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Last Saturday, (2nd February) Sail Training Ireland held their Annual Awards event at the Mansion House in Dublin. The annual awards, as reported by Afloat.ie here recognise excellence, achievement and outstanding contribution in the sailing community at all levels. The Drogheda Sail Training Bursary has been a central element in the award ceremony for a number of years and two special recognition awards are made to Drogheda Trainees who participate in the local scheme. 

Two specially commissioned perpetual trophies are awarded each year at the prestigious award ceremony. Mayor of Drogheda, Frank Godfrey and the Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring were in attendance among other regional and national dignitaries to mark the occasion.

The 2018 trainees included young people from residential care homes, Garda Diversion Projects, Sea Scouts, Youth and Community groups and Schools, drug rehabilitation programmes, asylum seekers and immigrants and young people with visual, hearing and physical impairments from across the island of Ireland.

Two award recipients were Drogheda teens, Shauna Murphy of the Sacred Heart School and Sinead O’Byrne of the Grammar School. Drogheda Mayor Frank Godfrey and Drogheda Port Company Director Ciaran Callan presented the girls with a perpetual trophy each for ‘Outstanding Trainee’ on their respective voyages as part of the 2018 Drogheda Sail Training Bursary. Both of these transition year trainees displayed remarkable resilience and never refused a chance to acquire new skills and gain a greater self-belief.

"Drogheda Sail Training Bursary has funded over 100 local trainees"

Sail Training Ireland’s chairman Seamus Mc Loughlin singled out the ‘Drogheda Sail Training Bursary’ as the very first regional sail training scheme, which since 2013 has funded over 100 local trainees to participate in sail training voyages and bring a positive focus back to the maritime town of Drogheda and its famous River Boyne. Nessa Lally of Drogheda Port thanked the Mayor of Drogheda for his attendance and she emphasised the importance and the strong continued support of the Drogheda bursary sponsors, who are; Irish Cement, Fast Terminals, Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company.

The Drogheda Sail Training Bursary programme for 2019 is now open, voyages are open to 18-23-year-olds from any nominating schools, youth or community groups, diversion projects and others. If you are seeking a life-changing experience and think you could benefit from this wonderful opportunity please get in touch as we are funding 20 trainee places this year.

Published in Drogheda Port
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Drogheda Port Company, supported by leading experts from Brady Shipman Martin, are working on a Master Plan for the future of the Port that will run from 2020-2050.

Earlier this year, Drogheda Port Company published an Issues Paper and invited members of the public, business, state agencies, regulatory bodies and government to make submissions. This week the preliminary findings of the submissions were announced by Paul Fleming, CEO of Drogheda Port Company.

“We are delighted with the level of interest and submissions to the Issues Paper. The Masterplan we are developing will run from 2020-2050 and so it was really important for us to take on board suggestions and observations from the community and stakeholders. We received a really strong response and we thank those individuals and organisations who took the time to participate in this consultation process.”

Paul Fleming continued “Some of the key issues raised in the submissions include road access to the port, deep-water berths, environmental protection, requirement for additional land, warehousing and storage and recognising the Port as a valuable economic asset. The role of the Port in the urban regeneration of Drogheda came to the fore in submissions that discussed relocating Port operations from the Town Quays to further downstream. These, and many other issues, will all be addressed in our master-planning process and it is interesting to note that our priorities and those of the public and stakeholders are largely aligned.”

Drogheda Port is one of the key drivers of economic activity and development in the north-east. The Port, and the work that it facilitates, supports imports, exports, and job creation. As a critical part of the infrastructure of this region, it is vital that the Port plans ahead and continues to provide facilities and services to meet the needs of the eastern region into the future.

Submissions also recognised the importance of Drogheda Port as a facilitator of employment and competitiveness for the region. Others highlighted the role of the Port in tourism and marine leisure activity, and some challenged the Port to examine issues of off-shore renewable energy.

Port Chairman Joe Hiney stated: “I would like to acknowledge the constructive feedback received in the master planning process, including on the topic of external port development. This is timely as the national port industry is actively examining port infrastructure demand and supply issues in terms of changing market conditions in the various cargo sectors, including Brexit impacts, and capacity constraints at existing east coast ports. In the case of Drogheda we have identified demand for deep water and niche cargo services on the east coast in addition to the planned expansion of operations in the Boyne estuary.”

He continued “We, therefore, put our external project subsidiary (“Bremore”) on the market and following considerable commercial interest have signed a development Memorandum of Understanding with a substantial private partner. This development project is focussed on serving the growing Irish port service market, on maintaining a competitive landscape on the east coast, and ensuring that Drogheda Port Company continues to grow in a sustainable manner.”

