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Displaying items by tag: Galway Harbour

An investigation into the death of a Galway fisherman who became entangled in gear off Salthill last year has found the weather deteriorated “significantly” after the vessel which he fished with his father left the harbour.

Tom Oliver (37), a relative of the Olivers who rescued two paddleboarders in Galway Bay in August 2020, died after he was dragged over the stern of the six-metre fishing vessel Myia on November 2nd 2020.

His father Martin, who was almost 62, was found dead at home the following morning.

After the incident, the then Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard paid tribute to the two men as “salt of the earth” and “the best of friends”.

Cubbard noted that it was only a few weeks since he had recognised the role of their relatives, Patrick and Morgan Oliver, in rescuing paddleboarders Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn after 15 hours at sea.

Several generations of the Oliver family have been associated with the RNLI lifeboat service, and members of the RNLI and the fishing communities along the coast and on the Aran Islands were among hundreds who attended the funeral of the father and son.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report into the incident said that “violent movements” generated by the worsening sea conditions while feeding out shrimp pots may have been a contributory factor.

The use of a mobile phone to generate a distress call, instead of a Mayday call over VHF radio, “added some delay, however short, in the alert of the emergency services”, the report found.

The report said a Mayday call over VHF radio would have been picked up immediately by Valentia Coast Guard, leading to immediate activation of the lifeboat crew pagers.

It said that activation of a personal locator beacon, which can be fitted to a PFD or lifejacket, would also have triggered an instant distress call.

It said the casualty was not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) or lifejacket while operating on an open deck in hazardous conditions.

“Wearing a suitably specified and fitted PFD would have greatly improved his chances of survival,” the report stated.

The report noted that the crew were very experienced at potting in the Galway Bay area, and had been working on the twin-hulled vessel FV Myia for ten years, fishing lobster in summer and shrimp during the winter.

The report said that the weather “deteriorated considerably between the time the vessel left the harbour at midday on November 2nd, 2020, and the time of the incident.

“As seen in the Met Éireann weather report at the time of the incident there were near gale force winds, heavy rainfall, and rough seas,” it said.

“ These conditions were extremely challenging for a vessel of this size and construction and would have led to violent movements,” it said.

It noted that there are no manufacturers recommendations on the operational limitations of this type of vessel, and the manufacturing company is no longer in existence.

The report recalled that at approximately 1.30 pm, the men were resetting a train of pots when Tom Oliver got entangled in rope attached to the train of pots.

“ The weight of the train of pots combined with the forward motion of the vessel quickly pulled him overboard and under the water,” it said.

The Galway RNLI lifeboat operations manager was contacted by mobile phone, and he requested activation of pagers for an immediate launch of the inshore lifeboat.

It arrived quickly on the scene, and the lifeboat crew found the casualty caught in ropes and unconscious in the water.

The lifeboat crew got the casualty on board and immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It requested an ambulance, which met it at the lifeboat station.

Tom Oliver was brought to Galway University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The lifeboat then launched again to escort the fishing vessel Myia back to the harbour.

The MCIB recommends that the Minister for Transport should issue marine notices reminding fishing crew of the obligation to wear a PFD while working on open decks, and of the dangers associated with snagging in gear while setting trains of pots.

It also recommends that the minister issue marine notices to encourage use of VHF radio for distress calls, to point out the limitations of mobile phones for this purpose, and to advise fishers to know the limitations of vessels and to be aware always of weather forecasts before going to sea.

Published in MCIB

There’s rarely a weekend when there isn’t some activity in and around Galway’s Claddagh basin. Earlier last month, the Galway Hooker Sailing Club and Port of Galway Sea Scouts launched the 96-year old gleoiteog, Loveen, which was refurbished during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Late last month, Badóirí an Chladaigh flew a Brazilian flag from bad mór Naomh Cronán in tribute to Paulo Sergio Soares de Paixo, one of their volunteers who died at the age of 52 after taking ill far from home.

