Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Shipping

#portofcork – The Port of Cork Company has reported increased total traffic volumes of over 5% for the first six months of 2012. This is in strong contrast with recent figures released by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) which showed a significant decrease in shipping volumes across Irish ports when six key seaports are taken into account.

Container traffic (Lo/Lo) increased by over 5% compared to the same period in 2011, with imports up nearly 6% and exports up almost 5%. Figures taking into account traffic in all Irish ports have shown a decline in imports of 4% and a decline in exports of 2% for the first six months of 2012.

Dry bulk cargoes also continued to perform well with the Port of Cork maintaining traffic volumes at 2011 levels for the first and second quarter of 2012. With a reported decline of -6% from all Irish ports, Cork has seen a notable rise in imports of animal feedstuffs and coal. Overall, bulk cargoes (break & liquid) are up 3% compared to the same period in 2011.

Port of Cork continues to see an increase in oil traffic with imports over 6% and exports up 7% while non-oil traffic also increased by 3% when compared to the same period in 2011.

Commenting on the traffic figures for the Port of Cork, Brendan Keating CEO said "2012 to date has seen our traffic volumes in a growth mode as we continue to serve as Southern Ireland's gateway for trade. The Port of Cork is perfectly placed as a trading hub for European and the American Markets with its deep water facilities and as such we are continuing to expand and grow our facilities to meet our customer's demands. As a port, our strength is in the diversity of our trades such as oil, chemicals, gas, coal, wood, animal feed, fertiliser, off-shore supply and ferries."

Another growth sector is our cruise business with the Port of Cork welcoming a total of 60 cruise liners calling in 2012, bringing over 100,000 passengers and crew to the region. The ports deep water and dedicated cruise terminal means it is the only port in Ireland capable of handling these vessels alongside. These cruise visits are estimated to bring in some €17 million and 200 full-time-equivalent jobs to the local economy.

Published in Port of Cork

#NAVAL SERVICE - The Irish Times reports that a Russian vessel suspected of shipping arms to Syria was under surveillance by the Naval Service earlier this week.

The 130m cargo ship MV Alaed - with a stated destination of Vladivostok in the far east of Russia - appeared to be headed for the western coast of Ireland, and the Naval Service were preparing to board and search the ship pending legal advice.

But the Naval Service and Irish Coast Guard both stood down their watch when the vessel changed course off Scotland, after its insurance cover was revoked.

Standard Club, the UK-based insurer, confirmed it withdrew its cover due to the allegations that the MV Alaed was carrying arms destined for Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

Ships have the right of free passage in international waters provided they are flying their flag and pose no imminent threat to the marine environment.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Navy
Tagged under

#SHIPPING – On 7th March 2012, Miroslaw Pozniak, the master of the merchant ship 'Union Moon', registered in the Cook Islands, was outbound from the port of Belfast when he collided with the inbound ferry 'Stena Feronia'

There were 51 passengers and 47 crew onboard the ferry and six people onboard the cargo ship. Fortunately no one was injured in the collision, however there was substantial damage to both ships.

The two ships were approaching the fairway buoy which marks the beginning of the main channel into Belfast harbour. As the 'Union Moon' passed the Fairway Buoy, she should have altered course to starboard on to an easterly heading, but unexpectedly altered course to port in to the port side of the approaching ferry.

Captain Pozniak pleaded guilty at court in Newtonards on the 12 March 2012 to breaches of the Railways and Transport Act 2003 by being four times over the alcohol limit. At a later hearing he was also charged with failing to keep a proper lookout and to causing serious damage to his own ship and to the 'Stena Feronia'.

Sentencing Mr Pozniac at Downpatrick Crown Court the Judge said:

"I believe that any sentence cannot be suspended. This sentence makes it clear that the following of the regulations, both in relation to alcohol and also in relation to the charting and proper adherence to accepted routes, is of vital importance. The ending of your 30 year career and this sentence effectively demonstrate that."