Paul Fleming concluded “This has been a very worthwhile, informative and educational phase of our master planning process. Our role in Drogheda Port Company is to ensure that strategic, economic, community and environmental factors are all considered and carefully factored into the long-term plan for the Port. Now that this stage of the process has been completed, we will revert to an intensive internal planning phase and intend to publish the draft Master Plan early in 2019 with the final Master Plan being completed by mid-year.”

Published in Drogheda Port
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One of the most dramatic marine visual sights in the country is along Drogheda Port’s town quays, where you can see the backdrop of the Boyne Viaduct which carries the main rail line from Dublin northwards.

It spans the historic River Boyne which has been known since ancient times …The Greek geographer PTOLEMY is said to have drawn a map of Ireland in the second century which included the Boyne…

The port has been crucial to the newspaper industry, as the major import centre for newsprint. Having reported quite a bit of its development over the years, one aspect which appeared to me not to be high on the priority list was the leisure sector, for which Drogheda would not be traditionally known.

FIDDLE CASE PIER DROGHEDA PORTFiddle Case Pier at Drogheda Port

There is a change in that aspect and its welcome. The Port Company tells me that its intention is to become an East Coast boating location in addition to its commercial development. A few developments are coming together in that regard and will be highlighted this weekend.

"The Port Company tells me that its intention is to become an East Coast boating location in addition to its commercial development"

The Fiddle Case Pier is one of the most unusual names I’ve ever heard for a pier. There was an original Fiddle Case Pier constructed in the 1850s in the port, but the origin of the name seems to lack specific records, so I’m told. The 40-metre Fiddle Case Pier there now is 400 metres upstream of that dramatic Boyne Viaduct vista and past the shipping quays.

A joint venture between the port and Louth County Council, it’s intended to provide for expansion, depending upon demand, which could increase with the opening up of maritime access to the Boyne Valley upon which the Boyne Navigation Group has been doing tremendous work to enable boats make their way up the Boyne.

This weekend the port will host the annual Maritime Festival and another piece of history when the French Navy visits for the first time. With Tall Ships and leisure craft gathered it will highlight the leisure aspect with the commercial at a time when the Port is at work on a Master Plan for the next twenty years or so and has put its subsidiary Bremore Port up for sale.

Big changes then at Drogheda and a port which is putting more emphasis on the leisure marine in the context of port development.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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The award-winning Irish Maritime festival is back. Taking place this weekend (16-17th June) in Drogheda Port, it’s a super-sized maritime celebration and it suitable for all ages. Hosted by Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company in conjunction with Virgin Media, the event sees Drogheda’s busy working port converted into a weekend-long festival of all things maritime.

Parade of Sail: Friday 15th June, 12 noon

The whole event kicks off on Friday afternoon as the beautiful ships sailing to Drogheda Port. The ships muster at the mouth of the Boyne at noon and sail in a procession right up to the Town Quays. The best vantage point Is out at the Maiden’s Tower in Mornington where spectators have a birds-eye view of all the ships arriving.

Droghedas Magnificent Maritime Parade of SailDrogheda's Magnificent Maritime Parade of Sail

Tall Ships in Drogheda

There is a fantastic array of ships to look forward to this year. The Tall Ships include The Phoenix, The Earl of Pembroke, Johanna Lucrectia, The Keewaydin. They will be joined by three French Naval Vessels, the Altair, the Antares and the Aldebaran, each of whom will be available to board over the weekend.

"The Tall Ships include The Phoenix, The Earl of Pembroke, Johanna Lucrectia, The Keewaydin"

Back by very, very popular demand is the Liverpool-based tugboat the Brocklebank and her crew. They were such a hit last year, with queues to visit them both days, that it was just essential to bring them back again this year.

All ships will be open from 12.30 to 4.30pm, but it’s worth getting there early to ensure you don’t miss out. Festival gates open at 11.00am daily.

The Stowaway Sessions

(Friday 15th June and Saturday 16th June, 7.30pm)

2017 saw the inaugural “Stowaway Sessions” that the Irish Maritime Festival. Each night, the deck of the Earl of Pembroke played host to an intimate music gig with Drogheda’s historic Viaduct as the backdrop. 2018 sees the Stowaway Sessions return with two more incredible gigs – Friday night The Lost Brothers and Eve Belle and Saturday night Declan O’Rourke with Pilgrim Street. Tickets sold out in record time, but watch out for the 2019 progamme that will be announced in mid-April next year – the Stowaway Sessions are truly special gigs.

