Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: pollution

The new National Maritime Oil & HNS Spill Contingency Plan (NMOSCP) will establish “a national framework and strategy to co-ordinate marine pollution preparedness and response”, according to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Published yesterday (Friday 26 June), the plan aims to address all oil and HNS (hazardous and noxious substances) pollution in the waters of Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone, whether it originates from ships, harbours, offshore units, oil/HNS handling facilities or land-based sources.

An “essential feature” of the plan is co-ordination between the Irish Coast Guard and relevant Government and non-State bodies, and it provides “a platform to co-ordinate responses in the context of the Major Emergency Management Framework and separately under the Strategic Emergency Management National Structures and Framework”.

The department adds that the NMOSCP “will address Ireland’s obligation under international convention in respect to preparedness and response to maritime pollution incidents”, and will provide the coastguard with a benchmark for best international practice.

The contingency plan is available to download below, while various standard operating procedures can be found on gov.ie HERE.

Published in News Update

It started in August last year when Northern Ireland man Jon Medlow noticed the amount of rubbish floating downstream while kayaking in the River Bann near Portadown.

Just a few months later, as BBC News reports, and he’s removed almost 9,000 bottles from the waterway — besides hundreds of discarded footballs, and enough refuse to fill close to 70 bin bags.

The sheer amount of waste even prompted Medlow to purchase a dinghy which he tows behind his kayak to carry the rubbish he collects — and his one-man initiative has now won support from the local council.

BBC News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Kayaking
Tagged under

An Irish sailor and visual artist will join next month’s leg of an all-female sailing voyage that’s carrying out important research into the devastating impact of ocean plastic.

Claire McCluskey was a relative novice to sailing when in 2016 she and her partner took part in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), the first of two transatlantic voyages she has under her belt.

Now she’s preparing to set out to sea once again, as she has been chosen from over 10,000 applicants to join the crew of eXXpedition Round The World 2019-2020.

The pioneering all-female sailing voyage and scientific research mission is circumnavigating the globe via four ocean gyres and the Arctic.

And Claire is one of 300 women to join the crew over the voyage’s 30 legs over more than 38,000 nautical miles, studying microplastic and toxins in our oceans.

In February and March, Claire will join Leg 7 of the eXXpedition mission to sail 2,000nm from the Galapagos to Easter Island, gathering samples en route from the South Pacific Gyre — a major plastic accumulation zone.

She will be part of an interdisciplinary team which, in addition to assisting with scientific research at sea, will bring together their unique expertise to think of new ways to tackle the problem of plastic pollution.

As a visual artist, this experience will contribute to Claire’s research into our relationship with the ocean, and will inform a new body of work on her return to Ireland. She will also be writing updates and blog posts for the duration of the four-week voyage.

You can Claire’s participation in the eXXpedition voyage via her GoFundMe fundraiser — for which she is also organising a table quiz next Tuesday 4 February from 7.30pm at Bloody Mary’s on South William St in Dublin — and find out more about the Pacific islands leg HERE.

Published in Marine Science

A court has heard that Malahide Marina was flooded with enough sewage to fill more than two Olympic-size swimming pools in a pollution incident last year, as TheJournal.ie reports.

Irish Water pleaded guilty to offences under the Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations 2007 following the malfunction of a treatment plant in the north Co Dublin town on 28 April 2018.

The company was fined €1,500 and ordered to pay €850 for expenses and €5,000 towards legal costs.

Brendan Kissane, inspector for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which brought the case, told the court that the incident occurred after one of the plant’s three pumps had been removed, and the other two failed four days later on a day when the facility was not staffed full-time.

This resulted in raw sewage overflowing from tanks in the facility into the nearby marina.

It was also heard that the pump failure was not detected until the day after the pollution incident, a Sunday, and the pollution continued until a temporary pump was installed the following day.

TheJournal.ie has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Irish Marinas

Marine Minister Michael Creed has welcomed the increase in trawlers and other fishing boats now signed up to Ireland’s Clean Oceans Initiative.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the initiative involves fishermen storing and returning to land marine plastics that come up in their nets daily as they fish, thereby removing this pollution from the marine environment.

The minister launched the Clean Oceans Initiative in January this year at Union Hall, setting a very ambitious target for the participation of the entire Irish trawl fishing fleet in the scheme by 31 December.

To date, 168 trawlers and 56 other fishing boats have signed up with 12 ports registered and involved in the initiative.

“It is heartening to see the numbers that have come on board and that we are now at 70% participation. I would like to thank every boat owner who has joined up,” said the minister.

“We need to get every single trawler on-board for this. This is good for the fishing industry and good for the environment.”

He added: “I’m delighted that the fisheries producer organisations endorsed this initiative and are encouraging their members to sign up and get involved.”

Protecting our oceans is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

By the end of the third quarter this year, approximately 70 tonnes of marine plastic waste had been collected from 12 of Ireland’s busiest fishing ports and 25.5 tonnes of used fishing nets have been collected for recycling by Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s (BIM) mobile shredder, the ‘Green Machine’.

Minister Creed expressed his thanks to BIM and to those leading the early brigade: “I must commend all those currently involved in the Clean Ocean’s Initiative being run by BIM and the longstanding commitment many in the fishing industry have to bringing ashore plastic waste from the sea.