The Master was given a custodial sentence of 12 months on each of the three counts to run concurrently.

Captain Bill Bennett, Area Operations Manager (Survey and Inspection) for the MCA said;

"This was a very serious accident. It could so easily have been a dreadful tragedy but fortunately there were no injuries or fatalities. It is a matter of concern to the MCA that misuse of alcohol continues to play a part in a number of maritime accidents."

Published in Ports & Shipping
Tagged under

#ISLANDNATION – The sinking of the Titanic in 1912, remembered so much this year in the centenary of the disaster, is probably the most well-known shipwreck, but it is not the greatest maritime disaster ever. If you want to know what that was, go to the full edition of THIS ISLAND NATION, where this week there is more about shipping, the marine environment, fishing and many other aspects of the maritime world. The great variety of the marine sector is what makes it so interesting to write about and report.

The announcement today that, with jobs needed, 21 seafood companies are to provide 142 in Wexford, Dublin, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Louth and Kerry, underlines the importance of the fishing industry which should indicate its economic benefits. It is good to see the industry advancing.

The Irish Ports and Shipping sector is heavily influenced by events globally and, as Glenn Murphy, Director of the Irish Maritime Development Office has pointed out, when the volume of shipping and port traffic drops, that indicates the problems in the Irish economy. This is another example of how this nation depends on the sea. The latest figures were released to the European Shortsea Conference in Dublin yesterday.

Published in Island Nation

#SHIPPING – The volume of shipping and port traffic through the Republic of Ireland declined in the first quarter of 2012. This is according to the latest figures released by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) at the European Shortsea Conference being held at the Mansion House in Dublin today.

The first quarter data indicates that only 1 of the 5 principal freight segments had any growth over the first quarter while all other freight segments declined or recorded no growth compared to the same period last year.


Freight Segments:

- Lift-on/Lift-off (Lo/lo) trades were down -1%.

- Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro/ro) declined by -3%.

- Dry bulk volumes was unchanged 0%,

- Tanker/Liquid bulk market was up +30%.

- Break bulk volumes were down by -4%

Total container traffic (Lo/lo) declined by 1% during the first three months of the year. Exports a subset of these figures grew by 1% in the first quarter as weakened economic trading conditions prevailed internationally, in particular in Europe. Imports fell by 2% in the first quarter. This represents the 17th consecutive quarter of declining import volumes. As a result, this has seen shipping and logistics firms strategically importing empty containers to address the reduction of laden containers imports into Ireland in recent years. In Quarter 1 2012 alone, the IMDO have calculated that 5% more empty containers were imported into Ireland to meet exporters needs.

Roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) traffic declined in the Republic of Ireland by 3%. The majority of Ro/Ro freight from Ireland is destined for the United Kingdom. This decline in traffic is clearly reflected in the continued uncertainly in UK as their economy shrank in the first quarter, sliding into its first double dip recession since the 1970's. A considerable amount of Ro-Ro freight is destined for supermarket multiple and FMCG sectors both domestically and cross channel. These sectors particularly in the UK have reported significant downturns in sales in 2012 so far.

Dry bulk volumes were stagnant through Irish ports during the first three months of 2012. However, animal feed, peat moss and iron ore are significant products in this freight segment and ones which continue to perform strongly. Demand for aluminum remained strong internationally, particularly from China.

Liquid bulk volumes of tanker based petroleum products increased by 30% in the first quarter. This increase was driven by Bantry Bay which recorded a marked increase in its international trans-shipment activity at its crude oil and products facility. Domestic oil consumption remained weak and if we exclude trans-shipment storage, then volumes would have increased by just over 1%.

Break bulk volumes have continued its decline into Quarter 1, by 4 per cent. This freight segment was extensively linked to the construction boom as products shipped in this segment include timber and steal. Break volumes passing through Irish ports have declined by 40 per cent since 2008 but this rate of decline has eased considerably since 2010. Scrap metal exports continued to increase in volume as this commodity's price remains high into 2012.


