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Hello and welcome aboard this week’s edition of your maritime programme Seascapes, we feature part one of Starboard Home a commission by Dublin Port Company drawing inspiration from the River Liffey and the port which was held in The National Concert Hall this Summer featuring a galaxy of contemporary musicians including Duke Special; James Vincent McMorrow; John Sheehan; Cathy Davey; Colm Mac an Iomaire; Richard Egan and Declan O ‘Rourke, so this week we hear from Gary Sheehan, Head of Programme Planning at the NCH how the whole project came to pass and the subsequent recording, we also talk to Paul Noonan of Bell XI and hear his composition Steel Ballet, Paul was producer of the album; “Kingfisher Blue “ from Paul Cleary, music and conversation with exciting new talent Lisa O’ Neill and “Rock the Machine”, lets hear first this composition by Gemma Hayes and “Caught in the Rapids” 

Gemma Hayes and “Caught in the Rapids” taken from Starboard Home next Gary Sheehan who is Head of Programme Planning at the National Concert Hall , Gary explained how the project developed ......

Well from Gary Sheehan to composer and member of BELL XI and producer of Starboard Home – Paul Noonan , Paul talked to Seascapes about his role in the project backstage at the National Concert Hall and his composition “Steel Ballet “....

Paul Noonan , we’ll hear next from rising new talent Lisa O’ Neill from Ballyhaise in Cavan .....and her song “Rock the Machine “

Our final offering for this week taken from the Starboard Home album celebrating Dublin Port is from Paul Cleary and this remarkable song .....

Paul Cleary and Kingfisher Blue from Starboard Home....

On the sound desk this week Bryan Fitzpatrick ...., every good wish  from all on Seascapes ......Next week here on your maritime programme, we’ll have music and conversation from “Starboard Home” with Richie Egan ; Colm Mac an Iomaire ; John Sheehan ; Duke Special ; and James Vincent McMorrow , that’s Seascapes with Starboard Home – Part 2 next Friday night , until then tight lines and fair sailing.”

Published in Seascapes
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#PortEstate -Chief executive of Dublin Port Eamonn O’Reilly has described as “mad”, “daft” and an “attempt at a landgrab” plans for a Hollywood-style film studio on the Poolbeg Peninsula.

As The Irish Times writes the port company will next month review its master plan which will govern the development of port lands up to 2040.

Mr O’Reilly said no provision would be made for the studio project.

Windmill Lane Studios founder James Morris and film producer Alan Moloney want to develop an €80 million studio complex at the new Poolbeg strategic development zone (SDZ), a 34 hectare site in the city’s east end.

U2 singer Bono has advocated for the project and lobbied former minister for the environment Alan Kelly to support the studio.

About half of the land in the development zone is taken up by the former Irish Glass bottle company and adjoining Fabrizia lands.

Dublin City Council has designated 80 per cent of these lands for apartments, with the remaining 20 per cent of this site earmarked for an office and retail “buffer zone” separating the housing from industrial land banks.

Almost all the remaining lands in the zone are port company-owned, and Mr O’Reilly said they were needed in their entirety for future expansion of the port.

For further reading on this development, click here

Published in Dublin Port

#TankerDublinBay - Lorna Siggins of the Irish Times writes that seafarers are used to spending Christmas at sea, but one ship’s complement in Irish waters will have a more unusual experience than most.

Some 13 crew on board the 129-metre tanker Iver Ability as previously reported on Afloat, will be neither out of sight nor out of mind in Dublin Bay due to “issues” with unloading the ship’s cargo.

The red- and white-hulled vessel has already spent more than four months on the anchorage, apart from several brief forays into Dublin Port for supplies.

Illuminated at night, it has become a talking point for coastal walkers.

Managers of the Gibraltar-registered ship have confirmed that it was transferred on to the anchorage in August after it “experienced a reaction to its cargo of bitumen during cargo operations in the port”.

It is understood that a seal on its hatch ruptured while on berth in Dublin Port, and posed a potential safety hazard.

The ship’s owners say that the situation has “stabilised”, with “no further pressure release of the cargo occurring”, and that they have been conducting a “full investigation”.

For more click here noting that further in the report, it was mentioned Iver Ability was in Dublin Port this week to take on supplies and also during Storm Barbara to await subsiding winds.

Afloat.ie can confirm as of this morning the tanker has departed from the Deepwater Quay with assistance of tug Beaufort, before heading under way for yet another anchorage and notably to be spent over Christmas. 

Published in Dublin Bay

#SaveHistoricDocks - A Dublin docklands business group and waterways enthusiasts have called on Minister for Heritage Heather Humphreys to save a key piece of the Grand Canal basin’s Georgian architecture.

