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Displaying items by tag: Dublin Port

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland, took to the waters of Dublin Bay to take part in the annual ‘Casting of the Spear’ ceremony, the first time the tradition has been observed since before the pandemic.

The ‘Casting of the Spear’ is a tradition dating back 531 years for the incumbent Lord Mayor, who becomes Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port. The title of Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port has been bestowed on the Lord Mayor of Dublin for over 20 years.

Historical records show that the maritime tradition of the Casting the Spear dates back to 1488 when Thomas Mayler, who was then Lord Mayor of Dublin, rode out on horseback and cast a spear as far as he could into the sea – this was to mark the city’s boundaries eastwards. Centuries later, the re-enactment ceremony reminds us of Dublin’s role as a port city in medieval times and highlights Dublin Port’s remarkable history since its establishment as a trading post some 1,200 years ago.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland said: ''I am absolutely thrilled to have had the honour of Casting of the Spear and marking the eastern boundary of our City. I feel privileged being the Honorary Admiral of the Port for the duration of my term of office.

This ancient tradition of marking the City's maritime boundary with a spear has always fascinated me. It also highlights the strategic economic importance of Dublin Port to our City and indeed our country and how it has grown and developed over the centuries.''

Dublin Port CEO Eamonn O’Reilly commented at the ceremony: “I would like to thank Lord Mayor Gilliland for her participation in this year’s annual Casting of the Spear ceremony as we celebrate our heritage as a port city. It is heartening to be able to return to these time-honoured traditions after the disruption of the last few years. Looking back, now more than 530 years, it is extraordinary to think that our city’s boundaries were established by Thomas Mayler’s spear in the waters of medieval Dublin. Today’s re-enactment symbolises Dublin Port’s continued commitment to preserving an understanding of the history that binds the port and the city together.”

Published in River Liffey

Dublin Port Company (DPC) has announced the development of a second empty container depot as part of the 22-hectare first stage development of Dublin Inland Port.

Dublin Inland Port is located 14 kilometres from Dublin Port off the M2, with direct access to the M50 and to Dublin Port via the Dublin Port Tunnel. 

Coming to the market this week is a 3.2-hectare facility, construction of which will be completed by year end.

Caption: Dublin Inland Port is located 14 kilometres from Dublin Port off the M2, with direct access to the M50 and to Dublin Port via the Dublin Port TunnelDublin Inland Port is located 14 kilometres from Dublin Port off the M2, with direct access to the M50 and to Dublin Port via the Dublin Port Tunnel

When fully operational in early 2023, the new facility will have a storage capacity of 4,000 TEU. This will be in addition to the existing 6,000 TEU facility which commenced operations at the start of this year. It brings to €50 million DPC’s total investment to date in Ireland’s first inland port facility.

The further development of Dublin Inland Port continues the delivery by DPC of the commitment in Masterplan 2040 to maximise the use of existing port lands by relocating port-related, but non-core activities – including empty container storage – away from Dublin Port. It comes as unitised volumes - containers and trailers – grow back towards the peak volume levels of 2019.

Empty Container Storage to Reduce Further

One quarter of all containers moving through Dublin Port are empty because of the structural inefficiencies in container supply chains created by trade imbalances.

Given the pressure on land, storage facilities for mountains of slow-moving empty containers awaiting export can no longer be accommodated in Dublin Port.

Ten years ago, there were seven empty container depots in Dublin Port. Today there are four. Over the past ten years, the volume of containers moving through Dublin Port has increased by 60% to 843,000 TEU in 2021.

All four remaining empty container depots will be redeveloped to provide more throughput capacity on Dublin Port’s fixed footprint over the coming years as Dublin Inland Port develops.

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company, said; “As we develop Dublin Port towards its ultimate throughput by 2040, capacity pinch points are already emerging and we have to make sure that all of the port’s lands are used exclusively for the transit storage of cargo, particularly trailers and containers. The removal of empty container depots to Dublin Inland Port is essential in achieving this objective. We expect to complete the Stage 1 development of Dublin Inland Port by the end of 2023 to provide capacity for all of the remaining port-related but non-core activities currently located in Dublin Port.

“Once this is done, we will develop capacity for the transit storage of laden containers and trailers at Dublin Inland Port. In addition to our efforts, other such facilities will need to be provided by private sector operators along the M1 and M7 corridors if Dublin Port is to continue to be able to handle future growth out to 2040.”

Cormac Kennedy, Head of Property, Dublin Port Company, said; “We have been working to relocate port-related but non-core activities such as empty container depot storage away from Dublin Port since 2014. The announcement today of the second depot facility coming to market is decisive and signals acceptance of the new realities in container supply chain operations.

“We expect to bring further sites to market this year and to complete the development of the first stage of Dublin Inland Port by the end of 2023. This first stage development will see Dublin Port investing €50 million in Dublin and Ireland’s first inland port facility.

“We are at a tipping point on land capacity in Dublin Port as port volumes grow back towards the record levels of 2019 and as demand increases on unitised services with Continental Europe. In addition, the loss of excessive land areas to State services has further constrained the port’s capacity to cater for growth post-Brexit.

“Dublin Inland Port’s role will intensify, with more customers required to move not only empty containers but also laden units out of the port and at off-peak times. The window of opportunity is now, and customers who adapt early will see the benefits in their business immediately. We foresee additional Inland Ports being developed over time by other parties looking to emulate DPC’s approach, with Dublin Inland Port the blueprint for such investment.

“For now, we are focused on getting this second development at Dublin Inland Port tendered, built and operational in the shortest time frame possible.”