The Irish Ports and Shipping sector is heavily influenced by events globally. As the stability of the European economy remains fragile, uncertainty for Irish consumers and businesses will inevitably persist, which will be clearly reflected in freight volumes passing through Irish ports. Exports in the short-term will continue to drive economic growth, which has been aided by favourable exchange rates in recent months. The Port of Rotterdam, which is Ireland's main Deep-Sea connection to countries outside of Europe, is optimistic that their volumes will show a modest increase in the latter half of 2012, which is a good sign for Irish businesses exporting globally.

Keynote speech delivered by Mr Leo Varadkar T.D. Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport at the European Shortsea Convention 2012

Round Room, Mansion House, Dublin.

May 24th 2012

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests

I'm delighted to have the opportunity to address this European Shortsea conference today. First of all, I should like to congratulate both the IMDO and Coastlink on taking the initiative to organize this year's conference, and for assembling such a strong lineup of speakers. Speaking as Minister for Tourism I should also like to  welcome all those delegates that have travelled from overseas to participate at this year's event.

Today's European conference is timely. Important questions are being debated here and internationally about the challenges facing the Eurozone.

The European Commission has identified Ports and Shipping as important engines for future economic growth. The latest estimate from the European Commission identifies that over 800,000 enterprises, employing more than 3 million people directly, are located within European port community clusters.

European ports are already the transit point for up to 90% of Europe's freight movements with the rest of the world, and 40% of the internal market.  The internal market in Europe still accounts for over 60% of all of Ireland's trade, which in itself signifies the important role that shortsea services play in the day to day competitiveness of Ireland's economy.

I understand that this is the fourth time that this Conference has been hosted in Ireland but it is my first opportunity to speak at this event since our Government came into office last year.  I know that there are many delegates from across Europe representing significant maritime interests, with investments directly in Ireland, or, connected to a service from Ireland.

It is important therefore to tell you that one of the key priorities of the current government when elected was to restore the standing of Ireland, and in particular, restore our reputation as a place to do business.  Despite the prevailing turbulent global and European economic environment, Ireland has made significant progress in bringing our public finances under control and returning our economy to export led growth.

Our current balance of payments is positive. We are forecasting modest GDP growth this year, while the European Commission expects that our GDP growth will accelerate to 2% in 2013.  This has not been a painless process and individuals and business have had to make sacrifices to achieve the progress we have made so far, in order to stabilize the economy.

Ireland as an island trading economy is highly dependent on Shortsea shipping. 100% of our container and unitised traffic is carried via intra-European Shortsea services.

I wish to stress also the importance, from a Government perspective, that we continue to encourage and maintain frequent, competitive, andmodern European Shortsea shipping services from Irish Ports.

As an open economy we are more exposed to changes in the external global and European environment. The recent publication of the Irish Maritime Transport Economist by the IMDO illustrated the volatility in our economy last year.

While 2011 started positively with some economic growth in the first quarter of the year, this economic growth lost momentum as concerns about the pace of the global recovery and underlying issues in Europe started to emerge.  This was mirrored in our Irish shipping volumes which had a strong first quarter before slowing down in the second quarter and turning flat to negative to year end.

The latest first quarter data for 2012 released by the IMDO shows that demand has remained relatively subdued.  However, exports, which have been one of the cornerstones of our recovery over the past 3 years, rose by 3% during the first quarter.

We are confident that when the Eurozone economy  returns to growth, that Ireland, with its lower operating cost base and a strong export sector, will be well positioned to quickly respond to demand from the global markets.  This is why it is important that we have a ports and shipping sector both in Ireland and Europe that continues to remain, efficient, effective and above all competitive.

Speaking at the recent European Ports Conference, Dimitrios Theologitis, Head of the Maritime Transport and Ports Policy Unit, outlined its plans for an industry wide consultation of European Ports Policy later this year.