As The Irish Times writes The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) and the Docklands Business Forum (see related story) have initiated a petition this week which asks Ms Humphreys to ensure the basin’s lock gates and graving docks for ships are “restored, preserved and reused” for community gain.

The two groups believes Waterways Ireland wants to sell the graving docks site for further high rise development on the Liffey mouth.

The cross-Border agency is primarily responsible for the Grand Canal Basin and for the surrounding area where the three graving docks were constructed for vessel repair, while Nama also has a lease interest.

The graving docks and lock gates are as important to the heritage of the area as Battery Park is to New York, according to Docklands Business Forum’s chief executive Alan Robinson.

For more on this development click here.

Jehan Ashmore of Afloat adds that recently in an 'Aran Islands Snapshot' was featured the former ferry, Naomh Eanna which has been berthed in Grand Canal Dock for more than a quarter century.

The basin itself is considerably older having opened in 1796 for use of ships entering three docks to and from the River Liffey.

Only in recent years due to the threat of scrapping by Waterways Ireland that the historic Irish built ship was saved by campaigners. Among the reasons cited was due to possible sinking of the veteran vessel which led to the ship shifted from Charlotte Quay to a nearby disused graving dock dating to 1850's. 

There have been plans by maritime heritge enthusiasts to restore the 1958 Liffey Dockyard built Naomh Eanna that ran for CIE between Galway City and Aran Islands. The project involved relocating to her former homeport in the mid-west city as a floating museum amongst other functions. The proposed visitor attraction was welcomed by Galway Port with a dedicated berth.  

Grand Canal Basin was last used by commercial shipping until the 1960's. The three graving docks (the largest infilled) were used for repairs of small ships and canal barges.

Published in Dublin Port

#HMSillustrious - The Royal Navy’s former and final ‘Invincible’ aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious which made a rare call to Dublin in recent years departed UK waters for the last time yesterday bound for a Turkish shipbreakers yard, writes Jehan Ashmore.

HMS Illustrious was launched in 1978 but commissioning of the aircraft carrier notably took place after the Falklands War or 'conflict' with Argentina as it was also known. The carrier became  synonymous given the vital role of the RAF Harrier Jump-Jet aircraft. In more recent years the aircraft-carrier was scaled down to that of only carrying helicopters.

The third of the ‘Invincible’ class carrier sailed from the UK premier naval base of Portsmouth bound for Falklands in the South Atlantic. Likewise a departure from the Hampshire port was repeated for the final time yesterday albeit under tow on a delivery voyage set for the Mediterranean Sea. A Turkish shipbreaker will dismantle the ship for recycling. 

The veteran vessel of 22,000 gross tonnage had over a 32 year career taken part in global conflicts and humanitarian rescue missions. In doing so the ‘Lusty’ as she is referred by crew has clocked up 900,000 thousand miles until retired following decommissioning in 2014.

A pair of ‘Queen Elizabeth’ aircraft carriers are been built in Scotland with other yards in the UK contributing modular sections. Among them Babcock Marine & Technology, the north Devon shipbuilders of the Irish Naval Service OPV90 ‘Beckett’ /Playwright sisters. So far they total three ships with the commissioning naming ceremony of LE William Butler Yeats in Galway held in October.

HMS Illustrious follows the leadship class namesake and HMS Ark Royal which together were sold for scrap overseas. Despite an open competition held over a two year timeframe that sought to save the ship or retain part of the aircraft carrier for heritage purposes in the UK, such attempts to keep the ship in home waters failed.

The Ministry of Defence deemed proposals by some to convert the ship as a museum or hotel as too expensive.

Published in News Update

#SoftPort - A major project by Dublin Port to 'soften' its boundaries between the port's centre headquarters and the capital city to enable a greater public realm is underway.

The work is the largest physical intervention by Dublin Port in 35 years began in September and is expected to be completed in 2017. The development forms a committment of the port’s 'Masterplan' which incorporates phase one the Alexandra Basin Redvelopment (ABR) project. 

The public realm project will significantly soften and enliven the Port’s boundaries with the City through high quality architectural and landscaping design. County Mayo based Wills Bros Civil Engineering are carrying out the project which won the contract in a competitive tendering process.

New pedestrian entrances off Alexandra Road and the East Wall Road will open out into a new public plaza north of Port Centre building near the 3Arena venue complex. At the entrance to the 1981 built building, a refurbished podium will feature a new sculptural sphere inspired by the spherical-shaped time ball that dropped daily on the top of the Ballast Office at O’Connell Bridge to signal Greenwich Mean Time to passing ships. From the podium, visitors will also be able to observe the Port’s operations from a safe distance, as intended by the original architects.

