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UK Shipping Minister Mike Penning's praise of staff at Northern Ireland's only coastguard station has been described as 'hollow' by a DUP MLA.
Penning had described his meeting with staff at the Bangor coastguard centre, which is threatened with closure under new streamlining plans, as "a breath of fresh air".
But the DUP's Peter Weir told the Community Telegraph that his praise "rings a little hollow as it is the minister who created the problem in the first place".
He added: "“We cannot be allowed to be the only part of the UK to be without this facility, and the Secretary of State should be making it clear to his colleagues that he feels so strongly about this that he considers this a resigning matter."
North Down Mayor John Montgomery (DUP) also complained that neither he nor his councillors were informed of the minister's flying visit, which had been rescheduled after a previous cancellation.
"Is the Shipping Minister running scared of North Down councillors?" he asked.

UK Shipping Minister Mike Penning's praise of staff at Northern Ireland's only coastguard station has been described as 'hollow' by a DUP MLA.

Penning had described his meeting with staff at the Bangor coastguard centre, which is threatened with closure under new streamlining plans, as "a breath of fresh air".

But the DUP's Peter Weir told the Community Telegraph that his praise "rings a little hollow as it is the minister who created the problem in the first place".

He added: "“We cannot be allowed to be the only part of the UK to be without this facility, and the Secretary of State should be making it clear to his colleagues that he feels so strongly about this that he considers this a resigning matter."

North Down Mayor John Montgomery (DUP) also complained that neither he nor his councillors were informed of the minister's flying visit, which had been rescheduled after a previous cancellation.

"Is the Shipping Minister running scared of North Down councillors?" he asked.

Published in Coastguard
A new fisheries protection vessel (FPV) for Northern Ireland was commissioned in a ceremony presided by the fisheries Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA in Bangor Harbour on Thursday, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Banríon Uladh which cost £2.2m (with 50% funding from the EU) has replaced the smaller sized vessel, Ken Vickers, which has been in service since 1992. The new 26-metre craft is based in the Co. Down harbour and is crewed by fisheries officers from Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD).

The FPV was built by AS Baltic Workboats in Estonia and the 25 knot plus craft has already entered on operational duties as part of the Joint Deployment Plan with the Irish Naval Service to underpin fishery protection arrangements.

Layout of the vessel superstructure consists of the wheelhouse for a crew of three and provisional space for two observers. At the aft end there is a wet laboratory for scientific and data collecting purposes. On the lower deck the vessel can accommodate seven crew members in three twin cabins and a single cabin for the captain. Other facilities are the mess, galley and WC.

An onboard RIB, powered by twin 60hp outboards is located aft in the stern-well. Also located at the stern is a two ton capacity movable hydraulic gantry and a one ton Guerra marine deck crane. To create more deck-space for scientific research operations, the stern-well can be covered over with boards, a similar design feature is found on the Revenue Commissioners two Finish built custom cutters RCC Suirbheir and RCC Faire.

In addition to fishery protection, the craft is designed for seabed mapping, survey equipment technology to inspect inshore mussel resources for the
aquaculture industry and to detect pollutants. The ability to conduct such functions will enable greater assistance and understanding of the marine environment for DARD's science partners at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

The design of the Banrion Uladh is based on Baltic Workboats 24m Baltic 2400 class which has been operating for clients in Estonia, Latvia and Poland. In addition the same class is also to be used as a basis for boats which are under construction for the Swedish Coast Guard.

Published in Fishing
A search for a missing 18 year old boy that was launched after his friends feared he had fallen from Central Pier was stood down at 01.50 this morning after he was found hiding in the crew accommodation of a nearby fishing vessel.

The call came in at 23.40 from a member of the marina staff after the boy's two friends had told him that all three of them had climbed over the gate into the pier, but that their friend had not come back and they were concerned that he must have fallen into the water.

Belfast Coastguard sent the Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team to begin a search, as well as requesting the launch of the Bangor RNLI lifeboat. Members of the Police, Ambulance and Fire Service are also on scene.

At 01.50, the boy was found hiding in a compartment in the crew accommodation of a fishing vessel near the pier, and the search was stood down.

Belfast Coastguard Watch Manager Alan Pritchard said:

"This group of three boys had been at a birthday party in the town before climbing the gate this evening to access the pier.  Incidents such as these remind of us of the dangers of being in proximity to the water when you have been drinking alcohol – be it going swimming, or walking along cliffs or piers.  Although on this occasion the boy has been found safe and well, this could easily have been a much more serious incident."