Maritime Education Zone

The Irish Maritime festival proper commences at 11am on Saturday morning as gates open to the public. Discover the Maritime Learning Zone which includes displays and crews from the RNLI, Inland Waterways Ireland, the Irish Coast Guard and many others. Enjoy boat displays from Boyne Boats, Power Kites and Sand Yachts. Learn all about the sea and measures to protect our seas with the crew from 'Seastainability'.

"The Drogheda Sail Training Bursary will give two more teams of youngsters from Drogheda the chance to learn to sail"

Sailors in the Making

The Drogheda Sail Training Bursary will give two more teams of youngsters from Drogheda the chance to learn to sail as part of the Irish Maritime Festival 2018. Departing in the Sail Training vessel, The Brian Boru, each team will take part in a week-long voyage at sea to learn how to sail. The adventure not only teaches sailing skills but valuable life skills of teamwork, communications and compromise. This award-winning scheme has trained over 100 young sailors in the past 5 years.

Boyne Swim

The challenging Boyne Swim is back. Cheer on the 200+ brave Boyne swimmers as they race the 2.7km down the Boyne on Saturday afternoon. With visitors from all over Ireland and Europe, this is a hotly contested title.

Boat Races

Watch out for the elegant yachts as the race up the Boyne, competing in the Howth-Drogheda Yacht Challenge on Saturday.

Spot the beautiful little Water Wags as they sail under the bridges of Drogheda up to the Boyne Canal and historic Oldbridge House on Saturday morning. Then watch them race up and down the Boyne on Sunday.

The Festival Sounds Fabulous

Music is a huge part of the Irish Maritime Festival this year is no different. It will be rocking to the music from 2 live stages for 2018. The first, the Fleadh stage will showcase Trad musicians from across the region ahead of the Fleadh in August.

The Ballast Key Stage promises to get your heart racing with up-and-coming acts to surprise and delight. Hosted by Gerry Hodgers of The Purple Sessions in Boyle’s of Slane. His line-up of acts always impresses the Festival audience. Watch out for Declan Garry and The Skins and Hats on Saturday and Davina Brady and Gerry Simpson’s Gospel Choir and Fuzz Gigolo on Sunday. The full line-up of acts performing on the ballast key stage is available on www.Maritime festival.ie/music.

Fabulous Food at Droghedas Irish Maritime FestivalFabulous Food at Droghedas Irish Maritime Festival

Maritime Festival Tastes Delicious

Enjoy A Taste of Ireland’s Ancient East in the super-sized food zone at this year’s Irish Maritime festival. Hosted by Boyne Valley Flavours, this event is part of the Boyne Valley Food Series 2018. A series of cookery demos will include TV3’s Chef Tara Walker and local chefs from across the region. Meet the producers behind some of the most wonderful local food brands that you know and enjoy. Ticket your taste buds with tastings of different products and who knows you might even take something tasty home with you!

There’s So Much To See And Do!

All your family favourites are back at the Irish Maritime Festival 2018. Finn McCool’s Fairground has lots of fun rides to enjoy. The ever-popular Sand Shanty includes our giant sandpit on the big day, your chance to discover archaeological treasures. Be amazed by our magician. Test your response times in the Road Safety Authority simulators. Unleash your artistic talents in the art zone.

Capt. Martin Donnelly, Harbourmaster at Drogheda Port concludes “There are loads to see and do at the Irish Maritime Festival 2018, especially our fabulous line-ups of ships. It offers fun and activity for all ages. The Irish Maritime Festival is truly is a family-friendly event that showcases our all that’s great in this maritime town. We look forward to welcoming visitors from far and wide to visit Drogheda this weekend.”

The Irish Maritime Festival takes place on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June and is hosted by Louth County Council in conjunction with Drogheda Port Company. The Festival is proudly sponsored by Virgin Media and supported by Flogas, Glanbia and Fáilte Ireland. For more information visit www.MaritimeFestival.ie

The Irish Maritime Festival Details

Dates: Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June 2018
Opening Hours: 11.00-18.00hrs (Ships open 12.30-16.30hrs)
Ticket Prices: Children under 12 Free (must be accompanied by an adult)
12 – 18-year-olds €3.00 Adults €8.00
Concessions* €5.00
* Concessions apply to students (with a valid student card), senior citizens (aged 60+), people with a disability and their carer.
Website: www.MaritimeFestival.ie

Host: The Irish Maritime Festival is planned and managed by Louth County Council in conjunction with Drogheda Port and sponsored by Virgin Media
Animals: Service dogs are welcome however other animals are not permitted.
Ships: List of visiting ships: www.maritimefestival.ie/ships

Published in Drogheda Port

Next weekend, the Irish Maritime Festival in Drogheda Port welcomes the French Navy for the very first time. On Friday, as part of the Parade of Sail (noon on Friday 15th June), three French Sonar Towing Ships will join the Tall Ships, Tug Boats and yachts as they sail up the Boyne. On Saturday and Sunday, festival goers will have a chance to board the vessels and explore.

