Displaying items by tag: Simon Coveney
Marine surveyors are currently inspecting the German cargo ship which was refloated yesterday in Galway Bay after running aground early on Thursday.
The Irish Coast Guard confirmed to The Irish Times that no pollution had occurred in the grounding of the Pantanal on the south Connemara coast.
The 120m vessel was refloated at high tide yesterday morning with help from the Celtic Isle tug from Foynes in Co Limerick.
Ship managers Harren & Partner said the hull would undergo a diver inspection before the vessel sails for dry dock.
Yesterday Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney welcomed the "successful operation in very challenging conditions" and confirmed a thorough investigation of the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board.
The ship had been sailing from the Mediterranean to Rossaveal to collect two monohull ferries, sold to Mauritius, that had been built to serve the Aran Islands route.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
Minister Coveney paid tribute to all those involved in what he described as "a very successful operation in very challenging conditions. Having visited Ros an Mhíl yesterday evening and spoken to those involved, including the Harbour Master and the Coast Guard, the scale of the challenge was evident, involving such a large vessel carrying a substantial fuel load. There was a very real threat to the marine environment and it is a testament to the professionalism of all those involved that such a threat was averted."
The Minister said that he was "glad to have had the opportunity to see at first hand the professionalism and competence of all the agencies involved, including the Harbour Master and his staff, the Irish Coast Guard, An Garda Siochana and Galway County Council." Minister Coveney also acknowledged the assistance and co-operation provided by the ship's representatives in reaching a successful conclusion to this incident.
Minister Coveney confirmed that "the incident would be thoroughly investigated by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board". The Minister said that "the vessel is now anchored off the north Clare coast where it is currently undergoing a detailed inspection. The vessel will continue to be monitored by the Irish Coast Guard on the AIS system (Automatic Identification System)."
Minister Coveney is meeting the Harbour Master and will be briefed by the various agencies who are involved in the operation, including the Irish Coast Guard, Galway County Council and the ship's representatives and will be given a full assessment of the current situation and the contingency arrangements being put in place by the agencies involved for the next few days.
The Minister said "I am anxious to see the situation for myself and to express my support to all involved in this multi-agency operation. While this is obviously a very serious and evolving situation, I have full confidence in the Harbour Master and his staff, the Coast Guard and the other agencies involved to do a fully professional job to address the current situation. The purpose of my visit is to reassure all those concerned that this incident is getting the priority it deserves. I am especially concerned to ensure that all appropriate measures are taken to protect the harbour and the local environment and to avoid any pollution during the very challenging efforts to refloat the vessel. "
The current situation and the weather forecast are being carefully monitored by the Coast Guard. Initial investigations, including evidence from divers, indicate no apparent damage to the vessel and no pollution has been reported. Meanwhile, the vessel's owners are in the process of organising tugs to help move it from its current position.
Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney will have the remit for air and sea search and rescue services, it has emerged.
The Irish Times reports that the move is part of a promised consolidation of maritime functions under the new programme for Government.
Responsibilty for the Irish Coast Guard will however remain with Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar until an official transfer which is expected in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, fellow Fine Gael TD and Minister of State for NewEra, Fergus O'Dowd, intends to push for a review of the State's €500m contract for search and rescue services with CHC Ireland.
O’Dowd said there were “significant questions to answer” over the deal signed by former Transport Minister Noel Dempsey last year.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
The meeting focused on the key areas of importance to both countries in the Common Fisheries Policy. Minister Coveney said "I consider that the Reform of the CFP to be absolutely crucial to the future of the Irish fishing industry and I am committed to working to deliver a reform package that works for Irish fishermen and also ensures that fish stocks are rebuilt and are managed in a sustainable way. Coastal communities are directly dependent on a healthy fishing industry and the new CFP must deliver long term economic activity and employment for these communities. My experience to date in public life has reinforced the importance of building trust and a positive relationship with key decision makers. My relationship with the Spanish Minister with responsibility for fisheries is important in that regard. Today was an important first step in that relationship".
Minister Coveney and Minister Rosa Aguilar agreed to focus on key elements of the CFP Reform and to develop a mutual understanding in advance of key negotiations later this year. A joint statement on the areas of mutual interest that were discussed is attached. Minister Coveney said "While there are certain areas where Ireland and Spain have opposing positions, particularly in relation to access to fish stocks, there are many areas where both countries have similar concerns. Both countries have coastal communities very dependent on fishing and related activities and the new CFP must be reformed to work positively in the long term to support these communities".
Minister Coveney added "The development of mutual understanding on core issues including effectively addressing discards, will be critical in the negotiations. I am also convinced that the consumer must be given clear information on the origin and production methods of fish in order to be able to make an informed choice. This approach will, I firmly believe, benefit EU fishermen and aquaculture operators who operate under strict environmental and food safety rules. I am seeking to reform the CFP in the area of governance so that stakeholders are given a key input into management arrangements that are developed on a regional basis. Both Minister Rosa Aguilar and myself are convinced of the importance of increased EU funding to support the reformed CFP.
