Displaying items by tag: Chris Reynolds
“Not being at home and with my team in the Coast Guard has been very, very difficult,” he added.
“My first intention on my return in October is to visit our volunteer teams, co-ordination centres and helicopter bases to listen and understand how we will move forward.”
Reynolds was seconded to Somalia in July 2016 as part of an EU maritime security mission in the Horn of Africa.
Two months after his departure, coastguard volunteer Caitriona Lucas died during a search operation in Kilkee when her RIB capsized.
Six months later, Rescue 116 crashed at Black Rock in Co Mayo, claiming the lives of its four crew. Capt Dara Fitzpatrick and Capt Mark Duffy were recovered, but the bodies of winch men Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith were not found.
Reynolds was granted special leave to take the position with EUCAP Nestor based in the Kenyan capital Nairobi from on 19 July – the first time that the Irish Coast Guard has been involved in an overseas mission.
The role involves assisting local authorities with setting up their own coastguard service in a region that's been beleaguered by maritime piracy in recent years.
Ireland's coastguard chief is responsible for all operations and field offices of the EUCAP Nestor mission between Mogadishu, Puntland and Somaliland, as well as a training base in Djibouti.
Reynolds will return to his Irish Coast Guard post after his secondment, which the Department of Transport says will last around two years "subject to how the mission evolves".
Speaking of his appointment, Reynolds said: "I believe this is a recognition, on an international level, that we in the IrCG, both volunteer and professional, do a good job and that we have gained the respect and trust of all the communities we serve and all the partners we work with.”
#COASTGUARD - The Irish Examiner reports today that the Irish Coast Guard has severely criticised the first draft of the 'value for money' report on the coastguard service commissioned by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.
Senior IRCG management berated the work of the consultants Fisher Associates who were commissioned to undertake the studies into the coastguard and Marine Survey Office.
In their observation of the report's first draft, they cite "uninformed or poor analysis; lack of dialogue on matters surfaced; lack of understanding of where the IRCG has competency or control on particular matters and where they are departmental competencies; laziness in fact finding; ignorance of how coast guards function and failure to recognise command and control issues."
They also slated "sloppiness" in the report's incorrect spelling of the service as the 'Irish Coastguard', arguing that it "reflects very, very poorly on Fisher's ability or competence in these areas".
The news comes ahead of Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds' appearance before the Oireachtas Transport Committee tomorrow (Wednesday 24 October) to discuss the future of the national network of coastguard stations.
Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly, who worked to bring Reynolds before the committee, claims that the coastguard head's agenda is to close the stations at Valentia and Malin Head while retaining the Dublin station and a sub-base in the Transport Minister's constituency.
Elsewhere in the Irish Examiner, Dan Buckley comments on the local campaigns to save the "vital" bases at Valentia and Malin Head.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, coastal communities in Kerry have joined with their counterparts in Donegal to protest mooted plans to close their coastguard radio stations, despite the wealth of local expertise and hundreds of thousands of euro worth of recent investment.
Chris Reynolds was speaking at Search and Rescue 2012, the EU Heads of Coastguard conference in Dublin last Thursday, at which he outlined a feasibility study being conducted by the European Commission on a standardised coastguard service across Europe.
As Shephard Media reports, Reynolds admitted that some challenges stood in front of any effective change in the sector, noting that SAR policy at member state level is often spread across many departments.
But the Costa Condordia disaster off the Italian coast recently may focus governments to develop a "sense of urgency" on the issue, he said.
In the keynote address at the conference, Italian coastguard chief Giuseppe Troina said it was fortunate that the death toll in that incident had not been much greater, emphasising that more than 4,000 people survived the cruise ship's sinking.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
The US-based helicopter firm and CHC formalised the purchase on Wednesday (21 December) with Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds during a hand-over ceremony at the S-92 commercial helicopter assembly facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.
Equipped for dedicated search and rescue (SAR) operations, the helicopter will provide coverage for deep Atlantic Ocean missions, service Ireland's offshore islands and provide rescue cover on the west coast from Cork to Galway.
The new aircraft will be based at Shannon and will replace the current coastguard SAR helicopter, a Sikorsky S-61, which has given 20 years of unbroken service.