As previously reported on Afloat a new landmark featuring an historic ten-ton Stother & Pitt crane will form this future port-city public realm interface near the recently named Tom Clarke (former East-Link) toll-bridge. Crane 292 as it was known dates from 1968 and was in use at the port up until the late 1990s.The crane will be reassembled and illuminated and stand 35 metres high which is taller than the Port Centre.

James Kelleher, the Project Manager for Dublin Port Company, said: “This exciting new project has been designed with the purpose of opening up Port Centre to the City, using new public realm and maritime-inspired sculptural and architectural design to soften the boundaries between the Port and the City. Port-city integration is a major strategic objective for Dublin Port and at the heart of our growing programme of arts, industrial heritage, sports, community and educational initiatives.

The project builds on recent cultural, arts and industrial heritage initiatives by Dublin Port on the theme of port-city integration, including the reimagining of the Diving Bell on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, the commissioning of new Irish music for Starboard Home and the launch of a visual arts programme Port Perspectives.

Published in Dublin Port

#HomePort - Celebrity Eclipse has been revealed as the first cruiseship by a major operator to 'home port' in Dublin Port by offering cruises that begin in early summer 2018.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie Celebrity Cruises begins the ships home port on a mini season of five sailings in late April, throughout May and until the end of June 2018. The 'Solstice' class Celebrity Eclipse with a 2,800 passenger capacity will operate cruises departing Dublin Port to destinations throughout northern Europe. Full details on the destinations on offer will be announced later this year.

It is estimated that more than 14,000 people are to start their cruise holiday from Dublin on the Celebrity Eclipse. The deployment of the German built 122,000 gross tonnage vessel to the Irish capital is worth an estimated €6 million and to the surrounding region in knock-on economic benefits.

Celebrity Cruises already features Dublin and other ports throughout Ireland in its European deployment, however this is the most significant increase in its investment into Ireland in the history of the global business.

 

 

Published in Cruise Liners

#DutchFrigate – A Dutch navy frigate HNLMS Van Amstel (F831) equipped with surface and anti-submarine warfare systems is to visit Dublin Port this weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 3,353 tonnes Karel Doorman-class multi-purpose frigate of the Royal Netherlands Navy is calling to the capital tomorrow for the purposes of crew rest and recreation.

According to NavyToday the frigate has been part of a NATO fleet earlier this year tasked to fight against people-smugglers in the Aegean Sea.

Launched in 1990 at the shipyard Koninklijke Schelde Groep in Vlissingen, HNLMS Van Amstel also has air defence capability. The 122m long frigate is named after from Captain Jan van Amstel a commander of the Dutch navy during the 1650’s. The current navy has six frigates of two classes.

Earlier this month it was the turn of Cork City to receive another member of a Dutch navy in the form of ‘Walrus’ class submarine HNLMS Bruinvis. The 68m long submarine with up to 40 torpedoes had docked in the port for crew time ashore.

Published in Naval Visits

#LiffeyPotential – Post-Brexit potentially poses an exodus of UK banks relocating from London to the EU and notably Dublin’s financial Docklands, where the Liffey flows through with barely any river-traffic compared to the Thames, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Since the Brexit vote on the EU referendum, property agents in Dublin have had a 30% increase on inquiries from UK firms looking to relocate. This is according to a joint report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland. Potentially such an influx of thousands of financial services employees could further boost the Docklands quarter with spin offs leading to new river-based operations / floating businesses. The increased financial flight of capital could also favour related corporate sponsorship of tallships and powerboating races.

Among the major high-rise Docklands developments underway is Dublin Landings, an impressive 1 million sq foot central north riverside project also at Spenser Dock. This is a mixed development of offices, apartments and retails space includes the new headquarters of the Central Bank originally destined to be that for Anglo Irish Bank no less!

There are also plans at Spenser Dock for the DART Underground, this would be something of a Dublin version of London’s Canary Wharf Docklands. Passing this major financial district in June was RMS St. Helena heading to the UK capital, the first visit ever visit to her homeport of registry, yet notably having taken place after the 'RMS' made a unique call to Dublin Port 21 years previously on the River Liffey. 

As reported previously, Thames commuter-river bus operator MNBA Thames Clippers whose 15 catamarans will carry four million customers by the end of 2016. The operator MNBA do a lot more as they are also one of the UK's largest credit card issuers. Obviously there is considerably less demand for a Liffey commuter service, given the bridges built and since the Celtic Tiger and the extension of the LUAS Red Line to the Point. A commuter service however did exist in the form of the far more humble Liffey Ferry operation when compared to the busy Thames scene.