One man who knows everything there is to know about the Claddagh is Tommy Holohan. On a recent low tide walk out from Nimmo’s pier, he took Wavelengths to see the remains of a ship named the Nordlyset, a 1,600 ton steel barque carrying a cargo of deal in November 1914 which was wrecked off Mutton island.

Tommy Holohan (front) and Ger Jackson, examining the remains of the Nordlyset , a 1600 ton steel barque carrying a cargo of deal in November 1914 which was wrecked off Mutton island. Both Tommy and Ger believe the anchor, buried somewhere deep in the sand off Galway's Swamp, should be retrieved as part of the city's maritime history.(Above and below) Tommy Holohan (front) and Ger Jackson, examining the remains of the Nordlyset , a 1600 ton steel barque carrying a cargo of deal in November 1914 which was wrecked off Mutton island. Both Tommy and Ger believe the anchor, buried somewhere deep in the sand off Galway's Swamp, should be retrieved as part of the city's maritime history. Photos Joe O'Shaughnessy

Tommy Holohan and Ger Jackson, examining the remains of the Nordlyset , a 1600 ton steel barque carrying a cargo of deal in November 1914 which was wrecked off Mutton island. Both Tommy and Ger believe the anchor, buried somewhere deep in the sand off Galway's Swamp, should be retrieved as part of the city's maritime history.

Holohan and his friend Ger Jackson believe the anchor is buried somewhere nearby deep in the sand, and that it should be retrieved as part of Galway’s maritime history. There’s also a James Joyce connection to shipwrecks and Galway pilots, as Tommy explained to Wavelengths below

Photo Gallery of The Shipwreck of the Nordlyset By Joe O'Shaughnessy  

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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When Brazilian Paulo Sergio Soares da Paixão became involved with traditional boats in Galway, little did he expect that his ashes would be scattered by fellow crew members at sea.

Musicians and members of Galway group Badoirí an Chladaigh took to the wateron Sunday to bid farewell to their Brazilian colleague after he died last week at the age of 52.

Known in Galway as “Paolo Sergio”, the dancer and choreographer came to Ireland to study gastronomy.

He signed up as a volunteer with Badóirí an Chladaigh, and “everyone he touched just loved him”, according to Peter Connolly of the Galway hooker restoration group.

Brazilian choreographer Paulo Sergio Soares da Paixão whose ashes were scattered by Badoirí an Chladaigh in Galway Bay1.jpgBrazilian choreographer Paulo Sergio Soares da Paixão whose ashes were scattered by Badoirí an Chladaigh in Galway Bay1.jpg

“Paulo was very involved in our outdoor classes for schools, and there was nothing that he couldn’t do,” Connolly said.

When he became ill, he spent a number of months in University Hospital Galway and had two operations in Beaumont hospital in Dublin.

After his cremation last week, arrangements were made to scatter his ashes off Galway’s Mutton island.

The half decker Réalt Feasa and fishing boat Aisling Geal took advantage of a brief weather window on Sunday morning (Oct 31) to steam out to the island.

Paulo’s sister Mariza Soares da Paixao Milo and his cousin, Sergio Severiano Gomes Oliveira, were on board as the wind caught his ashes, a wreath was laid, and prayers were said in his memory.

A group of musicians then played a number of pieces on board the hooker Naomh Cronán, which was moored in full sail in the Claddagh basin and flying a Brazilian flag from its mast.

Relatives and friends of Paulo Sergio Soares da Paixão from left, his sister Maria Soares da Paixao Milo, Esther Niland, Sergio Gomes Oliveira and David Doyle.jpgRelatives and friends of Paulo Sergio Soares da Paixão from left, his sister Maria Soares da Paixao Milo, Esther Niland, Sergio Gomes Oliveira and David Doyle

Mayor of Galway Colette Connolly paid her respects to the family.

Clearly moved by the tribute, Sergio called how his cousin was born in Salvador and how he had studied choreography.