Published in Coastguard

Bangor Lifeboat launched at 11:40 am on Monday 24th January to rescue two canoeists from a stretch of water lying between the Copeland Island and Donaghadee known locally as the Donaghadee Sound. One of the canoeists had apparently entered the water and was in difficulty.

Belfast Coastguard requested RNLI Bangor Lifeboat to launch.

Within minutes of the rescue pagers being activated, Bangor volunteer crew had assembled and had launched the RNLI's fast response Atlantic 85 type lifeboat the 'Jessie Hillyard '.

With a top speed of 35 knots Bangor Lifeboat quickly arrived on scene.

The Fishery Protection vessel also received the rescue alert and was by minutes the first vessel on the scene. With the Fishery Protection vessel providing a weather lee, crew from Bangor Lifeboat quickly plucked the exhausted canoeist from the water. The second canoeist was then brought aboard Bangor Lifeboat along with both canoes.

Donaghadee Lifeboat who also launched to this rescue stood close by to offer additional medical support if required.

Bangor Lifeboat accompanied by Donaghadee Lifeboat returned to Donaghadee Harbour and both canoeists were landed safely ashore.

Ewan Scott, helmsman onboard Bangor Lifeboat praised the actions of both volunteer crews. He said 'The dedication and commitment of both Bangor and Donaghadee volunteer crews is evident in the professional manner in which they undertook this rescue' He added 'We're happy that both canoeists are now safely ashore.'

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

RNLI Bangor Lifeboat launched at 1:20 pm on Monday 17th January to assist 1 person aboard a 21ft crab fishing boat which had experienced gearbox mechanical failure close to shore.

Within minutes of the rescue pagers being activated, volunteer crew had launched RNLI Bangor Lifeboat and quickly located the crab fishing boat close to shore near Ballymacormick Point which is 1 ½ nautical miles north east of Bangor Harbour.

Calm weather conditions had allowed the skipper of the fishing vessel to make emergency repairs to the gearbox.

RNLI Bangor Lifeboat escorted the fishing vessel to the safety of Bangor Harbour and assisted the skipper with docking manoeuvres.

This is the first rescue call for RNLI Bangor Lifeboat in 2011.

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats
British Prime Minister has dismissed concerns over the potential loss of Northern Ireland's Coastguard centre.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that when questioned on the future of the Bangor control centre by DUP MP Jim Shannon, David Cameron replied that he understood "the need for good air sea rescue".
“I think what matters is not necessarily who is carrying it out, but are they fully qualified, is it a good service and is it value for money?” he added.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Bangor Coastguard control centre is facing closure under reforms to the service across the UK announced by Shipping Minister Mike Penning.

British Prime Minister has dismissed concerns over the potential loss of Northern Ireland's Coastguard centre.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that when questioned on the future of the Bangor control centre by DUP MP Jim Shannon, David Cameron replied that he understood "the need for good air sea rescue".

“I think what matters is not necessarily who is carrying it out, but are they fully qualified, is it a good service and is it value for money?” he added.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Bangor Coastguard control centre is facing closure under reforms to the service across the UK announced by Shipping Minister Mike Penning.

Published in Coastguard

In a further boost for the fledgling match racing scene here, top Irish international Umpire Bill O'Hara is looking to have the ISAF Grade one women's match racing event held on Belfast Lough from his home port of Bangor from August 17 - 20 2011, straight after the Weymouth pre-Olympic event.

Published in Match Racing
Belfast Coastguard spent two hours this evening trying to locate a missing RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) after it was reported leaving Rathlin in very poor weather conditions with four people on board, HM Coastguard report.

Concern for the occupants of the 8 metre RIB was initially raised when it was reported that it had left Rathlin harbour at 6.00pm in adverse weather conditions.  Belfast Coastguard attempted to contact the vessel on VHF radio and mobile telephone but were unsuccessful.

Further enquiries yielded that the RIB was suspected to be heading to Bangor Harbour, and so Belfast Coastguard sent the Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team out to see if they could sight the vessel.  In the meantime, Belfast Coastguard intercepted a communication from the RIB to Clyde Coastguard, whom they had contacted to inform them that they were just entering Bangor Harbour, in line with their passage plans.

In order to ensure they had safely arrived, Belfast Coastguard completed a radar search for the vessel and discovered that the occupants of the RIB were incorrect about their location, and had in fact just entered Belfast Lough, 13 miles from where they thought they were.

Belfast Coastguard finally managed to make communication with the RIB and ensured that they had sufficient fuel to complete their journey to Bangor.  When the RIB arrived in Bangor they were met by the Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team who ensured they were safe and well and offered some safety advice.

