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Further to previous installation works on the Havhingsten fibre optic telecommunication cable system in the Irish Sea, post-lay inspection and burial (PLIB) of the cable is planned to begin later this week.

Works outside Irish and Isle of Man territorial waters are will start on Friday 14 January and continue until next Thursday 20 January, subject to weather.

It is advised that extra care is taken when vessels are operating near this area and that no vessel should trawl within 500m.

Installation will be via industry-standard burial tools including water jetting with remote operated vehicle (ROV). The target cable burial depth is 1.5m below seabed level in the region.

There will be two locations where PLIB will be performed: at Final Splice (FS) location outside Irish territorial waters, and at Branching Unit (BU) location outside of Isle of Man territorial waters.

The operations will be conducted by the cable installation vessel CS Ile d’Aix (callsign FICI) which will be working on a 24-hour basis, and will display appropriate day shapes and lights during reduced visibility and night operations.

All vessels operating within this area are requested to keep their distance and pass at minimum speed to reduce vessel wash.

For more information, including coordinates and contact details, see Marine Notice No 01 of 2022 attached below.

Published in News Update

The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport advises that the Informing and Mapping the Offshore Renewable Environment (I-MORE) Survey will be carried out in the North Irish Sea from early in the New Year.

From 4-13 January 2022, the RV Celtic Explorer (callsign EIGB) will carry out the survey on a 24-hour schedule using the Manta–200 Seabed Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) system.

The aim of this survey is to gather critical seabed data to feed into existing postdoc and group research across a range of disciplines, including marine geotechnics and physical geology, to better understand the geology and engineering properties of the sediment in this area and to identify potential geohazards to infrastructure development.

Map of the proposed iMORE survey areaMap of the proposed iMORE survey area

Coodinates of the survey area and other details can be found in Marine Notice No 66 of 2021, available to download below.

Published in Marine Science

Further to last week’s Marine Notice advising of the latest works on the Havhingsten fibre optic telecommunication cable system this month, rock placement activities in the Irish Sea are also planned from this weekend.

There are four crossing locations in the Irish Sea where rock placement will be installed from this Saturday 11 December, but only one will be within the Irish EEZ, at the offshore extent.

Rock placement will be via industry standard, and activity at each site will last for up to 15 hours.

The operations will be conducted by the cable installation vessel Stornes (callsign PCKX), which will operate on a 24-hour basis and display appropriate day shapes and lights during reduced visibility and night operations.

All vessels operating within this area are requested to keep their distance and pass at minimum speed to reduce vessel wash.

Further details, including relevant coordinates and contact information, can be found in Marine Notice No 65 of 2021 which is available to download below.

Published in News Update

Installation of the Havhingsten fibre optic telecommunication cable system in the Irish Sea inside of the Irish 12-nautical-mile zone is planned for this month.

It follows works this past autumn in the Irish Sea outside of territorial waters, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Works are planned to start on Monday 13 December, subject to weather and full execution of the foreshore licence.

The latest operations on the cable route for the western Irish Sea region, which lands at Loughshinny, will be conducted by the cable installation vessel CS Île de Batz (callsign FOSU).

It will be working on a 24-hour basis and will display appropriate day shapes and lights during reduced visibility and night operations.

All other vessels operating within its work area are requested to keep their distance and pass at minimum speed to reduce vessel wash.

Details of the coordinates of the work area and contact information can be found in Marine Notice No 64 of 2021, which can be downloaded below.

Published in News Update

The second leg of the MOVE 2 survey of the mobility of sediment waves and sand banks will be carried out in the Irish Sea off Wicklow and Wexford from next weekend.

As noted previously on Afloat.ie, reporting on the survey in March this year, it will involve the use of multi-beam echo sounders and sub-bottom profilers at various sites, and sediment grabs samples will also be taken.

Survey operations will be carried out on a 24-hour schedule between Saturday 4 and Monday 13 December by the RV Celtic Voyager (callsign EIQN), which will be displaying appropriate lights and signals.

This survey is being carried out in support of ongoing research at the SFI Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine research and innovation (MaREI) and the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG).

More on the survey including coordinates and contact details can be found in Marine Notice No 63 of 2021, a PDF of which is available to download below.

Published in News Update

Installation of the Havhingsten fibre optic telecommunication cable system is planned from Monday 23 August until Thursday 23 September in the Irish Sea outside of the Irish 12-nautical-mile zone.

Works within 12 nautical miles of Ireland’s mainland are planned from December 2021 subject to weather and operational conditions.

