any other means.

The MCIB report recommends that the Irish Maritime Administration of the Department of Transport should intensify its efforts to promote maritime safety awareness.

It says this should be done “through a process of information and communication”, promoting “more effective communication between key stakeholders as detailed in the Maritime Safety Strategy”.

Published in MCIB

In the wake of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board report involving fire onboard the fishing vessel “MFV Suzanne II”, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has reminded vessel owners of their legal obligations when operating a vessel.

The reminder comes in the form of Marine Notice No. 18 of 2020,  to all 'Fishing Vessel Owners/Operators, Skippers, Fishers, and Seafarers' and follows an Incident involving the Fire and Total Loss of a Fishing Vessel in 2019. 

As Afloat reported in February, three fishing crew were saved by EPIRB after a fire alarm failed on the MFV Suzanne II in 2019.

Three crew on board the MFV Suzanne II had a fortunate escape, as their emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) activated, and gave their latitude and longitude.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) inquiry records that the three crew had set out from Arklow, Co Wicklow, in the early hours of May 2nd last year, and were working about 30 nautical miles east of the fishing port.

Weather conditions were good, and the three had taken a break when one of the crew noticed smoke coming from the engine room.

The 17-metre French-built timber vessel with aluminium shelter deck was built as a trawler but fitted with a pot hauler in 2018. The vessel had been surveyed and certified for fishing in July 2018.

The Skipper of every Fishing Vessel has overall responsibility for ensuring his/her crew know the location of firefighting equipment on the vessel and are instructed, trained and drilled in the use of such equipment, the notice says.

Download Marine Notice No. 18 of 2020 below.

Published in Marine Warning

The Irish Defence Forces, reports Journal.ie, have detained a fishing vessel off the coast of Dublin (yesterday) for allegedly breaching fishing regulations.

The vessel was stopped 20 nautical miles northeast of Howth in Co Dublin by the Naval Service Vessel LÉ George Bernard Shaw.

The boat was brought back to Howth where it was handed over to An Garda­ Sí­ochána.

This is the seventh vessel detained by the Naval Service so far in 2019, according to Defence Forces spokesperson.

“The Defence Forces conducts at sea fishery inspections in line with the service level agreement with the Sea Fishery Protection Authority, as part of its delivery of government services to the state,” they added.

Published in Navy

#NavalService- A fishing vessel has been detained by the Irish Naval Service off the coast of Mizen Head, Co. Cork in relation to “an alleged breach of fishing regulations”.

The vessel writes Independent.ie was detained by the Naval Service offshore patrol ship LÉ Samuel Beckett approximately 170 nautical miles west of Mizen Head, and is currently being escorted to Dingle in Co Kerry.

It is expected to arrive alongside LÉ Samuel Beckett tomorrow morning (today, 5 Dec) where it will be handed over to gardai on arrival.

For more on the detention click here.

Published in Navy

#RESCUE - The Evening Herald reports that a body recovered 14km off the coast of north Dublin on Sunday is believed to be that of a missing fisherman.

The grisly find was made by the fishing vessel Rath Eilte in the waters off Skerries. A post-mortem was set to be carried out yesterday to determine the cause of death.

Found fully clothed in black and yellow oilskins, the remains are thought to be those of a Ukrainian in his 30s, a crewman on the Kilkeel-registered Zenith who was reported missing some 14.5km off Clogherhead in Co Louth on 29 January.

Published in Rescue
Page 1 of 2

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