“I look forward to seeing 100% participation by our trawling fleet by the end of this year.”

Applicants are advised to sign up on the BIM website or by contacting BIM directly at 01 214 4100.

Published in Fishing

Plastic fibres released during construction on the Dun Laoghaire baths site last year have again washed up on nearby beaches, as The Irish Times reports.

The plastic shards were washed into the water during a concrete pour at the development last November, prompting a safety advisory for swimmers and beach-goers between the West Pier and the Forty Foot.

A clean-up operation was launched at the time which recovered 50kg of the 70kg of plastic strands released.

Now a volunteer clean-up group says some of the unrecovered plastic reappeared at Sandycove on Thursday ahead of Storm Lorenzo.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has prosecuted three businesses and landowners in the Lough Sheelin and River Camlin catchments between May and September 2019, for the discharge of harmful substances to nearby watercourses.

In June, Kiernan Milling of Granard, Co Longford was convicted in Longford District Court for the discharge of effluent to the River Camlin catchment.

Judge Hughes ordered the payment of €2,441.65 in fines and costs, for breaches under the 1959 Fisheries Consolidation Act.

On 23 July, in Virginia District Court, Mr Patrick Kiernan was convicted and ordered to pay €2,900 in fines and costs, for the discharge of effluent to the Kildorragh River in the Lough Sheelin catchment.

A third conviction was secured by IFI in Virginia District Court in September 2019.

Mr John Lynch, Mountnugent, Co Cavan was ordered to pay €2,500 in fines and costs for allowing the discharge of deleterious matter into the Schoolhouse River, also part of the Lough Sheelin catchment.

In a fourth case in May 2019 at Longford District Court, Judge Hughes disposed of a prosecution by IFI against Mr Derek Moorehead in relation to discharges to a tributary of the Camlin River and ordered Mr Moorehead to pay €500 to a wildlife charity.

Lough Sheelin is a well-known wild brown trout fishery in the Great Western Lakes and one of the most important brown trout angling locations in Ireland, while the River Camlin is an important spawning and nursery location for Lough Ree brown trout.

Amanda Mooney, director of the Shannon River Basin District, said: “Pollution events in the spawning and nursery tributaries along these catchments can threaten indigenous fish populations. The maintenance of the aquatic habitat is vital if we are to sustain and enable wild fish populations to thrive.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland is working to protect and conserve this natural resource to ensure its sustainability into the long term.

“Angling for brown trout in lakes in the Inny catchment and Lough Ree generates important economic activity for rural communities and any impact on fish populations in the area may also have negative impact in this regard.”

Published in Angling

North Cork Creameries Co-operative Ltd pleaded guilty on two charges in relation to a pollution incident on the Allow River in Co Cork last year at a sitting of Mallow District Court on Tuesday 17 September.

The charges followed an investigation by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in relation to a milk spillage into the river at Kanturk during August 2018.

The court heard that the incident occurred during a tanker loading process at the company’s production facility in Kanturk, which then discharged to the river.

Judge Brian Sheridan granted probation after hearing evidence that the defendant company had made a significant investment to upgrade their facilities in recent years and that a conviction would have a detrimental effect on the company’s wellbeing.

The court awarded €2,654 for costs and expenses to IFI and ordered the co-op to make a payment of €7,500 to the local angling club.

North Cork Creameries Co-operative was previously prosecuted by IFI in the Circuit Court in 2012 for similar offences, and it also received the benefit of the Probation Act in the District Court in 2018 following a prosecution by Cork County Council under the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act.

Commenting on the case, IFI senior fisheries environmental officer Andrew Gillespie said: “Protection of fish stocks is vital to maintaining an extremely valuable natural resource for the benefit of local and tourist anglers alike.

“The River Allow and its tributaries are a prized recreational angling resource with much of the catchment soon to benefit from the locally managed and Government-funded Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot Catchments project.

“The project aims to improve the river water quality and biodiversity via the implementation of beneficial measures by farmers and landowners.”

Published in Inland Waterways

Wastewater overflows from Ringsend’s over-capacity treatment plant have made algal blooms in Dublin Bay much more likely, says one marine expert.

Speaking to The Green News, Karin Dubsky of Coastwatch Ireland said overflows from Ringsend which have occurred after heavy rainfalls provide the right nutrient-rich environment for algae to prosper.

Afloat.ie readers will remember the ‘orange slick’ seen on south Dublin beaches this past summer — and this past week the Shelly Banks adjacent to the Ringsend plant was blanketed in rotting seaweed many mistook for raw sewage.

But capacity issues at Ringsend are only one facet of the the problem, according to Dubsky.

“It’s not just one big Ringsend discharge as the treatment plant is struggling, it’s all those smaller stormwater overflows mixed with sewage water which are discharging right at high watermark onto the shore,” she said.

The Green News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay

RTÉ News reports that a major angling competition set for Athlone yesterday (Friday 16 August) was cancelled over the recent oil spillage in the River Shannon near the town.

Westmeath County Council has been investigating the pollution incident on the important waterway since earlier this week, as previously noted on Afloat.ie, but have not yet identified its source.

While efforts were made to contain the spill on the Al River, a tributary of the Shannon, locals say the slick has now spread to the old canal in Athlone town.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under
Page 1 of 11

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating