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Displaying items by tag: SAR

Industrial action by Irish Coast Guard search and rescue pilots scheduled to begin yesterday (Thursday 24 January) has been called off to allow for further talks, as TheJournal.ie reports.

Pilots have sat down with coastguard helicopter operator CHC Ireland a number of times this week to find a resolution to a long-running dispute over rostering hours.

In a letter to the Labour Court yesterday, Brendan O’Hanlon of trade union Fórsa, whose branch Ialpa represents the pilots, wrote: “Following local last-minute discussions designated to avert the pending action, it has been agreed to defer any action to allow further engagement.”

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

The Irish Times reports that helicopter search and rescue pilots with the Irish Coast Guard are to take industrial action from Thursday (24 January) in a dispute over rostering hours.

Brendan O’Hanlon of trade union Fórsa, whose branch Ialpa represents the pilots, said the issues had been an “ongoing problem” for 18 months and that the SAR service “is over-reliant on overtime in order to maintain the level required”.

CHC Ireland, which operates the service, says it has the full compliment of coastguard pilots needed to operate.

From noon on Thursday pilots are set to engage in work-to-rule action, meaning they will work a fixed pattern of six days of work, including three 24-hour shifts, followed by three days off.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

Donegal based startup, DroneSAR Ltd has won the European Commission prize announced last night (7 November 2017) in Tallinn, Estonia at the awards ceremony for the 14th European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) winners. DroneSAR Ltd were awarded this prize for the development of software which transforms standard “off-the-shelf” drone and mobile device pairings into enhanced search and rescue (SAR) data transmission technology that will save lives.

The European Commission Prize - the Copernicus Masters Services Challenge - is one of a range of challenges and prizes on offer to the 321 finalists in the ESNC competition. It is awarded for innovative uses of the European Commission operated Copernicus program products. The Copernicus program is a European Union Programme aimed at developing European information services based on satellite Earth Observation data and implemented in partnership with Member States, the European Space Agency (ESA) and a number of other European organisations.

DroneSAR Ltd were presented with a cheque from the European Commission, which is in addition to their award as Ireland Region Winner. The Ireland Region Competition for the annual ESNC awards has been organised and sponsored by National Space Centre Ltd since 2012.

DroneSAR Ltd is the brainchild of it’s four co-founders who each possess expertise and skill-sets specific to the world of drone technology, network and satellite communication and SAR coordination and emergency response.

CEO Oisin McGrath said “DroneSAR makes it possible to use affordable, “off-the-shelf” drone technology to expedite successful outcomes during emergency response incidents. It delivers the right data to the right people at the right time when agencies are faced with time and resource constraints. We are delighted to have won this award from the European Commission.

Each member of the DroneSAR team has contributed to realise a software product that will play a major part in ensuring that emergency response time-frames, incident coordination, decisions and successful outcomes will be realised across all sectors of the emergency response and humanitarian relief environment.”

To deliver the service, DroneSAR Ltd has partnered with leading outdoor pursuit software providers Viewranger, global maritime distress software company SafeTRX and medical distress location software, Medimee, all of which will allow victim position data to be sent to DroneSAR software for automatic flight to the location.

Rory Fitzpatrick, CEO National Space Centre said “This is worthy recognition for an outstanding product that has both commercial and lifesaving potential. We are incredibly proud to see this young Irish company perform so strongly on the international stage.”

National Space Centre Ltd is based at Elfordstown Earthstation, Midleton and delivers uplink and downlink services to domestic and international teleport and satellite communications markets.

Published in Rescue

#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) details the proper hi-line protocols when receiving assistance from a search and rescue helicopter.

The notice follows the findings of last year’s MCIB report into the sinking of the fishing trawler Iúda Naofa off Scotland in January 2015.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, it was determined that the crew of the trawler lacked knowhow regarding the use of hi-line, which meant they were unable to release an emergency pump dropped to the vessel on a standard clasp from a UK coastguard helicopter.

Full details are included of Marine Notice No 3 of 2017, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Rescue

#Coastguard - Coastguard volunteers are calling for the service to be designated as a ‘standalone primary response agency’, as the Irish Examiner reports.

A four-person delegation representing some 1,000 volunteers with the Irish Coast Guard pleaded their case with front bench TDs at Leinster House last week for the search and rescue side of the service to be safeguarded along the lines of the Garda, ambulance and fire services.

Among their complaints, the volunteers cite political manoeuvring at the expense of the service, along with “decisions being made by managers” in the Department of Transport “who have no direct involvement with the emergency services”.

In other coastguard news, volunteers from the Doolin unit were involved in the recovery of the body of a woman following a three-day search off the Cliffs of Moher. The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#Drones - Remote-piloted aircraft or ‘drones’ could revolutionise search and rescue operations around the Irish coast, as the Southern Star reports.

