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Mairéad Ní Cheóinín has been appointed to Seafarers UK as the charity’s new Corporate Fundraising Manager where her focus will be on engaging with the commercial maritime sector.

Mairéad brings a wealth of business development, marketing experience and industry knowledge to the position from her previous roles, working with Steamship Mutual P&I, TradeWinds, Informa PLC in London and the Irish Maritime Development Office in Dublin.

Mairéad joins the grant-giving, campaigning and fundraising charity at an exciting time, as it celebrates its Centenary and is looking ahead to the next phase of its future. Her role will be to raise awareness of Seafarers UK’s wider impact within the maritime charity sector.

Seafarers UK aims to increase financial support for its charitable work through encouraging participation in corporate donations, employee fundraising, challenge events and payroll giving, as well as funding support for specific projects.

Last year Seafarers UK awarded £2.57 million in funding to 69 organisations and projects, helping more than 185,000 people in the process. For more information about Seafarers UK’s work or any of its fundraising or donation initiatives please visit www.seafarers.uk

Commenting on her appointment Mairéad Ní Cheóinín said ‘I am honoured to join Seafarers UK at this juncture. It is vitally important to maintain awareness within the maritime and fishing sectors of the contribution Seafarers UK has made and continues to protect and provide for the welfare of past, present and future seafarers. I am looking forward to promoting all the great work and initiatives Seafarers UK supports to our existing and new corporate partners and donors.’

Nigel Shattock, Seafarers UK’s Director of Fundraising & Communications, said ‘I am very pleased to be able to announce Mairéad’s appointment. The Seafarers UK team is looking forward to working with Mairéad in her role of reaching out to the wider maritime sector and asking firms and their staff to get to know our unique charity better, and to work with us in achieving our goals of helping seafarers in need, supporting maritime youth and in raising awareness of the opportunities that this fantastic sector has to offer.’

Published in Jobs

On my PODCAST this week I am dealing with three particular subjects – the Government’s lack of interest in the United Nations honouring of seafarers this Sunday; concern in coastal communities from where there are claims that senior officials in the Department of the Marine have threatened fishermen that another cut in the size of the Irish fishing fleet will be forced upon them, with or without their agreement – and water shortages on West of Ireland offshore islands caused, their community representative association claims, by a quarter-century of neglect of the needs of these communities to enable them to continue living on the islands.

The International Maritime Organisation, which is the United Nations body for the sea, of which Ireland is a member, has not listed Ireland as officially marking Sunday next, June 25, as INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE SEAFARER, with the theme “SEAFARERS MATTER.” It is to be hoped that there will be individual efforts to remember the seafarers but it is a poor example by the State that an island nation, dependent for 95 per cent of its exports and imports on ships, shipping and seafarers, cannot officially run at least one national day in the year to show appreciation for seafarers. We will be pleased at AFLOAT to hear of events anywhere around Ireland.

DAY OF THE SEAFARER

There is a lot of concern in coastal communities about the future of the fishing industry amid fears that the Government is trying to force through another reduction in the Irish fleet, by cutting the number of boats to satisfy EU pressure, which gives a vastly bigger entitlement to catch fish in Irish waters to the bigger EU nations than Irish boats can catch in our own waters. That’s an issue I took up with the Minster for the Marine, Michael Creed, when I asked him if the Government is giving enough priority to maritime matters.

You can hear his response on the PODCAST below: 

Published in Island Nation
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Businesses across Galway and the region are giving their support to SeaFest 2017, with festival activities extending from Galway Harbour to The Latin Quarter and Salthill.

SeaFest 2017 is Ireland's national maritime festival and will include a variety of marine-themed activities and attractions to celebrate the sea from 30 June to 2 July 2017.

Dr Peter Heffernan CEO of the Marine Institute said the involvement of businesses across Galway and the region is vital to the success of SeaFest 2017.

"The marine sector is of major value to the Irish economy and coastal communities and offers significant potential for growth. It is essential for businesses, organisations and communities connected with our ocean to be part of SeaFest," Dr Heffernan said.

For the first time, SeaFest will welcome the contribution of the Western Development Commission (WDC) to the 2017 event.

"The WDC are delighted with the opportunity to participate in SeaFest," said Ian Brannigan CEO of the WDC. "At SeaFest we are setting out to showcase businesses in the West of Ireland who take their inspiration from Ireland's ocean. Mr Brannigan said.