The impact assessment on the revision of the EU framework for ports services was launched in 2011 and will take until the end of 2012. It will involve extensive consultation with all stakeholders and the commissioning  of various fact-finding studies. It will also rely on dialogue with the social partners in the sector. The Commission will draw conclusions and they plan to put forward fine-tuned proposals in relation to future EU Ports policy in 2013.

In Ireland, I am committed to the publication of a new ports policy this year. It is crucial that Ireland's commercial ports continue to provide the best possible service to the economy at large, as it returns to growth. Planning future port capacity is one of the many issues being addressed as part of the Ports Policy Review currently underway in my Department.

Our current ports policy will require a radical overhaul. The existing structure treats our nine port companies as though they were the same size, scale and have the same role to play, while this is clearly not the case. The circumstances in each port are quite different and need to be dealt with on a case by case basis. Ports serving significantly different markets, which vary greatly in terms of size and scale, have different potential, far higher risks and have different futures.

Evidently, there is a hierarchy of ports that are made up of core ports that serve large strategic volumes of national trade, and a number of smaller ports that have a more regional role.  It is vital that our new national ports policy provides an appropriate framework for our commercial ports. A framework that allows our ports develop and respond as required to the needs of our economy; a framework that recognises that changes at a global level requires action at a national level to ensure that Ireland is served by first class commercial seaports.

I'm committed with the officials from my Department to complete and publish this review in the coming months during which we intend to engage with the all of the stakeholders involved in this process to ensure we have a sustainable ports sector that reflects the changing transport demands of our economy.

My Department has also engaged in the recent European Commission's consultation on State Aid Guidelines for Maritime Transport.  We believe that the State Aid Guidelines have broadly delivered on what they intended to achieve over the past decade and that we advocate that these guidelines should be extended, and where possible improved, to continue to underpin shipping as an important growth driver for Europe.

I am also committed to the retention of the Tonnage Tax scheme in Ireland which is directly relevant to many of our shortsea shipping companies. Since the introduction of Tonnage Tax in 2002 we have seen a tenfold increase in the number of ships, owned, managed, and operated in Ireland, directly creating new jobs and investment.

As this is a European Conference, I should like to mention the upcoming vote on the European Stability Treaty which takes place in Ireland on 31st of May. I am confident that the Irish electorate will consider fully the role they will play in this election to further improve our international reputation and ensure that we continue to secure investment and jobs.  At this time I wish to send out a message to the whole world that Ireland is open for business and that we have put the worst of our economic difficulties behind us.

I am very aware of the challenges facing the shipping industry today.  Challenges like fluctuations in demand and increasing operating costs. Such an environment makes inventory and capacity planning even more challenging and I am aware of instances where operators have successfully come up with vessel sharing arrangements to counter balance changing market conditions.

I am also aware that the cost of fuel is another  significant factor affecting shipping operators today. In 2011 oil prices rose sharply, with Bunker prices increasing by 40% over the course of the year. A weakening Euro against the dollar has meant that in EURO terms the price of fuel for shipping reached an all time high this year. Increasing requirements for cleaner fuel will also continue to affect the price. Globally, solutions have come in the form of larger ships which can deliver more freight with less fuel and reduce emissions. This in turn is putting new pressures on ports and the terminal and handling facilities they offer.

Today's conference clearly has its finger on the pulse in terms of addressing these key industry issues, starting shortly with a detailed analysis of the state of the respective shortsea market segments.  Later today I see that you are also discussing issues impacting on sustainable logistics and rising fuel costs.  As fuel costs and emissions control are issues to be faced by the wider transport industry in the coming years, it is encouraging to see that you will do a review of the options emerging, and the technologies being developed to fill future challenges.

I believe the views of the major ports in the final session today will be very interesting. I was particularly pleased to see that the industry will also have the opportunity to listen to the views of one of Ireland's successful indigenous exporters, the C&C Group.