According to Sikorsky, the S-92 is equipped with advanced systems and hardware, including an automated flight control system that enables the pilot to fly pre-programmed search patterns and perform delicate hover manoeuvres; a wireless intercom allowing a rescue swimmer to communicate with the crew; radio transceivers to communicate with ships and rescue services; a weather radar and infrared sensor; and a digital video system to record rescues.
Reynolds said the new helicopter - which joins four second-hand machines on a 10-year lease - represents a stepped improvement in Ireland's ability to care for and service its seagoing, coastal and island communities.
"I am very happy that the Coast Guard will operate what I consider to be the leading SAR helicopter in the world," he added.
As reported earlier this year on Afloat.ie, the new chopper is part of a deal that raised questions from a Fine Gael TD over allegations that a competing tender did not have a "good reputation".
Fergus O'Dowd questioning the contract with CHC Ireland after receiving documents in which Chris Reynolds said the Air Corps – whose helicopters are supplied by AgustaWestland - were uneqipped for the role and that no cost saving would be made if they took on the service.
#COASTGUARD - The Irish Coast Guard has received the keys to a new Mobile Incident Command Vehicle to be based in Sligo.
Minister of State Michael Ring made the presentation to Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds ahead of the body’s annual conference in Westport last weekend, Mayo Today reports.
The new vehicle will be used for on-scene management of major marine emergencies aling the west and north-west coasts. It is fitted with all modern communications equipment and will be on call 24/7.
Reynolds commented: “Over the past few months we have launched five new coastguard boats and early next we will see the delivery of seven new vessels.
“This month we will take delivery of 11 new vehicles including vans and 4x4s and in the coming weeks, we take delivery of our new S92 helicopters.”
Ireland is bidding to bring the proposed Europe-wide coastguard secretariat to Dublin, The Irish Times reports.
Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds is in charge of setting up the new office as chair of the EU Heads of Coast Guard network, many functions of which it is expected to assume.
The secretariat - which will meet in Dublin while the particulars of its compositoon are worked out - aims to share search and rescue resources across the EU, as well as assist in pollution response, patrolling of fisheries and maritime security.
One of Reynolds' main tasks is to "draw up procedures for improved co-operation between European coast guards" and those of non-EU members Norway, Iceland and Russia.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
The Irish Coast Guard has released statistics revealing a busy summer period and a significant increase certain types of search and rescue incidents.
Most notable is the increase in incidents involving leisure activities such as surfing, diving, and canoeing.
There was also an increase in the number of merchant vessels requiring assistance, which was up approximately 50% on 2010 figures.
Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds said: "We began our safety awareness campaign in May, which was aimed at holidaymakers and members of the public who were planning water sports, enjoying cliff walks or engaging in coastal activities throughout Ireland. We also targeted walkers and climbers.
"Despite the advice and information provided, we have seen a significant increase in requests for assistance for some incidents over this summer (particularly leisure-based water-activities) and a 20% increase in taskings of our helicopters and crews."
However, Reynolds added that while the total number of incidents has remained broadly the same as last year, there was a 75% increase in lives saved so far in 2011 "which demonstrates that the Coast Guard safety message is getting through".
Approximately forty Life Governors of Irish Water Safety were in attendance at the ceremony. They included former Minister Bobby Molloy, former Director of the Coast Guard Captain Liam Kirwan, former Chairman of the National Safety Council Cartan Finnegan to name but a few. Also in attendance was Commodore Mark Mellett DSM, Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Mr. Chris Reynolds current director of the Coast Guard.
Guest Speakers were Mark Mellett, Director of the Naval Service, TJ Mc Carron, Ballybunion Community Rescue Boat, Eddie Breen and County Manager of Wexford Co Co.
The director of the Irish Coast Guard has outlined the thinking behind its recent €500m deal for helicopter search and rescue services.
Chris Reynolds told Rotorhub that a simplified model based on key critera was adopted when choosing a bigger for the contract, which was awarded to CHC Ireland last year.
"With our contract, we essentially wanted to continue with what we already had, but with new technology," he said.
Rotorhub reports that the Irish Coast Guard formed a Future Helicopter Study Group to discuss the service's needs before the tender process which led to the 10-year deal for five Sikorsky S-92s.
The process stands in contrast to SAR-H, the UK's programme to overhaul its helicopter fleet which collapsed last year.
"If the UK needs to be looking at a new interim contract, they could look at how we did it," added Reynolds.
Rotorhub has more on the story HERE.