I will be consulting closely with the Irish fishing industry and other stakeholders over the coming weeks so that I have a full understanding of all the issues. We have the opportunity now to deliver real reforms and I consider that we must work closely with other Member States on areas of mutual interest and importance to develop a policy that ensures that there is a future for Irish fishermen and coastal communities".
Seeing the capabilities of Ireland's largest research vessel and the work of the Marine Institute, Mr Simon Coveney highlighted the importance the Marine Sector has on the Irish economy. "The seas and ocean that surround the land of Ireland is arguably one of our countries greatest natural resources. Through marine research, development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong reputation as an emerging centre of excellence, where we have prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies," he said.
Ireland's national research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager will record 627 days at sea between the two during 2011. Their work will range from fisheries surveys to underwater mapping and from climate studies to deepwater surveys with the remotely operated submersible ROV Holland 1.
"The work conducted on the vessels continues to feed into the success in attracting EU funding to Ireland's marine science programmes that have been achieved by our strategic approach to marine science planning" explained Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute.
"The award of funding projects shows that partnerships between academics and small businesses can yield significant dividends in creating jobs, generating economic revenue and the supply of raw materials for new industries ranging from ocean energy and environmental monitoring technologies to marine-inspired pharmaceuticals and food ingredients" he further said.
It is a reminder which I hope that the media in general will note and that his tile of Marine will be used as often as agriculture is. The general media has been notorious, in my view, for disregarding the marine sector unless there is disaster, emergency or controversy involved.
The return of the title 'Marine' to a Government Department is, to put it bluntly, a kick-in-the-ass which civil servants needed. It was a betrayal of this island nation's heritage when those in charge of the former Department of Transport held a meeting which decided to remove the title marine from the Department's name, even though the then Minister had been assigned the role of Minister for Transport and Marine. The man in charge of that Department, Noel Dempsey, did not demonstrate a lot of interest in the marine, being more noted for trying to shut down the coastal radio stations at Valentia and Malin, where he was beaten off by public opposition, which also happened when he tried to remove 24-hour rescue helicopter service in the south-east and for his introduction of laws which criminalised fishermen.
Hopefully, the restoration of 'Marine' to a Department's name will be the harbinger of better things for the marine sphere.
I have heard some disappointment expressed that the marine is not a department on its own, but what the Fine Gael and subsequently Coalition Programme for Government agreed by Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore said was: "Marine responsibilities will be merged under one Department, for better co-ordination in policy delivery."
They have been, though some of the finer detail remains to be seen, such as will the ports be moved away from Transport, to where port companies and commercial interests originally campaigned to have them moved? And how will the split of marine tourism work between Agriculture and Marine and the separate tourism department? A similar issue may arise in regard to sailing and sport, but it seems to me a positive step that the disregard which Fianna Fáil and the Greens showed for the marine sector is being changed.
It was also right to end a separate department for defence. With a small army and navy, smaller than the marine sector, it was nonsense that it should have been a department of its own.
Let us therefore, hope for the future and take a positive view of the change as being for the better.
the start line moved outside the harbour the fleets took in both the Goat and Calve Islands together with the marks off Castle Island.
In Class Zero IRC Kieran Twomeys "Gloves Off" finished a brilliant week of sailing to take the Regatta Cup and also the overall trophies in both handicap divisions, while Schull Sailing Club Commodore Morgan O' Donovan's "Loco" won the Regatta Echo cup.
In Class One IRC the overall result went right down to the wire with victory in the final race giving Donal O Leary's "D Tox" the title after a six points tie break with Simon Coveney s "Wavetrain". D Tox finished a very successful weeks racing by also winning the Echo overall trophy.
Infinity and Beyond (left) and Loco on opposite tacks. Photo: Bob Bateman. More photos on the gallery here
Competition was also intense in Class Two IRC with Conor Ronan's "Ruthless" just edging out the Deasey/Ivers/Desmond crew in "Bad Company" for the overall trophy thanks to his better last race result, while in Echo a third place in the regatta race, behind Andrew Mackeys "Lornadrew" was good enough to win the overall for John McGowan's "Mackey G".
The overall in Class Three IRC was never in doubt with David Kenefick in "Tiger" scoring five bullet , while a third in the final race for Paul Murrays "Full Pelt" saw him claim the Echo overall.
In Class Four the Hanley Brothers in "Saoirse" finished off a productive weeks racing by winning the IRC regatta cup and the overalls in both handicap divisions with Una Buckley sailing "Tete-a-Tete to victory in Echo.
In the White Sail One fleet the Don McCarthy sailed VSOP won the regatta race, while a third place for Bryan Heffernans "Aisling" was good enough for
him to clinch the overall trophy. In White Sail Two Tadgh Dwyer's "Brazen Huzie" won the overall, having discarded the regatta result which saw Frank
Murphys "Dreamcatcher take the trophy.
The McMahon trophy for best local boat went to Paul Murray's "Full Pelt" while the Pearson "Spirit of the regatta trophy "was presented to Bill Rigney.