It was during the credit crunch crash that Liffey Ferry with the support of the then Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) ran a river-taxi shuttle service between bank to bank… pardon the pun. The river-taxi RIB named Liffey Flyer was aptly yellow in colour like its New York land-based counterpart. The three-minute hop between Sir John Rogersons Quay and the North Wall. The DDDA was transferred to Dublin City Council and Afloat at another stage will be examining DCC’s North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) and its relationship with the River Liffey. The underutilised water thoroughfare and Grand Canal Basin is in stark contrast to some other EU capitals as echoed by Docklands Business Forum.

Outside of peak times, Liffey Ferry attracted tourists as it was a short-cut in which having personally availed to reach the working port of Dublin beyond the East-Link Lift Toll Bridge now named the Tom Clarke Bridge. There are currently plans at the river crossing to ‘reorder’ this area of waterfront where small vessels among them cruiseships transit through the lift-bridge to reach city-centre quays. The ‘old’ Liffey ferry whose origins date to the 14th century, was operated by Dublin Corporation’s own fleet that mostly served dockers until the ferry was made redundant in 1984 with the opening of the East-Link Bridge.

In regard to the Liffey Ferry of the DDDA this only operated for about two years and was always a stop-gap measure in advance of the opening in 2009 of the new Samuel Beckett Bridge, part of the Docklands regeneration vision. The swing-bridge was ‘imported’ having already been completed in the Netherlands from where the structure was towed on a barge and ‘sailed’ through the East-Link bridge as it was known then.

At present the Liffey has only one operator, albeit the ‘tourist-excursion’ year-round service of Dublin Discovered Boat Tours. They operate a 48 seat sight-seeing craft, Spirit of Docklands, custom-built for the DDDA when launched in Finland for Liffey River Cruises. The ‘Spirit’ plies between Bachelors Walk upriver to the Old Ha’penny Bridge and downriver to the 3Arena, formerly the O2 and before that the Point Theatre. As previously covered, the Liffey Line ran during the mid-1990’s a similar shuttle river-bus and night-time service for theatre patrons from City Quay using a former Shannon based water-bus craft.

On the North Wall is berthed the Dublin 1962 built veteran M.V. Cill Airne, a former transatlantic liner tender based in Cobh which has been a ‘resident’ of the Dublin Docklands for almost a decade. The static venue with restaurants and bars on board the 500grt vessel is located at a prime position close to the Convention Centre, host of a historic reception for Queen Elizabeth II in 2011.

Also gracing the northside is the Jeanie Johnston, a replica of a 19th century barque which tells the story of Irish emigrants fleeing the famine to start a new life in America. The floating museum tallship is undergoing maintenance but is scheduled to reopen to visitors next month.

Not strictly a Liffey operator, Dublin Bay Cruises in recent years began seasonal ‘summer’ excursions also from City Quay on a network linking Howth and Dun Laoghaire Harbours. St. Bridget is to resume duties also next month albeit in the context of ‘festive’ river party cruises.

Published in Dublin Port

#NewEPSOchairman - At the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) General Assembly held in Brussels Eamon O’Reilly was unanimously elected as Chairman following a vote held yesteray. O'Reilly succeeds Santiago Garcia-Mila who chaired the organisation during the last four years.

The General Assembly also elected Annaleena Mäkilä and Bernard Mazuel as Vice-Chairs. Ms Mäkilä, who is currently Executive Director of the Finnish ports Association now starts a second term in that role. Mr Mazuel is Managing Director of the French Ports Association.

Upon his election, Mr O’ Reilly said: “I am very honoured to have been elected as Chairman of ESPO for the next two years. Over these years, ports will be challenged by the implementation of the Port Regulation and other legislative initiatives. There will also be a continuing need for ports to plan and finance major infrastructure investment at the key nodes of Europe’s transport networks. Overarching these challenges, however, is the global problem of climate change and how our industry plays its part in addressing this enormous issue.

“I would like to thank the Members of ESPO for putting their trust in me and I look forward to working with Isabelle and her excellent team as we represent the interests of Europe’s ports in our response to these challenges in the years ahead.”

Mr. O’Reilly has been serving as Chief Executive of the Dublin Port Company since 2010.

Today, ESPO has also published its Annual Report 2015-2016, which outlines the activities of the organisation over the past year. A copy of the report can be found here.

In addition, tonight will see the celebration of the 8th annual ESPO Award on Societal integration. The theme of this year is nature in ports. European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc will be announcing the winner at a ceremony taking place at the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 10 of 48

The Rolex Fastnet Race - This biennial offshore pilgrimage attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge. For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.  The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish is in Plymouth, Devon via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Plymouth. The lighthouse first shone its light on New Year’s Day in 1854
  • Fastnet Rock originally had six keepers (now unmanned), with four on the rock at a time with the other two on leave. Each man did four weeks on, two weeks off

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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