The Galway Chamber of Commerce will also support SeaFest 2017 by working with businesses across Galway, particularly The Latin Quarter Galway and Salthill, to develop a programme of activities.

"Salthill offers stunning views of Galway Bay, and is the ideal location to feature water sports and hold family-friendly activities along the shore," Dr Heffernan said. "SeaFest is also an opportunity to highlight the host of quality eateries in The Latin Quarter Galway, including some of the city's finest seafood restaurants serving locally sourced produce."

As well as the three-day festival, a range of industry events will be held as part of SeaFest 2017. National and international delegates will attend Our Ocean Wealth Summit on 30 June at NUI Galway. Digital Ocean: Ireland's Marine Engineering and Technology Conference and the Marine Industry Awards will take place on 29 June. A Marine Trade Show will also be held at NUI Galway on 29 and 30 June, to run in parallel with the Our Ocean Wealth Summit and Digital Ocean events.

SeaFest is co-ordinated by the Marine Institute, on behalf of the Marine Coordination Group.

Published in Maritime Festivals
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The President of the Nautical Institute, the worldwide representative organisation for maritime professionals has told its Irish branch that reality must be separated from the myths about shipping using Polar waters writes Tom MacSweeney.

Capt. David (Duke) Snider from Canada has written the Institute's book on ice navigation 'Polar Ship Operations'. He told Institute members at a meeting in the National Maritime College in Cork that the vast majority of operators in Polar waters had a lot of experience and were "long-term" players in the region.

It was a myth that "wild cowboys" of shipping were "roaring through the Arctic polluting and destroying the environment". He said that global climate change had opened up the Arctic. Change was visual and real.

The Polar Code has been introduced by the International Maritime Organisation. It did not have everything in it that everyone wanted but it was a start and more work was necessary and would be done on it.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The Marine Institute and IMERC have been presented with the International Maritime Partner award by the Maritime Alliance. The Irish marine science organisation received their award from San Diego-based non-profit industry association The Maritime Alliance (TMA) at the annual Blue Tech & Blue Economy Summit in San Diego (Wednesday 9th November).

The Marine Institute and IMERC were selected for this international award for their work in developing Ireland's marine technology cluster. The Entrepreneur Ship was recently launched as part of the IMERC cluster at their campus in Cork, providing space for companies in areas such as robotics, big data, biotechnology, power generation, cyber security, unmanned systems and power storage as they relate to our ocean and energy systems. The Marine Institute's National Marine Technology Programme and associated SmartOcean initiative promotes the development of high value products and services by creating a critical mass of research and development activities in marine information, communication and technology by developing a marine technology innovation cluster.

In addition to receiving the Award, Dr Edel O'Connor of the Marine Institute gave a keynote address on Ireland's national ocean economy strategy at the Blue Tech and Blue Economy Summit. This five day event brings together over 400 professionals, investors, educators, and government officials to collaborate on issues, engage in key topics and develop partnerships that promote BlueTech blue jobs.

Speaking about the award, Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute said:

"Ireland has been gaining a reputation in Europe, and internationally for its marine research and innovation, and for driving collaboration in this area. This award by the Maritime Alliance shows the high regard for the work we are doing in Ireland with our colleagues at IMERC to bring together marine innovators and create an environment that promotes collaboration to develop BlueTech solutions for a global market."

The award by the Maritime Alliance is the second award the Marine Institute has received for international collaboration in recent months. The Atlantic Project Award for International Cooperation was presented to Dr. Heffernan and Dr. Margaret Rae, Marine Institute for the Horizon 2020 funded Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Co-ordination and Support Action (AORA-CSA). Strategy, innovation, implementation, results and relevance to the Atlantic Strategy all formed part of the award criteria. Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries presented the award at the Atlantic Stakeholders Conference, Dublin, 7 September 16.

The Marine Institute is the lead partner in the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Co-ordination and Support Action project to implement the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean research cooperation. This initiative aims to promote better collaboration on research activities and sharing of marine data and ocean observation infrastructure and has already delivered results, particularly in Atlantic Ocean mapping, including the mapping of ocean transects between St. John's Newfoundland and Galway on Ireland's national research Vessel, Celtic Explorer in June last year and May this year.

Published in Marine Science
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An all-day Belfast–based conference this month entitled 'Our Maritime Heritage: Research, Resources and Restoration' is taking place at Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). The first 65 delegates to register here will receive a complimentary lunch. A keynote speaker is Afloat.ie correspondent Marcus Connaughton, the RTE presenter of Seascapes that is podcasted weekly on Afloat.ie.

The conference Thursday 20 October 2016 beginning at 9.30 am and running to 6.00 pm.

The conference explores national, local and individual responses to how we protect our maritime heritage.

This joint conference has been organised by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Titanic Foundation Limited, HMS Caroline, National Historic Ships UK, Gerry Brennan (Silvery Light Sailing) and Robin Masefield (author).

The conference explores national, local and individual responses to how we protect our maritime heritage.

Conference at PRONI: 9.30 am-4.15 pm
The conference will commence with a keynote address by Marcus Connaughton, presenter of RTÉ Radio 1’s maritime programme ‘Seascapes’, and Hannah Cunliffe, National Historic Ships UK. Speakers include Gerry Brennan on the Silvery Light project; Christopher Kenny on the schooner Result; Sean Patterson on the Newry Canal and Fishers’ Fleet, Kerrie Sweeney on the development and restoration work on the Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices; Dr Sally Montgomery on the history of Mew Island Lighthouse Optic and its restoration; and Desmond McCabe on maritime research in PRONI archives. Other topics will include the restoration of HMS Caroline, and obtaining project funding. The conference will conclude with an open panel discussion.

Lunch: SS Nomadic
Lunch will be provided on SS Nomadic for the first 65 delegates to register. Remaining delegates will be invited to make their own lunch arrangements.

HMS Caroline visit: 4.15 pm – 6.00 pm
Conclude the day with a visit to HMS Caroline (maximum 80 delegates).

You can see a link for the this event on Afloat's Marine marketplace here

Published in Historic Boats
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Maritime tourism operators featured at the 2016 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards announced at a ceremony yesterday in Dublin.

In the best for Natural Heritage Tourism category, a silver award went to Sea Synergy Marine Awareness & Activity Centre (Co. Kerry). The marine interpretive centre located in the heart of the coastal village Waterville displays interactive displays on Ireland's marine life, such as turtles, sharks, swordfish, bones from whales and dolphins.

In the best Innovation in Responsible Tourism, the Great Lighthouses of Ireland was another Silver award winner. The tourism initiative, is a new all-island tourism initiative, developed by the Commissioners of Irish Lights and features twelve lighthouses in breathtaking coastal locations. The project offers visitors from home and abroad the chance to visit or stay in a lighthouse, to find out about their history, to appreciate the spectacular natural world around them.

The awards are a response to demand from the Irish trade for a new type of awards showcasing the best in Irish responsible tourism. The 2016 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards aim to inspire replication, to excite media interest, to encourage competition and celebration from across the tourism industry on the island of Ireland.

The Irish Responsible Tourism Awards are part of a growing family of worldwide responsible tourism awards which are all linked to the World Responsible Tourism Awards, founded by responsibletravel.com. Winners of each of the categories will be longlisted for the World Responsible Tourism Awards - a great opportunity for the Irish trade to raise international awareness.

The shortlist for the awards, which attracted entries from almost every county in Ireland, was announced in early September following assessment by a panel of industry experts chaired by international responsible tourism expert Professor Harold Goodwin. The award categories and the winners of the Silver & Gold awards are:

Best for Natural Heritage Tourism
· GOLD: Doolin Cave (Co. Clare)

· SILVER: Burren Nature Sanctuary (Co. Galway)

· SILVER: Sea Synergy Marine Awareness & Activity Centre (Co. Kerry)

Best for Accessible & Inclusive Tourism
· GOLD: Gleneagle Hotel Group (Co. Kerry)

· SILVER: Mobility Mojo

Best Local Authority Initiative for Responsible Tourism
· GOLD: Lough Muckno - Monaghan County Council

· SILVER: Westport Smarter Travel Bike Buffet - Mayo County Council

Best Tourism Accommodation for Local Sourcing
· GOLD (joint): Sea View House (Co. Clare) and Fuchsia Lane Farm Holiday Cottages (Co. Tipperary)

· SILVER: Hotel Doolin (Co. Clare)

Best Destination for Responsible Tourism
· GOLD: Mulranny (Co. Mayo)

· SILVER: Inishbofin Island (Co. Galway)

· SILVER: Sheep’s Head Way (Co. Cork)

Best Innovation in Responsible Tourism
· GOLD: The Blackfriary Community Heritage and Archaeology Project (Co. Meath)

· SILVER: Great Lighthouses of Ireland

Overall Winner: Mulranny (Co. Mayo)

Judges for the awards include:

Catherine Mack (responsibletravel.com)
Kevin Griffin (DIT tourism lecturer and former-EDEN awards judge)
Paddy Mathews (Fáilte Ireland)
Annabel Fitzgerald (Irish Water & formerly Coastal Programmes Manager An Taisce)
Mark Henry (Central Marketing Director, Tourism Ireland)
Cyril McAree (Managing Director, Hotel & Restaurant Times)

Fáilte Ireland’s Head Investment & Innovation, Paddy Matthews said, “A more environmentally conscious and community-centred approach to developing tourism in Ireland is becoming more and more mainstream... and so it should. It results in more genuine and authentic experiences for all our visitors.”

The awards took place at the 3nd Irish Responsible Tourism Conference organised by the Irish Centre for Responsible Tourism. The Irish Centre for Responsible Tourism was established in 2013 to promote responsible tourism on the island of Ireland

Published in Aquatic Tourism
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Get ready for a carnival of maritime culture at this year’s Cork Harbour Festival, 4th-12th of June. Now in its second year, the festival presents a fresh perspective on everything the Harbour has to offer through a programme of over 50 unique and fun-filled events.

The festival begins with the Ocean to City – An Rás Mór on Saturday June 4th. This year marks the 12th edition of this iconic race, which sees over 150 hardy crews take to the water for the gruelling 28km route from Roche’s Point to Cork’s city centre. As a premier event in Irish and international rowing, the Ocean to City attracts crews from all over Europe. The race features over 30 different types of craft, from traditional Irish currachs, to Chinese dragon boats and stand-up paddle boards! Spectators can soak up the colour and festivities in many places along the race route, including Cobh, Monkstown, Passage West and Blackrock. Follow the race route by bike with the Harbour Pedal, bring a picnic to Passage, or enjoy thrilling acrobatics from Funky Fidelma and street performers at the finish line. Mingle with the many crews and treat yourself to a range of foodie delights at the festival market.

Cork Harbour Open Day on June 5th offers kayaking, surfing and coasteering tasters in East Cork, family adventure in Spike Island, crab fishing fun in Cobh, and historical re-enactments at Camden Fort Meagher. Turn a weekend stroll into a bird watching walk, get behind the scenes of the Irish Navy with a naval ship tour, or discover the work of ocean energy researchers at the MaREI Centre, Ringaskiddy.

Festival week continues to push the boat out, with event highlights including:
· Rocket Man’s Paddling Pantry: Jack Crotty a.k.a. The Rocket Man mixes his love of good food and fresh flavours with a kayaking adventure. Circumnavigate the city channels and enjoy Cork’s built heritage while being treated to a tasty lunch!

· River Runner and Green Drinks: The Opera House plays host to this moving documentary portrait of the River Lee from source to sea. The film uncovers the secrets of its oldest inhabitant, the Wild Atlantic Salmon, and the river’s unique forest delta, known locally as the Gearagh. The film is followed by Cork Environmental Forum’s ‘Green Drinks’, a chance to meet and chat with local and national environmental organisations.

· Morgenster Tall Ship: Visit the Dutch sail training ship ‘Morgenster’ during her stay in the city. The Morgenster will be docked in Cork on June 11th and Cobh June 12th.

· Lunchtime Lectures: The festival teams up with UCC’s History Department to bring an engaging series of mid-day lectures at St. Peter’s Church. Learn about the history of the Bordeaux wine trade with Ireland, the Hapsburg’s visit to Ireland in 1518, and the story of the Royal Navy during the 1916 Rising.

· Festival Cruise: Enjoy a summer’s evening cruise through Cork Harbour before mooring up for a tasty meal in Crosshaven

· Boats and Bites: The festival’s midweek celebration of boats and the freshest bites will include a seafood market and free taster sessions aboard a currach, dragon boat, powerboat and more!

· Night-time Kayak: A unique opportunity to paddle the city by night and explore Cork from a whole new angle.

· SUPing in the City: Dip your toes in with kayaking and Stand-Up Paddle Boarding taster sessions at the Lee Fields in Cork City.

Cork Harbour Festival aims to bridge the distance from city to sea through a programme that encourages people to discover the region. Festival Director Donagh MacArtain says, “The festival highlights the importance of the River Lee and Cork Harbour as a natural and cultural resource, and celebrates the communities and organisations at the heart of it. This year’s programme has something for everyone, whether you like to get active and get outdoors, are a regular or first time ‘boatie’, want fresh ways to enjoy some fun with the family, or want to soak up the harbour’s history and folklore.’’
Cork Harbour Festival is organised by Meitheal Mara, the community boatyard, training centre and charity located in the heart of Cork City. The Festival is sponsored by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, Failte Ireland and MaREI, and made possible with the help of dozens of Event Partners and hundreds of volunteers.

Published in Cork Harbour

At the 2016 Irish Logistics and Transport Award ceremony, the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) were, for the third year in succession, recognised for their excellence in educational programmes, and were awarded the prestigious Education award for their Bachelor of Business degree in Supply Chain Management. This annual gala event in Dublin, attended by over five hundred delegate representatives from the supply chain and logistics management sector, gathered to celebrate the best of what their industry has to offer. Jane O’Keeffe, course director of Supply Chain, proudly collected the award on behalf of the NMCI.

NMCI is a constituent college of Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and focuses on both maritime and non-maritime industry sectors, and offers customised education and training programmes to meet individual requirements. The Bachelor of Business in Supply Chain Management degree programme is designed to support industry requirements, and for those with experience in logistics and supply chain management, who wish to further their career prospects.
This unique programme, in its ninth year, builds upon the students’ experiential knowledge and provides grounding in a wide and diverse range of disciplines. To date graduates have experienced excellent employment and career progression opportunities in both indigenous and multi-national organisations. The programme has been so successful within the logistics and supply chain industry nationally, that it is proposed to incorporate modules in logistics and supply chain into the bachelor degrees in Nautical Science, Marine Engineering and Marine Electro-technology at the NMCI. This is in keeping with the current best practice throughout the Maritime colleges in Europe and globally. Currently the Supply Chain degree programme is being developed as Level 8 offering through the CAO system.

The Government Future Skills Needs publication in 2015 highlighted Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics (FTDL) sector in Ireland as a significant growth area for the period 2015-2020, and programmes such as those on offer at the NMCI are currently seen to address the opportunities highlighted at middle management level within the sector. A review of the skills gap in Ireland concurred with international best practice in identifying common skills development and talent attraction issues. The NMCI is appropriately positioned to support logistics and supply chain education and job creation, as in excess of 90% of global trade by volume is transported by sea. This is an indication of the importance of logistics to the maritime industry and of even greater importance to Ireland where 98% of trade by volume comes through its seaports. The NMCI facility, which embraces advanced technologies including simulation in its programmes, is ready to meet the growing demand in best in class logistics and supply chain education and training.

Published in Jobs

Maritime spatial planning for Ireland takes a step closer this year thanks to an EU directive first adopted in 2014. The directive obliges all coastal Member States to establish maritime spatial plans by 2021. Member States, including Ireland, must transpose the Directive into national law by 18th September 2016. The Goverment is seeking submissions but the deadline is less than a month away.

Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is a new way of looking at how we use the marine area and planning how best to use it into the future. Marine industry activists have long argued the lack of ability to licence the oceans that surround us has been the biggest obstable to developing the 'blue economy' for Ireland.

MSP will try to balance the different demands for using the sea including the need to protect the marine environment. It's about planning when and where human activities take place at sea. It’s about ensuring these activities are as efficient and sustainable as possible. Maritime spatial planning involves stakeholders in a transparent way in the planning of maritime activities. 

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has drafted regulations intended for Irish law and it is inviting submissions on the draft regulations. To assist the Dept has prepared a guidance document showing the relationship between the articles of the Directive and the regulations. More details here

The closing date for submissions is 5.30pm on Friday, 6 May 2016

Draft regulations are attached below

Meanwhile, the sixth conference of the MSP stakeholder series, focusing on MSP Worldwide has been postponed. The conference is now confirmed to be held on 23 - 24 June 2016 at the University of the Azores, Ponta Delgada, Azores.

According to the organisers, the conference will present experiences, opportunities and challenges of MSP implementation around the world. In particular it will look at how MSP can advance Blue Growth world-wide, its potential to promote climate change solutions, as well as at the role of area-based management regimes in international waters. The main purpose is to take stock of what is being done at international level and identify potential synergies as well as possible contributions from European MSP processes.

Published in News Update
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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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