He became a professor of dance at the University of Para in Belem, where he was based for 25 years, and directed works that were staged in theatres in Belem.

“Paulo spent at the University of Para, very far from his home in Salvador, he had a house and car, he returned home to see family and friends, but over time he wanted a little more, something different,”Sergio said.

“He wanted to know the world, and people in a different way, he wanted a reality different from the reality of being Brazilian,” Sergio said.

“He planned to move from Brazil and discover something new...so he came to Ireland to change his way of life and study gastronomy here,”he said.

“Paulo first stayed in Dublin and then decided to move to Galway as it is a small city and a pretty city that gave him more opportunities, and he met many people of many different origins,”Sergio said.

“ He captivated people around him, and he was made welcome here,”he said.

Esther Niland, who offered Paulo lodgings in the West, along with David Doyle and Danny Bailey of Badóirí an Chladaigh said this was “what he would have wanted”.

“I was an immigrant for 20 years myself, many of us have been there, and we felt it was so sad that Paolo died so far from his home,”Peter Connolly added.

“He was a pure gentle giant,” Doyle said.

Published in Galway Harbour

Where else in the world would you hear yourself being addressed as Loveen but in Galway - and that's the name of a 96-year-old gleoiteog which is being blessed today (Oct 16) in the Claddagh Basin.

The historic vessel which was built by the Reaneys of Galway’s Spanish Arch was bought from the late Nicky Dolan in 2011 with the support of the former mayor and Labour councillor Niall MacNelis.

It was presented to the Port of Galway Sea Scouts, to help continue the culture and tradition of hooker sailing into the next generation

It has been restored, plank by plank, by expert boatbuilders Coilín Hernon, Ciarán Oliver and a large team from the Galway Hooker Sailing Association (GHSA).

The association, which has over 100 volunteers, began the project in 2019 and continued with careful restrictions through last year’s Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lovely Anne, a late 19th-century gleoiteog, already restored by the GHSA, will join a flotilla today to welcome the Loveen on to the water.

The Port of Galway Sea Scouts and the GHSA are hosting this afternoon’s celebration at Nimmo’s Pier on the Claddagh basin from 2 pm to 4 pm.

Free ticket admission can be obtained on this link here

Published in Historic Boats

Galway RNLI towed a 20-foot half-decker that got into difficulty off Barna to safety last evening.

The pleasure/fishing vessel experienced mechanical issues after it left Galway docks and started drifting.

The crew contacted the Irish Coastguard which then tasked the Galway lifeboat shortly before 7 pm.

Galway Lifeboat volunteer crew Brian Niland (Helmsman), Martin Oliver, Lisa McDonagh and James Rattigan located the vessel with three crew on board.

RNLI deputy launch authority Seán Óg Leydon said that the crew "thankfully had the means to contact the Coastguard directly " for help before the situation escalated.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Galway's 96-year old gleoiteog Loveen has marked a key stage in its restoration with the nailing of its "whiskey plank".

At a "low key" ceremony, the final plank was secured and the occasion was marked with a "modest" round of whiskey.

The Loveen had been bought by Nicky Dolan shortly before his passing in 2011.

Frankie Dolan, Station Officer with Galway Fire and Rescue Service, Frankie is a cousin of the late Nicky Dolan who was the last owner of The LoveenFrankie Dolan, Station Officer with Galway Fire and Rescue Service, Frankie is a cousin of the late Nicky Dolan who was the last owner of The Loveen Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

It was presented to the Port of Galway Sea Scouts the following year.

Daniel Concannon of Port of Galway Sea Scouts inspects the Loveen. Galway Hooker Sailing Club are restoring the Loveen on behalf of the Sea Scouts.Daniel Concannon of Port of Galway Sea Scouts inspects the Loveen. Galway Hooker Sailing Club are restoring the Loveen on behalf of the Sea Scouts Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

A restoration project began in 2019, which was spearheaded by Galway Hooker Sailing Club with the enthusiastic support of the sea scouts.

