Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Submarine cable

ESB Networks has appealed for vigilance at sea in relation to submarine cables after a fishing vessel cut power to West Cork’s Bere Island last week.

ESB Networks restored power to some 280 affected islanders at 11 pm on Friday last, January 5th, some 31 hours after supplies were cut suddenly on January 4th.

The operator confirmed that the outage occurred “ as a result of a fishing vessel accidentally coming into contact with a cable running from Castletownbere to Bere island”.

It said that “repair efforts started immediately, which included a diver safely locating the damaged cable so ESB Networks crews could carry out the required restoration work”.

Power was restored to all impacted customers by 11pm on Friday night,it said, and it apologised to all those affected by the disruption.

There was considerable upset at the incident at a particularly difficult time of year and with islanders dependent on freezers to store food supplies.

An ESB Networks spokesman declined to confirm the cost of the repairs, or whether the fishing vessel had offered to contribute.

The non-governmental organisation Coastwtch said the incident illustrated the “damage large powerful fishing vessels can have on the fragile nature” of the seafloor.

It called on the State to recover costs from “those who caused the damage”, and said that “our heart goes out to families left without power in winter cold”.

Coastwatch co-ordinator Karin Dubsky questioned why the island was dependent on one power cable and said a Heritage Council study 20 years ago had flagged concerns about this.

Given that submarine cables are set to increase during offshore wind development, she said it was essential that the cable “isn’t just fixed but that the cause is determined and published with planned action” to avoid a recurrence.

The ESB said that “damage to our network by third parties can occur from time to time – generally on overhead and underground cables on land - and we run extensive public campaigns on staying safe and staying clear of our network”.

“This incident serves as a timely reminder that similar vigilance should be applied by those at sea to submarine cables”,it said.

More information on its public campaigns is here.

Published in Marine Warning

About Pamela Lee, Irish Offshore Sailor

Ireland has produced some of the world’s most dedicated offshore sailors, and Pamela Lee of Greystones is one of them. She has made a name for herself in the sailing world, having worked as a mate on a charter Super-yacht for two and a half years. After coming ashore, she has been fully committed to her offshore sailing ambitions since 2019.

Lee has raced in various craft, including Figaro 3s, Class 40, Tp 52s, and multihulls, and has eight transatlantic crossings under her belt. In partnership with Kenny Rumball, Lee supported Rumball’s La Solitaire du Figaro sailing campaign to secure the Irish berth in the proposed Mixed Offshore Keelboat event for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

One of Lee’s stated main aims is to promote female empowerment in sport, and she set out to establish a double-handed Round Ireland speed record with Englishwoman Cat Hunt in the winter of 2020. This campaign gained much publicity, and Lee expressed pride in bringing sailing and offshore sailing, in particular, into the conversation for 2020.

To further her offshore sailing career, Lee moved to France, where she has recently secured a place to skipper a yacht in the Transat Jacques Vabre Challenge in October 2023. Lee’s passion and dedication to offshore sailing are inspiring, and her achievements are a testament to her hard work and perseverance.