Following a demonstration by Civil Defence Ireland to West Cork emergency services last week, the Irish Coast Guard and others are now exploring how to utilise drone technology in their SAR efforts.

“It’s an ideal resource in areas like West Cork where you have a lot of upland terrain and rocky headlands as well as huge stretches of coastline,” said civil defence officer Niall Twomey.

“The drone can get into these places much faster than searchers on the ground and do it safely too so it can be a huge assistance.”

Twomey is part of a new project developing drone-based search teams across Ireland, two of which are based in Cork at Skibbereen and Kinsale, utilising the heavy-duty Typhoon H remote-piloted aircraft.

The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#Search - Two bodies have been found in the search for the missing crew of a fishing vessel that sank off Scotland's Western Isles early yesterday (Saturday 9 April).

One crew member was taken to hospital by helicopter as UK Coastguard teams from Stornaway and Prestwick joined the Barra RNLI lifeboat, local fishing vessels and Police Scotland in the search and rescue operation for three missing crewmates, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

One fisherman remains missing after two bodies were recovered yesterday afternoon off Mingulay. Next of kin are aware and police officers are in contact with the families.

Mark Rodaway, national maritime operations commander for the UK Coastguard, said: “Despite an intensive search including the helicopters, lifeboat and other fishing vessels in the area, we have been unable to locate the missing fisherman. Our thoughts are with all those involved.”

Chief Inspector Alastair Garrow of Police Scotland said: "At this time we can confirm that the bodies of two men have been recovered. A third man was rescued and was taken to hospital at Stornoway. He is not seriously injured.

"A fourth man was on the boat and is still missing. The next of kin of all the men have been informed.

Chief Insp Garrow added: "An investigation will be carried out in parallel with the police and the Marine Accident and Investigation Branch (MAIB) and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

"This has been a tragic incident which will impact on the local community. Our thoughts are with the families affected."

The search has now been scaled back pending further information.

Published in Rescue

#Search - One crew member from a fishing vessel has been rescued as the search continues for three others after the boat sank off Scotland's Western Isles in the early hours of this morning (Saturday 9 April).

The UK Coastguard received a distress alert just before 3:45am when the fishing vessel with four crew on board has its emergency positioning beacon (EPIRB) activated near Mingulay.

The coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Stornoway has since been searching the area along with the Barra RNLI lifeboat.

One crew member has been taken to hospital by the helicopter. The lifeboat remains in the area and the coastguard helicopter from Prestwick has taken over so the search can continue.

Published in Rescue

#COASTGUARD - The Irish Coast Guard marked the 10th anniversary of search and rescue (SAR) operations at Waterford Airport recently.

As Waterford News reports, Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds spoke at the special event on 10 May, commending the Waterford helicopter crew for their "very courageous work in often difficult flying conditions" and "their ongoing efforts to make us safer on land and water".

Reynolds also paid tribute to the crew of Rescue 111, which went down in dense fog in the sand dunes at Tramore beach while returning from a rescue mission on 2 July 1999.

The evening also marked another anniversary, with the current Sikorsky S61 rescue helicopter just completing its 50th year of flying.

Reynolds confirmed that it will be retired next year and replaced by one of the new custom-fitted S92 helicopters under the service's €500 million deal with CHC Ireland.

Meanwhile, the Waterford base chief pilot Dara Fitzpatrick thanked the public's support for the service over the years, and especially when planned cutbacks threatened to restrict operations to daylight hours.

"We were thrilled with that support," he said, "hey came out and said no, the service can't go, and we will also be eternally grateful for that."

Waterford News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#COASTGUARD - Canada's L-3 Wescam has announced it will be providing electro-optical and infrared imaging systems for the Irish Coast Guard's revamped search and rescue helicopter fleet, starting with the new Sikorsky S-92 based at Shannon.

“This order pairs the most modern SAR helicopter with the most advanced EO/IR sensor to provide a vital capability for lifesaving missions,” said Paul Jennison, vice president of government sales and business development for L-3 Wescam.

The company describes its MXTM-15 system as a one-line replacement unit solution, which reduces installation weight by 25% and increases much-needed cabin space for transporting rescue victims.

The system’s digital infrared camera is capable of a 20% increase in visual range, allowing missions at night or in inclement weather to result in a higher search success rate.

In addition, the system comes with WESCAM’s MX-GEO Gen 3 software package which helps deliver maximum geographic location accuracy and significantly reduces operator fatigue that often arises in demanding and stressful SAR operations.

Imaging system upgrades are expected to be rolled out across the Irish Coast Guard's helicopter fleet by the end of next year.

Published in Coastguard
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