The 3 Minesweepers, M770 Antares, M771 Altair and M772 Aldebaran were commissioned in 1993. They were ordered to replace the last of the oceanic minesweepers and act as sonar tugs. Built in the Socarenam shipyard in Boulange-sur-Mer, they are similar in shape and size to trawlers. These strong and powerful vessels act as sonar towing ships.

Their role in the French Navy is to provide surveillance for French vessels accessing the Atlantic ports, especially Brest where the Oceanic Strategic Force are positioned. The purpose of their work is to detect and destroy mines in the water that could detonate, damaging vessels and harming crew. They do this by sonar surveillance of the seabed using the DUBM44 sonar system.

They also play a pivotal role in the training of navigation students and engage in public security missions including sea-rescue and wrecks reconnaissance.

Each one is 28m long and nearly 8m wide. They travel at a maximum speed of 11knots and have an engine capable of 3,500 miles, powered by a Baudoin 800 horsepower engine. They travel with 25 crew on board each one.

The names Altair, Antares and Aldebaran are derived from stars in the sky, which have always acted as important markers for maritime navigators. Each of these are the brightest stars in their respective constellations, Aquila, Scorpius and Taurus.

Visitors to the Irish Maritime Festival can visit Altair, Antares and Aldebaran (and the other visiting ships) on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June between 12.30-4.30pm. Festival gates open at 11.00am each day and early arrival is recommended to allow sufficient time to visit all the vessels.

The Irish Maritime Festival at Drogheda Port is a family friendly two-day celebration of all things maritime and includes Tall Ships, tugboats, yachts and a maritime education zone. Watch the Water Wags racing up and down the river. Cheer on the 250 participants in The Boyne Swim. Kick back with chilled out tunes on the 2 live music stages and enjoy the delighted of the Boyne Valley in the food zone. For more visit: www.maritimefestival.ie

The Irish Maritime Festival takes place on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June and is hosted by Louth County Council in conjunction with Drogheda Port Company. The Festival is sponsored by Virgin Media and supported by Flogas, Glanbia and Fáilte Ireland.

More on the Drogheda Maritime Festival website here

Published in Drogheda Port
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The Irish Maritime Festival will be centre-stage on RTE Nationwide tonight at 7.00pm on RTÉ One as the full half-hour programme is dedicated to its recent staging at Drogheda Port on the River Boyne. It will feature the Boyne Swim, the visiting Tall Ships, the new Fiddle Case Pier, Drogheda’s Sail Training Bursary and all the colour of the festival.

Published in Maritime TV

The Boyne Swim will once again headline the Irish Maritime Festival taking place in Drogheda Port this summer.

200+ competitors will take to the river Boyne to swim the 2.7km tidal route.

Ray Donagh of Drogheda Triathlon Club is one of the Boyne Swim organisers. He explains: "The Boyne Swim takes place at 12.50pm on Saturday 10th June. The first swimmers will pass by the Tall Ships of the Irish Maritime Festival about 25 minutes later with the first swimmer crossing the finish line by 1.25pm."

2016 saw the ever-popular local man and ex-Olympian Colin Lowth take the title. With a very strong start, he led the field all the way and was a very worthy winner. He was presented with the Drogheda Port Company Boyne Swim perpetual trophy designed by artist Ronan Halpin.

Now in its 4th year, the race has garnered a reputation for being tough but enjoyable. Ray explains “Swimmers taking part in Open Water Swimming will typically have spent the winter and spring training in the pool about 3 times per week averaging around 10 K. Open Water swimming by its very nature means swimming in water temperatures of 12 C to 15 C. Swimmers will begin acclimatising to the colder water temp with weekly swims in the sea, rivers and lakes over the next month.”

Swimmers from right across the country will flock to Drogheda for this challenging river swim. The Boyne swim even attracts visitors from across Europe. "This year we welcome swimmers from Germany, France and Sweden among other countries" continues Ray. "Staging the race allows us to forge relationships with swimming clubs in other countries and encourage them to visit the beautiful Boyne Valley and be part of the swim in the historic river Boyne".

To find out more about the race visit www.BoyneSwim.ie. The Irish Maritime Festival is hosted by Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company in association with Virgin Media. Find out more by visiting www.MaritimeFestival.ie

Published in Drogheda Port

The maritime buoy located at the Mall area of Drogheda town is now well established as a unique artistic canvas and a talking point since it was first used as a canvas back in 2012. St. Patricks Day marked the showcasing of the buoys modern new look following a community art project led by local visual artist Jene Hinds-Kelly, a mature art student in DIFE. This community project was a creative collaboration between Jene, Drogheda Homeless Aid, Murtaghs of Drogheda and Drogheda Port Company who initiated the project.

For the last few weeks Jene has been working hard with a group of volunteers from the Drogheda Homeless Aid to complete this piece of art in between dodging rain showers! The creative and visually striking design consists of much use of bright colours at the top and bottom with the main body of the buoy depicting outlines of people. Jene and the volunteers decided on this design which they based on the theme of ‘community inclusion and positive vibes in difficult times’. The design is a bright and vibrant piece of visual art that is designed to capture the imagination and smile of passers-by.

‘It was a super experience for me as an artist to work on this unique structure as it’s new to me. The weather was quite unpredictable but that aside I am thrilled with the result and would like to thank all those involved.’ said artist Jene Hinds-Kelly

The project was generously supported by Murtaghs of Drogheda who supplied all of the paint and material required. Austin Clark was the coordinator of the volunteers from the Drogheda Homeless Aid.

‘The 'Mall Buoy' is a decommissioned maritime marker buoy which saw service on the Irish coast for many decades in the last century and is traditionally painted starboard green. This buoy now offers itself as a very unique and public canvas and has been brightening up the Mall area of the port since it was first placed there. This year a community project seemed the perfect way to repaint the buoy with a new theme. We have worked well with the Drogheda Homeless Aid previously on a mural art project and approached them again with this project. Under the artistic lead of Jene and the homeless aid volunteers the finished project is visually stunning and adds so much to the area and location.’ said Nessa Lally of Drogheda Port Company.

Published in Drogheda Port
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#LargestShip - The largest ever cargoship to dock at Drogheda Port berthed at the Co. Louth's downriver terminal at Tom Roes Point.

The MV Botnia arrived on 20 January from Klaipeda in Lithuania. The vessel having taken a seven day sea voyage with a cargo of 5,500 tonnes of animal feed for Cefetra Limited.

Drogheda has been building considerable trading links with Klaipeda over the past few years with regular calls increasing each year. It is one of the few ice-free ports in northernmost Europe and has a throughput volume larger than any port in Ireland.

The Botnia is registered in Antigua and Barbuda and has a deadweight carrying capacity of 8,300 tonnes.

The previous largest vessel was the MV ‘Arklow Bridge’ in 2012 with a deadweight carrying capacity 7,175 tonnes.

Botnia at 121m in length was assisted by the tug Mourne Pride which was dispatched from Greenore Port and the workboat tender Boyne Protector. 

Published in Drogheda Port

#MajorUpgrade - Polar small cruiseship operator, Quark Expeditions’ whose Sea Adventurer under another guise made a historic first but only cruise call visit to Drogheda Port is to undergo a major renovation, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The former Clipper Adventurer then on charter to Noble Caledonia made the historic occasion by berthing on the Boyne as Afloat reported in 2012 (scroll down for photo) is to undergo a major $8.5 million investment. The project involves renovation and upgrade work beginning in April 2017 at the Ulstein Verft in Norway.

The extensive works to the 4,367 gross tonnage Sea Adventurer will not just be focused on passenger facilities of the 132 traveller /83 crew run ship but significant technical enhancements – including two new engines – to improve fuel efficiency and minimize carbon footprint.

Passenger areas are to recieve a new look and feel throughout with a forward lounge and observation deck to enjoy mesmerizing polar views be it the Arctic or Antartica. As for accommodation, alterations are to include some new cabins and every cabin will get a new bathroom.

On completion of the dry-docking works, she is to emerge as the renamed Ocean Adventurer with a renaming ceremony to take place on 17 June next year for Quark, part of the TUI Adventure Division.

The works are more the remarkable given the veteran vessel has been in service for four decades having been built in 1976 at a Yugoslavian shipyard as the Alla Tarasova. Originally the Russian ship served as a coastal passenger ship for the Murmansk Shipping Company.

To embark on such an investment is down to Sea Adventurer’s structural integrity given a robust ice-strengthened hull. She is one of an octet of similar ships. It was Clipper Cruise Line that had the ship rebuilt almost a decade ago in 2007 for expedition cruising as Clipper Adventurer.

Published in Cruise Liners
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