Belfast Coastguard Watch Manager Alan Pritchard said:

"We became immediately concerned for the safety of the occupants of the RIB when we were informed that they were heading out in such poor weather conditions, and our worries increased when it became apparent that they had no idea of their position and began heading into the wrong port.  The occupants of the RIB are now safely ashore and although were not in need of medical assistance they were quite badly shaken from the experience as it transpires that they had been trying to reach Bangor for several hours.

When we are informed of incidents such as these it allows the Coastguard to play a proactive role in preventing a situation from worsening by monitoring a vessel's passage.  However, this could have all been prevented by the crew preparing for their journey, advising the Coastguard of their intentions and being aware of their own capabilities and weather conditions."

Published in Rescue

A brand new RNLI inshore lifeboat was officially named 'Bradley and Sonya' during a moving ceremony on Saturday 25th September at Fenit which is located on north side of Tralee Bay on the far south west coast of Ireland. The new D class lifeboat was named in memory of a young couple, Bradley and Sonya Burns from Bangor who were lifeboat volunteers and who died within 10 months of each other in 2006.

Volunteer lifeboat crew with Bangor RNLI raised £34027.48 to fund the lifeboat as a tribute to the young couple.The lifeboat was named by Mrs Mary Connolly and Mrs Eileen Savage, the mothers of Sonya and Bradley, while Sonya's sister Judy Connolly and Bangor lifeboats Senior Helmsman Kyle Marshall delivered the lifeboat into the care of Fenit RNLI. Fourteen members of Bangor lifeboat crew attended the ceremony along with members of the couple's family and lifeboat volunteers from around the coast.

Speaking during the ceremony Judy Connolly said, "Whilst we will never forget Bradley and my sister Sonya it is some comfort to know their legacy lives on, doing what they did so well – working to save lives at sea. We are delighted that this modern new lifeboat will make a real difference to the search and rescue capability in the Kerry area. Tragedy is never far from the sea and I do hope that it will be the instrument to save many lives."

Lifeboat Operations Manager with Fenit RNLI Gerard O'Donnell added, "We are extremely grateful to the crew at Bangor lifeboat station for their generosity in funding the new lifeboat. On behalf of the lifeboat crew in Fenit I offer our sincere thanks. This improved lifeboat will allow our volunteer crews to respond more quickly in emergencies and may well make the difference between life and death for someone in trouble in the water. "

Kyle Marshall, Senior Helmsman on Bangor lifeboat commented "It is a truly fitting honour and legacy to the memory of our dear friends Bradley and Sonya; they gave so much to the RNLI." Kyle went on to say "The generosity and support from the people of Bangor, from others further afield and from within the RNLI family has been overwhelming. So many individual people, groups and companies have selflessly given of their time, effort and money to fund this new Fenit lifeboat. We at RNLI Bangor Lifeboat wish to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who made the funding of this new lifeboat possible"

The Bradley and Sonya lifeboat will join Fenit's all weather Trent class lifeboat Robert Hywell Jones Williams.

RNLI_Lifeboat_naming3

Mrs. Mary Connolly (Sonya's mother) and Mrs. Eileen Savage (Bradley's mother) name RNLI Fenit lifeboat 'Bradley and Sonya'

RNLI_Lifeboat_naming1

Fenit Lifeboat in action. The RNLI D class lifeboat is 5 metres in length and has a maximum speed of 25 knots. Photos: Valerie O'Sullivan


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Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Bangor RNLI volunteers are to be awarded North Down Borough Councils highest honour for their heroic service. Bangor RNLI will be given the Freedom of the Borough on Saturday 18 September 2010 in tribute to its 45 years of sterling service off the shores of North Down.

The Atlantic 85 type lifeboat. the Jessie Hillyard. based in Bangor Harbour has two Yamaha 4-stroke engines giving a top speed of 35 knots. It features state of the art radar, chart plotter VHF radio and radio direction finding technology to enhance its lifesaving capabilities. Volunteer crew at Bangor take pride in a launch time of under four minutes from when their rescue pagers are activated.

Everyone connected with RNLI Bangor Lifeboat - the crew, station management, fundraisers and helpers - are all volunteers, giving freely of their time, braving all weathers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help save life at sea.

Bangor's Lifeboat Operations Manager Kevin Byers also a volunteer is looking forward to receiving North Down Borough Councils highest award honouring the work of RNLI Bangor Lifeboat. He said

'We wish to publicly thank North Down Borough Council for their continued support and for honouring RNLI Bangor Lifeboat with this prestigious award' he added.

'It is a truly fitting tribute to the huge commitment and dedication of the Bangor volunteer crew and station personnel both past and present who have devoted so much of their time and effort to lifesaving at sea'

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 8 of 8

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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