Coilin Hernon with his sons Einde and Coilin Og at the Loveen at Galway Harbour. The Hernon family are boatbuilders and key members of keeping the tradition of Galway Hookers alive Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy Coilin Hernon with his sons Einde and Coilin Og at the Loveen at Galway Harbour. The Hernon family are boatbuilders and key members of keeping the tradition of Galway Hookers alive Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Founder members of the club are the Oliver family of the Claddagh, and their aim is to continue to support the tradition of Galway hooker sailing, and the culture around it, into the next generation.

A poster details of the Loveen projectA poster details of the Loveen project Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Ross Forde, Club Director, gives a helping hand to his son Jamie at hammering in a nail on the LoveenRoss Forde, Club Director, gives a helping hand to his son Jamie at hammering in a nail on the Loveen Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Daniel Concannon of Port of Galway Sea Scouts hammers in a nail on the LoveenDaniel Concannon of Port of Galway Sea Scouts hammers in a nail on the Loveen Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

 Tina Concannon, Club Secretary, hammers home a nail on the Loveen Tina Concannon, Club Secretary, hammers home a nail on the Loveen Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Published in Galway Harbour
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Galway Bay Sailing Club's Yannick Lemonnier has launched his Mini Transat yacht 'Marcel forever' at Galway Docks.

The Galway sailmaker is embarking on the first part of his Mini campaign that features a 600-mile race from Douarnenez in Western France. It's a campaign that will ultimately see Lemonnier (50) compete in the Mini Transatlantic Race this September. 

Johnny Shorten, Commodore of Galway Bay Sailing Club presented the GBSC Logo to the solo sailor ahead of his departure.

Lemonnier, who runs the Quantum Sails loft in Galway City, recently told Afloat recently that when he got into top-level competitive sailing on his native waters in the Bay of Biscay at the age of 26, his foremost ambition was to race the Mini Transat 6.5 across the Atlantic. Read more on this here

The Mini Transat yacht 'Marcel forever'The Mini Transat yacht 'Marcel forever'

Published in Galway Harbour
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Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan has said Galway could become a stage for the America's Cup yacht race in the future.

The harbourmaster was commenting as the port outlined its vision for a new “urban quarter” with a dedicated cultural space, a “repurposed” inner basin and high rise waterfront residential development.

The “vision” unveiled by the port yesterday, involves development of some seven hectares (17 acres) of inner docklands for housing, commercial and recreational use.

The new vision for Galway Port sees high rise waterfront residential developmentThe new vision for Galway Port sees high rise waterfront residential development

A substantial portion depends on Galway securing approval for its long-planned harbour extension.

However, some 33 per cent of the area could be developed for residential use in advance of port relocation, its chief executive Conor O’Dowd said.

Around 2,000 residents in total could be accommodated in Galway’s inner dockland, O’Dowd said.

Most of the buildings proposed in the “vision” would be approximately six storeys high, but this would be the subject of public consultation, he said.

Galway Harbour Development an aerial viewGalway Harbour Development an aerial view

The Galway dockland centre pier has been earmarked for a cultural facility, and the port is “very open” to public proposals on this, O’Dowd said.

Some 22,300 sq metres (5.5 acres) would be earmarked to develop new public spaces for the city and repurpose the inner dock basin for marine recreation, he said.

Proposed public amenities include the development of “cross-city walking and cycle routes, multi-purpose cultural and event spaces, recreational water sport facilities and a completely re-imagined” street network that turns “towards the sea”, he said.

Capt Sheridan said that the port had hosted Ireland’s first Volvo Ocean Race stopover in 2009 and the finish of the race in 2012.

It has also hosted three national sea festivals in Galway, and is on the route for the Round Britain and Ireland race in May, 2022.

“I think we are well capable of hosting the America's Cup down the road,” he said.

Known as the oldest international contest still held in any sport, the America's Cup involves matches races between the yacht club that currently holds the trophy and a club that is a challenger.

Any club that meets the specific requirements of the contest – held for over a century on the US east coast before it moved to Fremantle, Australia in 1987 and subsequent venues – has the right to challenge the yacht club that currently holds the cup.

The America's Cup is currently held by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, which was successful in defending its title in Auckland in March 2021.

“These modern super yachts require very little water depth, and Galway bay is a natural amphitheatre for such events,” Capt Sheridan said.

“We dreamed about a port expansion many years ago, and we are now tantalisingly close,”he said.

“ When the Volvo ocean races called here in 2009 and 2012, we were the smallest port in the world on their route – and yet in 2009, Galway was deemed the most successful stopover in its 39-year history,” he said.

O’Dowd said the port’s planning application for a new, deep water port - which was the subject of a Bord Pleanála hearing in 2015 -is at an “advanced stage”.

The plan involves reclaiming some 24 hectares in the inner bay, and the port says a significant “hurdle” was overcome with recent approval of its proposal to provide compensatory land for lost habitats.

The port applied for a rarely used derogation of the EU Habitats Directive –the ‘Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest’ (IROPI) clause – and this has now been approved by the EU and referred to the Minister for Housing and Local Government.

If approved, the port company forecasts a completion date for the deepwater extension of 2032.

Published in Galway Harbour
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The Port of Galway has secured consent to provide compensatory habitat in return for its proposed harbour extension.

An Bord Pleanala has confirmed that the development qualifies to be considered under a derogation of the EU Habitats Directive, which allows projects to be built for "Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest". (IROPI).

The port, which is restricted by tide, applied in 2014 for a €126m expansion.

This would involve the reclamation of 24 hectares from the sea bed and extensive development of deepwater berth space.

Bord Pleanála said that certain elements of the proposed development would have a significant adverse impact on Galway bay, with permanent loss of reef, mud and sand habitats in a candidate special area of conservation.

In its submission, the port has offered compensatory habitat which it would restore.

An Bord Pleanála says it approved the IROPI case for several reasons:

It says it “concluded that the proposal presents an integrated development that enhances the social, economic and recreational benefits of the port for the wider benefit of the population of Galway and its regional hinterland”.

“The enhancement of port facilities also aligns with the European transportation policy promoting ‘short-sea shipping’ as a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable alternative to road transport,” it says.

“The enhancement of the port serving the region will therefore align with European, national and regional policies in favour of balanced spatial and economic development,” it says.

“The port and the tradition of maritime trade is fundamental not just to the economy of Galway but also to its culture and identity,” it says.

“The social and economic benefits of the project include positive impacts to tourism, marine research and development, including offshore renewable energy, urban regeneration and marine leisure opportunities,” it says.

Port of Galway chief executive officer Conor O’Dowd welcomed the confirmation as a “positive further step in the planning process”.

An Bord Pleanála says it has asked the Minister of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to “consider the adequacy of the compensatory measures proposed by the applicant”.

It has also asked the minister to “advise as to whether there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest to enable consideration of the proposed development to proceed”.

Published in Galway Harbour

No fire brigade, no doctors, no ambulance service – when a problem arises at sea, seafarers have to tackle it themselves.

That’s what makes the seafarer a “special breed” who is always “solution-focused”, according to Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan.

The challenges of Covid-19, Galway’s position as a hub for renewable ocean energy, and its plans for expansion are among issues that Capt Sheridan spoke to Wavelengths about this week as part of the podcast’s occasional series on ports around the coast.

Galway secured a first Irish stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race, in 2009, and its finale in 2012. There were also three national “seafests” in the harbour, organised by the Marine Institute.

In May 2022, Galway will host a stopover for the Round Britain and Ireland Yacht Race, when some 40 competing yachts are anticipated to berth over a four day period.

“It gives a little bit of a parting in the clouds...when things are so dark,” Capt Sheridan says.

There’s also “a poet in everybody”, he adds, and Storm Ophelia in 2017 inspired one such piece which he wrote, and which he read for the podcast.

Listen below

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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