Finally ladies and gentleman, I would like to wish you all well in your discussions and deliberations and hope those of you visiting from overseas have an enjoyable stay here in Ireland.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Tagged under

#ISLAND NATION – The historic Asgard I, the original Erskine Childer's yacht which has been under extensive renovation at the National Museum in Dublin is to go on public display this summer. Public involvement is being sought to provide part of the planned exhibition.

Tom MacSweeney has more details in his 'This Island Nation column' below which this week also has reports from Achill, Galway Bay, the fishing and shipping industries and the marine environment. They include the first Chinese offshore exploration and a major international appointment for a Cork seafarer.


I had my first sail of the season on Saturday, not my normal 'opener' of the year in Cork Harbour, but on the waters of Galway Bay. Preparations for the Volvo Race arrival and overall conclusion there in early July are well underway in the midst of the start of the racing season at Galway Bay Sailing Club at Rinville near Oranmore.

It was from the club there that I sailed aboard my son Pat's Contessa 32, Roamer, on what started off as a day of light winds with sunny conditions. Then the skies darkened, it got cold and the wind strengthened so that soon we were beating as the boat shoved waves aside making its course on a voyage of just over two hours to Parkmore near the hallowed, traditional base of the Galway Hookers at Kinvara harbour.

The Contessa range was designed by the legendary David Sadler and is one of the best-known yachts, with a great reputation for seaworthiness. It was good to hold the helm of a yacht again and hear that pleasant rush of water past the hull. There are several classes of boats sailing out of GBSC, with the younger members particularly favouring the Dart 18 catamaran as I saw last Saturday.


The restored Asgard 1, the original Erskine Childers yacht which carried out the historic Howth gun-running to the Irish Volunteers in 1914 will go on public display this July, 98 years after the event. The vessel has been restored over several years at the national museum in Collins Barracks Dublin. The present recessionary times restricted funding for the renovation of the building, a former gymnasium where the work was carried out, into a suitable public display area. This has now been resolved and the necessary works are underway. Spars and rigging are the final stages of preparing the yacht itself for display. There has been considerable voluntary effort by a group of boat owners in Howth helping with the renovation of the old mast, booms and standing and running rigging.

Sarah Kingston of the Education Department at the National Museum Decorative Arts & History Section tells me that they are collecting oral histories and memories of people who had some connection to the yacht. "This may be people who served on the Asgard when it was a training vessel, people who were involved in its conservation or people who saw the boat in Kilmainham Jail. We would love people to share their memories, so that these could be incorporated into the exhibition. Their stories would be recorded and quotes of these recordings may be used in the exhibition. It would be great, if you could support our search in any way."

I am delighted to do so. If you can help, if you have memories you can share, contact the museum by Email to: [email protected]

The Asgard exhibition will be a big visitor attraction and show how the marine sphere was vitally involved in Irish history.


I was on Achill Island in the past week to launch a book by international artist Alexandra van Tuyll who now lives there. "Sea meets Land" was the appropriate title of the book which is a record of her journey around Ireland in aid of the RNLI. It is composed of her paintings of various locations she chose. There was a big turn-out in Giltie's Pub and Restaurant at Doeega on the westernmost part of the island for the launch. Alexandra was born in the Netherlands and taught art and music before moving to Achill in 2001 to paint full-time. She exhibits solo and in group shows in leading Irish and international galleries and her work is found in both private and public collections.


Achill RNLI Book - Sea meets land

Operations Manager at the Achill RNLI Tom Honeyman and the crew and fund-raising supporters invited me to visit the station, a modern building at Cloghmore in the southern part of Achill Sound. The station was established in August 1996 and its all-weather lifeboat is kept on moorings. It is always a pleasure to meet and talk with lifeboat people and this visit underlined the huge community involvement with and pride in the lifeboat.

I wish Alex and the Achill Station every success with the book. It has been published by and is available from Achill Art Press Slievemore Road, Keel, Achill, Co.Mayo or by Emailing: [email protected]


With the Achill Island lifeboat crew


Giving more power to local communities in the fishing industry must be encouraged. There is too much dominance by State and European bureaucracy which has not been helpful. This is underlined in a community-led report published in the biggest whitefish port in the country, Castletownbere in West Cork.


Castletownbere fishing strategy presented to Marine Minister Simon Coveney. L. to R. Liam O'Driscoll, Vice Chairman Irish South and West Fish Producers' Organisation; John Nolan, Castletownbere Fishermen's Co-op; Eibhlin O'Sullivan, CEO, ISWFPO; Minister Simon Coveney; Frank Fleming, 'Responsible Irish Fish' organisation and Michael Keatinge, BIM Fisheries Development Manager.

More than half the economic life of Castletownbere depends on the offshore fishing industry. With fish farming and ancillary activities added that dependence increases to 86 per cent. The economic figures, revealed in the report compiled by the State fisheries Board, BIM and local fishing industry organisations, underline how vital the industry is to coastal areas. It provides 81 per cent of all employment in the town. The money spent by those employees keeps business turning over.

The proposals were presented to Marine Minister Simon Coveney. Key actions proposed include improved co-operation in the catching sector; new gear adaptations and techniques; tuna and boarfish processing locally; a frozen prawns brand and an increase in aquaculture development and processing.


Cork Mariner Appointed European Chairman

Captain Michael McCarthy, formerly Deputy Harbour Master in the Port of Cork and now its Commercial Manager, has been elected Chairman of the Cruise Europe organisation which has a hundred member groups in the Atlantic Europe and Baltic Region, including Portugal, Russia, Iceland, Scandinavia, Norway and the UK, developing the cruise ship business. He has been involved in the maritime sphere for 40 years, as a Master Mariner, Ships' Captain and marine surveyor.


Captain Mike McCarthy of the Port of Cork

The cruise industry faces major challenges, not just from recession but the effect on public confidence of the Costa Concordia disaster in January and other emergencies at sea involving cruise ships, as well as rapidly increasing operational costs, such as fuel.

"The organisation provides cruise ship owners with top-class destinations of which Ireland is a major one. There are over 200 cruise calls to Ireland a year carrying half-a-million passengers and crew. This is worth €60 million," Capt. McCarthy said.

World Harbour Masters Visit Cork

The 8th International Harbour Masters Association (IHMA) Congress, "Global Ports & Marine Operations" will be underway from Monday, May 14, in Cork City Hall. The Congress is held every two years and this is the first time it is being held in Ireland. An attendance of 300 local and international harbour masters is expected to hear 30 leading industry speakers.


More Water Moved

More water moved into and out of the atmosphere in 2000 than in 1950, making parts of the world's oceans saltier and fresh waters less salty according to American researchers this week. A warming planet may be to blame. Evaporation and rainfall increased by 4 per cent as surface temperatures rose half a degree. That is a bigger change than previous studies suggested, but underlines that a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture.


Oil Day In China

China brought its first home-made, deepsea, semi-submersible oil drilling rig into operation on Wednesday. This starts the country's offshore exploration programme. The new rig, Ocean Oil 981, took six years to build and has been towed to the eastern region of the South China Sea to begin 56 days of drilling to a depth of over 7,000 feet. It is being operated by the State-run National Offshore Oil Corporation and is another stage in Chinese economic development.


You can Email me to: [email protected]

Follow me on Twitter: @TomMacSweeney and on Facebook

GET THE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER: Sign-up at: [email protected] to receive my monthly newsletter summary to your Email on the first Friday of each month. Please put 'newsletter' in the subject line of your email.

Published in Island Nation

#TITANIC - Irreverent tech website Gizmodo has marked the 100th annversary of the sinking of the Titanic with a list of the 13 deadliest shipwrecks in history.

The list runs the gamut from well over a century ago, in the early days of passenger shipping - see the SS Sultana, a tragedy overshadowed by the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the end of the American Civl War - to more recent events.

Included are such as sad tales as that of the Empress of Ireland, the worst disaster in Canadian maritime history in which more than 1,000 died, and much closer to home the Lusitania, which went down off Kinsale in May 1915 after a torpedo attack.

But the worst was arguably suffered by the passengers of the steamship SS Kiangya - which blew up 50 miles north of Shanghai in December 1948, taking as many as 3,920 lives - and the horror that befell the MV Doña Paz in the Philippines in December 1987, where estimates put the death toll at an unbelievable 4,000.

Gizmodo has more on the story HERE.

Published in Titanic

Andrew Sheen has been appointed Operations Director, Irish Ferries.

A former engineer on the company's fast ferry Jonathan Swift, Mr. Sheen joined Irish Ferries from the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency having served as Technical Performance Manager, Engineer and Ship Surveyor.

A B.Eng (Hons), M.Sc and Chartered Engineer, he will be accountable for Irish Ferries' ships safety and operations, all port terminals within the company's network and costs associated with the company's operations in Ireland, Britain and France.

From Liverpool, he succeeds Mr. John Reilly who has retired from the company after many years of service.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Tagged under

#RESCUE - BBC News reports that the search for a cargo ship crewman missing in the Irish Sea has been scaled down.

The 22-year-old from Slovakia was reported missing yesterday morning from the Fehn Sirius, which was en route from Belfast to Portugal, as it headed past Arklow, Co Wicklow.

According to The Irish Times, he was last seen on the cargo ship around 10pm on Monday night as it headed south of the entrance to Strangford Lough.

Lifeboats from Portaferry and Newcastle in Northern Ireland and Arklow joined the search and rescue operation, which was assisted by the RAF helicopter based at Prestwick in Scotland and an Irish Coast Guard helicopter.

However, most rescue services have now been stood down as the Fehn Sirius continues to backtrack in the Irish Sea, with assistance from the Naval Service vessel LE Ciara.

Only three days ago the body of another mariner was recovered from the Irish Sea off the north Dublin coast, more than a month after he went missing.

Published in Rescue

#SHIPPING – The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has announced the 2012 Schools essay competition for the educational programme.

The IMDO reintroduced the Follow the Fleet education programme to Irish schools and classrooms in 2006 as an online teaching resource that brings the world of maritime trade and adventure alive for school children between the ages of 7 to 12. Since its launch in 2006, Follow the Fleet has recruited over 800 national schools with an estimated outreach to 28,000 primary school children registered to take part in the education programme.

This year the annual schools competition is sponsored by Irish Ferries and is also supported by Ardmore Shipping, BMCI Insurance & Investments and the Port of Cork. The competition will be centred around three key themes, maritime technology, trade, and heritage, all of which are interlinked with the lessons and Captain's logs published on the website.

Speaking of their involvement with the annual competition, Irish Ferries commented : 'Follow the Fleet' is a concept that has echoes of earlier days when school children would trace the routes followed by the great Irish merchant vessels of yesteryear as they ploughed the oceans carrying bulk cargoes that would service the needs of communities around the world. As Ireland's premier passenger and freight ferry company, Irish Ferries is proud to see that concept revived and to sponsor the Follow the Fleet Competition, thereby helping to foster in our young people a wider understanding of the shipping industry and its contribution to tourism, employment and the economy".

The 2012 Follow the Fleet Competition is offering some amazing prizes for the winning entries which will be judged by a panel headed by noted maritime journalist and Afloat associate editor Tom McSweeney. Some of the prizes include a trip to the National Maritime College in Cork for the winning class where they will be able to command their own ship at sea in the world class ship simulators. The Overall School Winner Category will also win a laptop for their teacher and the category winners will see their essay scripted into a short animated film, voiced by actor Aidan Dooley of 'Tom Crean –Antarctic Explorer' fame.

The competition is open to all primary school classes registered on the programme, the deadline for the competition is the 5th of April 2012. All details of the competition and entry forms are available on-line on

For more details contact [email protected] or call the IMDO on 01 476 6500 for more information on joining the Follow the Fleet programme.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Tagged under
Page 5 of 9

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.


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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating