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Displaying items by tag: minke whale

#MarineWildlife - Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has warned the public to stay away from the carcass of a minke whale that has washed up on Killiney Beach.

According to TheJournal.ie, the carcass of the 13m female minke whale was seen floating off Greystones yesterday and Shankill earlier today (Friday 19 August).

In what's an unusual occurrence for the East Coast, the carcass has washed up on a rocky stretch made even more treacherous by high spring tides – and it may also pose a risk of infection to curious beachgoers.

Published in Marine Wildlife

It seems to me that, without dedicated volunteers, there would be a lot of work not done in the marine sphere, so I like when possible, to highlight what dedicated people are doing. Publicity can help them to raise funding they need by drawing public attention to what they ae doing and achieving support. So in the current edition of THIS ISLAND NATION, the Whale and Dolphin Group takes us on an aerial survey over the Kerry coast as they survey whales in Irish waters.

MINKE WHALE SEVENHEADS

Minke Whale Pictured Off Seven Heads Photo by Oisin Macsweeney

Years ago we would never have thought that whales would be seen off Ireland, but it has happened and this Summer when sailing along the West Cork coastline off the Seven Heads two minke whales came within a few hundred yards of my Sigma 33, Scribbler II. My 11-year-old grandson, Oisin, was quickest to fetch a camera from the saloon and get a picture. The excitement of seeing whales so close was huge for him, his younger brother of 9 years, Rowan, even their experienced seafarer father, Cormac and myself. The sight of whales, which followed on dolphins playing around the boat for a while, was a reminder of how the sea has many aspects and that protecting it and its inhabitants is a responsibility on all of us. Later in the week’s cruise, for which we were blessed with one of the best weeks of the season, the sight of plastic debris floating along and sea grass despoiling the lovely village environs of Courtmacsherry, was another reminder – of how humans are damaging the marine environment.
Also in the programme this week we hear about the plans by Waterways Ireland for the years ahead and the valuable marine reserve asset which Bull Island in Dublin Bay is for the capital city. What is impressive about what is happening there, in my view, is the joint community and public authority efforts to protect it, about which Dublin Council tells us, outlining what combined, joint effort at this level through communities can achieve.
And I hope you’ll get a smile from the tale which Valentia Island native, Dick Robinson, tells us about going to school every day to the mainland, journeying across the bay on the island ferries and how there was learning, not only at school but also aboard and what it taught youngsters about the benefits, believe it or not, of storms hitting the island.

“We were invited into schools in the North Wall and while all the children had grandparents who were dockers, not one of them knew what a docker was, because all of that tradition is gone….”
Amidst the current controversy over where Dublin Port and Dun Laoghaire Harbour will dump what they intend to dredge up in their plans to provide deeper access channels for the larger cruise ships which they both covet and which business they are fighting for, that comment, made to me on the edge of Dublin Bay by a man dedicated to preserving the maritime traditions of the port, should give cause for thought about where all the commercial development has taken the communities which once bounded in Dublin Port and lived from the jobs it provided.
Alan Martin of the Dublin Dock Workers’ Preservation Society was speaking to me, as we sat on the edge of Dublin Bay, for the current edition of my maritime programme, THIS ISLAND NATION. We could hear the sound of seagulls wheeling in the sky, the rumble of noise emanating from the docks, ships passed in and out, as we talked and he had a reality check for me. He told me that 40,000 jobs have gone from the capital’s port since the time when dock labour sustained viable communities.
“Why do the people of Dublin seem to know so little about the place of the docks in the history of Liffeyside and how their role was once the heart-and-soul of Dublin Port, its shipping and its commerce?”
There are many voluntary organisations doing great work in the marine sphere, without whom much of the maritime culture, history and tradition would be lost. The Dublin Port and Dock Workers’ Preservation Society, set up to preserve the history of Dublin Port, is definitely one such. The interview Alan Martin gave me is revealing. They have encountered many obstacles in their self-imposed task.
He surprised me with his revelations about the extent of the maritime-associated jobs that have been lost and the port-side communities which have suffered in the drive towards modernity. He made strong points about how Dublin’s marine traditions can be preserved and turned into a modern, vibrant, beneficial culture for the benefit of the city.
This offers a bridge from the past to the future, effectively a conveyance of pride in past experience to benefit modern life. Other port communities could, with benefit, replicate the commitment of the Dublin Dock Workers’ Preservation Society.
It was an interview I enjoyed doing and I think you will enjoy listening to. I am fortunate to work as a marine journalist and to meet exceptional people in the ports and maritime communities. So it is good to report in this programme, a positive attitude amongst young people in coastal areas, many of whom are joining the lifeboat service. Also featured in this edition of the programme is the delight of a coastal town when it gets a new lifeboat, as I found in Youghal in East Cork.
And there is always something interesting and unusual about the sea to report, such as the 467 million years old sea scorpion found in a river in Iowa in the USA.

Listen to the programme by clicking at the top of the page

Published in Island Nation

#MarineWildlife - A minke whale calf has died after beaching on the shore of Lough Foyle near Limavady last week, as BBC News reports.

The whale, thought to be just three months old, was first spotted by locals washed up on the beach in Myroe on Friday 29 May and was encouraged back into the sea, but was later found deceased in an emaciated condition on Tuesday 2 June.

"We assessed the situation and noted that the animal was an unweaned calf about three months old and apparently separated from its mother," said a spokesperson for Norther Ireland's Department of Environment, which has since removed the carcass.

"The calf was severely malnourished and had suffered extensive injuries during its several standings."

The spokesperson confirmed that there is no correlation between this stranding and the recent mass stranding of pilot whales off the Isle of Skye in western Scotland.