There will also be associated rock placement operations post-cable installation at four locations within the western Irish Sea and these works are expected in between October and December, weather permitting.

The entire cable system will comprise marine elements that pass from Denmark to the UK (NE region), and from the UK (NW) to Ireland, with two segments installed into landfalls on the Isle of Man. The cable route for the western Irish Sea region lands at Loughshinny in north Co Dublin.

Installation will be via industry standard burial tools including water jetting and ploughing. Target cable burial depth is 1.5m below seabed level in the region.

It is anticipated that installation operations in UK/Irish waters will occupy up to a maximum 500m width (250m either side of cable). The cable itself will occupy only 40mm of the seabed. Expected speed of installation will be approximately 17km per day.

Works will be conducted by the cable installation vessel CS Recorder (callsign MATL3) which will operate 24 hours a day and will display appropriate day shapes and lights during reduced visibility and night operations.

All vessels operating within its vicinity are requested to keep their distance, and pass at minimum speed to reduce vessel wash.

Full details, including coordinates for the work areas and rock armour placements, are included in Marine Notice No 45 of 2021 which can be downloaded below.

Published in News Update

At a distance of 50-miles, a tunnel under the Irish Sea, connecting Wales and Ireland has been suggested UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Shapps suggested a tunnel between Wales and Ireland as an alternative to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's scheme to link Scotland with Northern Ireland.

When questioned on the idea of linking Northern Ireland with mainland Britain, he said: "Why not?"

The Daily Express reported that the tunnel could be from Holyhead to Dublin and had been previously been priced at £15bn. It would be twice as long as the Channel Tunnel linking Kent and France (see other story on Irish Ferries). 

In the Sunday Times, Political Editor Tim Shipman reported that a feasibility study could be launched in the next few weeks.

NorthWalesLive has more on this story.

Published in Dublin Bay
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Following the recent notice of geophysical surveys for the Codling Wind Park comes news of a series of geotechnical surveys in the Irish Sea off Wicklow for the project set to commence tomorrow, Monday 26 April.

Works to characterise the wind park area will be conducted until Saturday 26 June, weather permitting, from the LB Jill (callsign WDH 6208) on a 24-hour basis. The vessel will display appropriate lights and shapes.

As the LB Jill will be restricted in ability to manoeuvre, all vessels operating within the work area are requested to keep their distance, maintaining a safety zone around the geotechnical investigation vessel, and pass at minimum speed to reduce vessel wash.

Further details including coordinates for the survey works are included in Marine Notice No 28 of 2021, which can be downloaded below.

Published in Coastal Notes

The Department of Transport has been advised that Codling Wind Park Limited intend to conduct a series of geophysical surveys in the Irish Sea off Dublin and Wicklow from Wednesday 14 April to Wednesday 26 May, weather permitting.

This work is intended to provide options for export cable routes to possible landfall options in the areas of Poolbeg, Dun Laoghaire, Greystones and Wicklow.

A total of two vessels will be working on the project. Arctic Ocean (callsign OZGP2) will undertake geophysical operations to characterise the export cable sites (weather permitting). Survey operations will be conducted on a 24-hour basis.

Meanwhile, Faraday (callsign MJZX5) will undertake geophysical operations (weather permitting). Survey operations will be conducted on a 12-hour basis.

Throughout survey operations, the vessels will be displaying the appropriate lights and shapes. As both vessels will be towing survey equipment, they will also require large turning circles and will be restricted in their ability to manoeuvre.

All vessels operating within the work area are requested to keep their distance, maintaining at least the 500m safety zone around the survey vessel and pass at minimum speed to reduce vessel wash.

Further details including coordinated and contacts are included in Marine Notice No 21 of 2021, a PDF of which can be downloaded below.

Published in Coastal Notes

Two ex-presidents of the UK’s Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) have been tasked with carrying out a study on the feasibility of an Irish Sea crossing between Britain and Northern Ireland.

As industry publication New Civil Engineer reports, Douglas Oakervee and Gordon Masterson have been charged by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson with evaluating the various proposals.

These include an “underground roundabout” beneath the Isle of Man that would connect separate tunnels Northern Ireland, Scotland and England — an idea inspired by a similar project in the Faroe Islands.

Another proposal for a Northern Ireland-Scotland tunnel suggests that it could help create a new “capital cities axis” stretching from Dublin to Edinburgh.

The possibility of a road-rail link between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain returned to the agenda earlier this year following Brexit, with one of the options mooted being a a “floating underwater tunnel” along the sea bed, as previously discussed by our own WM Nixon.

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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. 

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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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