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Displaying items by tag: Mediterranean

A number of Irish Naval Service vessels, RTE reports, will not be able to patrol the Mediterranean Sea to assist with the rescue of migrants, the Taoiseach has told the Dáil.

Leo Varadkar said that as three Irish naval vessels are in operational reserve or undergoing maintenance, the navy's operations will be restricted.

Confirming that the Irish Navy will not be in a position to return to the Mediterranean he said: "We will have to focus on our seas and on fishery protection and drug interdiction instead."

Responding to questions from Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, Mr Varadkar said: "Those vessels will be out of service until mid-September and late October. But with current staffing levels it is unlikely they will be brought back into service. So that means three ships will be held in operational reserve or in maintenance with the remaining six vessels fully operational.

"It does mean that some operations will be restricted, for example the naval service will not be able to return to the Mediterranean because we will have to focus on our seas and on fishery protection and drug interdiction instead."

For more including the Taoiseach and response from political opposition click here.

Published in Naval Visits

#Navy - The LÉ Niamh is headed for the Mediterranean today (Friday 6 October) for the Naval Service’s first ever role in an operation directly targeting human traffickers.

As BreakingNews.ie reports, the EU mission Operation Sophia aims to intercept boats used by people-smugglers from the Libyan coast and return migrants to North Africa.

However, the pivot away from rescue missions has been criticised by Sinn Féin’s defence spokesperson Aengus O'Snodaigh, who cites “appalling” conditions for returned migrants in Libyan detention centres.

Published in Navy

#Missing - A Dublin-based man was set to be charged with the murder of his wife, who went missing from a Mediterranean cruise earlier this month.

Daniel Belling, a German citizen and IT professional, was detained this week before boarding a flight from Rome to Dublin, as The Irish Times reports.

The arrest came after the crew of the cruise liner MSC Magnifica discovered that Belling’s wife Li Yinglei did not disembark the vessel with him and their two children at Civitavecchia after a 10-day cruise.

Belling was reportedly being held at Rome’s Regina Coeli prison ahead of formal charges today (Friday 24 February).

In other news, a post-mortem was set to take place today on the body of a man taken from a canal on the River Shannon at Killaloe yesterday.

BreakingNews.ie reports that the man in his 60s was recovered by the local Irish Coast Guard unit after he was seen by a passer-by in the water at Killaloe Bridge.

Published in News Update

#Navy - The Naval Service’s LÉ Samuel Beckett assisted in rescuing 140 migrants from the Mediterranean off Libya this morning (Saturday 3 December), as The Irish Times reports.

Food, water and medical treatment were provided to the people who were transferred from their rubber boat to the rescue vessel MS Aquarius as part of the latest humanitarian operation in the region.

The operation comes just five days after the crew rescued more than 500 migrants from just four rubber vessels off Tripoli, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Navy

#CruiseLiners - A crewman has died during a safety drill on the world's largest cruise liner in the Mediterranean, as AFP reports.

The Filipino was one of five crew members from the Harmony of the Seas who were on board one of the ship's lifeboats when it suddenly detached from the vessel and fell 10 metres into the water below.

Two others on the lifeboat were hospitalised in critical condition after the incident, which occurred after the 362m ocean liner arrived in the port of Marseille in southern France earlier today (Tuesday 13 September).

It's not yet known how the lifeboat came to detach from the cruise liner, which entered service this past May.

According to Mail Online, the ship was described as a 'floating construction site' on its inaugural voyage.

Passengers reported holes in floors and walls, and accident hazards such as cables, blowtorches and power tools left by contractors on the top deck.

Published in Cruise Liners

#Roisin2Med - LÉ Róisín has departed Naval Base at Haulbowline this afternoon (Sunday 1 May) for Ireland's latest search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, LÉ Róisín follows last year's humanitarian missions by LÉ Eithne, LÉ Niahm and LÉ Samuel Beckett in the Mediterranean, where between them they rescued more than 8,500 migrants.

The latest mission, in conjunction with Italian authorities, sees a 57-strong crew set sail today for the Mediterranean as the first deployment for the Naval Service this year under Operation PONTUS.

Published in Navy

#MedRescue - Irish Naval Service personnel came to the rescue of around 380 migrants across three operations in the Mediterranean on Friday (18 September), as the Irish Examiner reports.

The responses off the Libyan coast – which included the rescue of 124 and 127 people respectively from inflatable craft, and saving 129 from a sinking dinghy – bring the LÉ Niamh's total rescued to 3,723.

That tops the number saved by sister ship the LÉ Eithne, which returned from its nine-week deployment in July.

Published in Navy

#NormanAtlantic - A cable used to tow the blaze-damaged Mediterranean ferry Norman Atlantic has snapped, killing two Albanian crewmen, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The incident is the latest in a series of tragedies since fire engulfed the lower decks of the Italian-registered vessel on Sunday 28 December.

As of last night the death toll had risen to 10, reports the Irish Examiner, with officials yet to confirm any people missing from the 478-name passenger manifest.

Some of the 427 people rescued in a difficult operation amid poor weather conditions are not listed on the manifest, suggesting they may have been travelling illegally.

The Guardian has an account from one passenger, British show-jumper Nick Channing-Williams, who described how his fiancee recalled hearing a loud bang early on Sunday morning before a burning smell wafted through the vessel.

Published in News Update

#NormanAtlantic - RTÉ News reports that Italy has launched a criminal investigation into the blaze on the car ferry Norman Atlantic as the Greek government confirms the recovery of four bodies from the site of the disaster off Corfu.

As reported yesterday on Afloat.ie, the ferry sailing the Mediterranean from Greece to Italy called for help after a fire broke out in its lower decks.

Prosecutors will determine whether negligence played a role in the incident as rescue teams continue to battle the elements to evacuate more than 100 passengers who remain on the vessel.

The Guardian says four British nationals are among those rescued so far.

Meanwhile, according to The Irish Times, language difficulties between the crew of the Italian-registered ferry and its predominantly Greek passengers have posed problems on board.

Published in News Update

#Rescue - Some 466 people were being evacuated this morning from a car ferry that reported a fire on board while sailing from Greece to Italy this morning, according to RTÉ News.

As of 8am this morning Irish time, 130 people had been moved from the Norman Atlantic via a rescue boat to a nearby container ship some 44 nautical miles west of Corfu.

Passengers have described a lack of co-ordination in the evacuation effort since the fire broke out at 4am Irish time.

"They tried to lower some boats, but not all of us could get in," one person claiming to be a passenger told a Greek TV station by phone.

And as The Irish Times reports, poor weather in the area - with wind speeds of up to 88km per hour - has made the rescue effort "complicated".

“We are doing everything we can to save those on board and no one, no one will be left helpless in this tough situation,” said Greek shipping minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis.

The incident comes almost three years after the wrecking of the Costa Concordia in the waters off western Italy.

RTÉ News has more on this developing story HERE.

Published in Rescue
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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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