According to the Irish Examiner, nine were lost from the group of 21 whales that beached at Staffin in the north east of the Inner Hebridean island on Tuesday 2 June.

The incident is the worst since 16 pilot whales died after stranding near St Andrews in September 2012.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - A minke whale who beached along a river far upstream from Kenmare has been rescued thanks to the timely response of locals.

As RTÉ News reports, it's believed that the whale - found some 3km from the Kerry coastal town along the River Roughty – is the deepest inland such marine wildlife has ever been found in Ireland.

Two local boats guided the lone whale back towards the sea after tireless effort by community volunteers to keep it alive out of the water during low tide.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The carcass of a female common minke whale found on a beach in Norfolk on Monday marks the third such discovery on Britain's coasts in a week, as The Guardian reports.

The grim discovery at Sea Palling follows a similar beaching of a larger 7.6m long female minke in nearby Cromer East just four days before.

And as reported on Afloat.ie, a nine-metre minke was found dead on the beach at Magilligan Point in Co Derry last week - itself the third whale standing in Northern Ireland since September.

The Sea Palling whale, believed to have washed up on the beach dead, was found by North Norfolk council staff with a hole in its jaw and abrasions on its body, but according to Sea Watch Foundation was "well-fed and otherwise healthy".

A post-mortem was set to be carried out yesterday (26 November) to determine if the stranding provides any cause for concern for minke whales who come to British and Irish shores in big numbers over the winter months.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - BBC News reports on the sad story of a nine-metre long minke whale found dead on the beach at Magilligan Point in Derry.

According to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) Pádraig Whooley, minke whales have been "reported with increased frequency off the Antrim and Down coast" and there have been sightings in he past week off Donegal.

The incident marks the third whale stranding on the Northern Irish coast since September, when two died after beaching in North Antrim.

In more positive marine wildlife news, a loggerhead turtles is being cared for at the Galway Atlantaquarium after stranding in a bad condition in Co Clare during the week.

The Irish Independent reports that the turtle, named Leon after the famous Quilty shipwreck, was recovered after a local woman alerted marine wildlife experts.

“You might see a loggerhead turtle wash up every couple or three years but not very often at all," said Dr Simon Berrow of the IWDG, who said the turtle may need several months' rehab before its fit to return to the wild.

That's an issue that presents its own challenges due to its smaller size and distance from its usual tropical waters.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Experts at the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) have been puzzled by a rare photo of a minke whale breaching in the Irish Sea, as the Larne Times reports.

Minke whales are a regular visitor to these shores, but are not known to breach in Irish waters.

But RIB skipper Peter Christian has convinced at least one knowledgeable colleague that the eight-metre whale he snapped breaching some eight or nine times while en route from the Isle of Man to Islandmagee is the real McCoy.

Peter Steele of boat owner North Irish Diver Ltd pointed to a distinctive white patch on its pectoral fin as proof.

“It is rare for minke whales to be caught breaching in these waters, as they are normally much more sedate,” he said.

The Larne Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Conor McGuire and friends were taken by surprise when they came across a stranded minke whale in Clew Bay, Co Mayo - but thankfully this whale of a tale had a happy outcome.

As the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reports, the group of friends videoed the scene as the 4-5m young minke whale attempted to free itself from the shingle at the edge of the shore.

The IWDG commented: "Sometimes it is hard to avoid the temptation to jump in and get involved in coaxing the cetacean back into deeper water.

"But hats off to Conor and friends, who quite rightly gave the whale as much time as it needed to correct the situation."

According to the IWDG, such stranding often end in tragedy "as the animal becomes disorientated and stressed, so this record is particularly unusual."

The group also noted "with interest" that the event occurred just before the biggest earthquake ever recorded in the North West region.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the epicentre of the magnitude 4 quake was close to the Corrib Gas Field off Co Mayo.

The IWDG said it will be closely watching the region "to see if there is any spike in unusual stranding events that may be linked to this seismic activity".

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - A minke whale died shortly after washing ashore in what was a rare stranding on Achill Island last week, according to Mayo News.

The whale, reportedly and eight-metre adult male, was discovered beached on Keel beach last Tuesday 17 April, It was the first recorded stranding of a whale on Achill Island in over 20 years.

It was followed by reports of a second whale stranded on Annagh Strand on the north side of the island, though full details are unclear as the tide returned the animal to the sea.

“We can’t say why the whale came ashore or how it died,” said Orla Calvel of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). “It was not an old whale, as it was very clean – older whales would have barnacles on them."

The IWDG retrieved a tissue sample from the carcass for DNA purposes to record the stranding.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Rescuers were sadly unable to save an 18ft juvenile minke whale found stranded at Blackwater Pier, near Kenmare, Co Kerry last Friday.
The Irish Independent reports that despite the best efforts of local people and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to refloat the whale, the call was made to put it to sleep.
"It was so long out of the water it was pointless to try to refloat it as its internal organs would have been damaged," said local ranger Michael O'Sullivan.
The tragedy - the latest in an increasing number of strandings in the UK and Ireland - brought out more than 100 local residents to pay their respects at Blackwater Pier, a popular fishing spot.

Kenmare is no stranger to animal wildlife but rescuers were sadly unable to save an 18ft juvenile minke whale found stranded at Blackwater Pier, near Kenmare, Co Kerry last Friday.

The Irish Independent reports that despite the best efforts of local people and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to refloat the whale, the call was made to put it to sleep.

"It was so long out of the water it was pointless to try to refloat it as its internal organs would have been damaged," said local ranger Michael O'Sullivan.

The tragedy - the latest in an increasing number of strandings in the UK and Ireland - brought out more than 100 local residents to pay their respects at Blackwater Pier, a popular fishing spot.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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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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