Published in Dublin Port
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Dublin Port Company (DPC) has today launched a new water safety awareness campaign, bringing comedy stars Darren Conway and Joe McGucken aboard to help spread the important message. The campaign is being launched ahead of the bank holiday to help promote the safe and responsible use of Dublin Bay for leisure and recreation this busy summer season and encourages anyone planning a trip on the water to “always think water safety”. According to a new survey on water safety commissioned by DPC, half of people say they are not well attuned to water safety.

In the past number of years, DPC has continued to observe an increase in the number of people enjoying water-based sports and activities in the surroundings of Dublin Bay and Dublin Port, often for the first time. Unfortunately, these same surroundings can be potentially very dangerous, including the active, busy shipping lanes, where large ferries and cargo ships operate year-round.

The survey undertaken by DPC indicated that swimming was the most popular water-based activity undertaken by the public, with 50% of participants having engaged in the activity. Only around 20% of swimmers always use a tow float when in the water, which is a simple safety device used to aid visibility. Swimming was followed by Canoeing/Kayaking and Rowing as the next most popular pursuits.

Only 10% indicated they were very familiar with various aspects of these large vessels that frequent Dublin Bay. Awareness surrounding large vessels is strongly influenced by water activity engagement; those who do not participate in any activity are significantly more likely to be unaware of aspects of the large vessels. While two-thirds indicated that they would be aware of basic safety protocol and equipment like lifejackets and first aid kits, only 26% said they were very familiar with VHF Radio, an important safety communications and alert system.

Members of the city’s established boat and water sports clubs will already be very familiar with the dos and don’ts of crossing Dublin Bay, navigating the shipping lanes at Dublin Port or enjoying the River Liffey. Nonetheless, less experienced members of the public can find themselves in dangerous circumstances, requiring assistance from the DPC team on occasion.

As part of the campaign, DPC has created a starter’s guide to basic safety etiquette on the water, including a new map showing a simplified version of the shipping lanes at Dublin Port where permission to cross is mandatory for all leisure craft users. This information, and more, is available at www.dublinport.ie/water-safety.

Dublin Port’s Shipping Lanes Map

Speaking about the campaign, Darren Conway said; “Having worked with Dublin Port on this campaign last year, I was delighted to be asked to come back and reprise my character of Backstroke Conway. Lads my age are the main people who might find themselves getting in trouble out there on the water so I’m more than happy to help spread this message, and have a bit of fun doing it!”

 Comedians Darren Conway and Joe McGucken with the Dublin Port water safety messageComedians Darren Conway and Joe McGucken with the Dublin Port water safety message Photo: Damien Eagers

Dublin Port Harbour Master, Captain Michael McKenna, said; “With almost 50 ship arrivals or departures per day, the shipping lanes of Dublin Bay and the River Liffey are very busy, with multiple vessels often moving at the same time. These large ships must navigate within the deep water of the shipping lanes, so it is vital that smaller vessels keep clear and stay safe.

We love to see the water enjoyed safely. By being aware of the risks, making safe decisions and having the appropriate safety equipment people can enjoy the magnificent environs of the river and bay.”

Note on Jet Skis and Personal Watercraft (PWC)

Jet ski and PWC users are reminded to adhere to the 6 knots speed limit when within 60 m of a pier, jetty, slipway, mooring, shore or another vessel and 120 m of a swimmer or dive flag. Freestyling is not permitted within 200m of swimmers, or the shoreline.

Download Dublin Port’s Water Safety Flyer and Dublin Port’s Shipping Lanes Map below 

Published in Water Safety
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Dublin Port Company is supporting the State’s effort to recover from the Four Courts fire of 1922 by funding the conservation of 200-year-old records concerning Dublin Port.

On 30 June 1922, the Public Record Office of Ireland at the Four Courts was destroyed in the opening engagement of the Civil War. In the aftermath of the fire of 1922, over 25,000 sheets of paper and parchment were retrieved from the rubble. These records, which date from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries, are known as the ‘1922 Salved Records’. They are now held at the National Archives.

Most of this collection remained unopened until the last five years. As the successor of the Public Record Office of Ireland, the National Archives is a Core Partner in the Beyond 2022 project—an all-island and international research programme hosted at Trinity College Dublin and funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under Project Ireland 2040. The project is working to reconstruct what was lost in 1922.

During a recent investigation of unopened parcels of salved records through the Beyond 2022 project, archivists identified five parcels of significance to the history of Dublin Port.

The thousands of sheets of paper are historically significant both as survivors of the destruction of 1922, and as fresh evidence for the historical development of Dublin PortThe thousands of sheets of paper are historically significant both as survivors of the destruction of 1922, and as fresh evidence for the historical development of Dublin Port

Now, with generous support from Dublin Port Company, these records are being restored by the conservation team at the National Archives of Ireland. The conservation work is being undertaken by the Beyond 2022 Project Conservator, Jessica Baldwin, under the guidance of Zoë Reid, Keeper, Public Services and Collection. The documents all show some evidence of damage from the heat of the flames, as well damp and rain from exposure to the weather following the fire. Despite the damage, conservation will mean that documents not seen for 100 years can soon be consulted again by historians and the public.

The thousands of sheets of paper are historically significant both as survivors of the destruction of 1922, and as fresh evidence for the historical development of Dublin Port. These papers create an incredible snapshot of the bustling live of the busy port with hundreds of people from around the country, from ports in Killybegs, Strangford and Youghal coming to collect salaries, pensions and trade in goods. They contain details on salaries and compensations, and many names of inspectors and collectors of customs taxes. They provide accounts about wine, bounties on beef and pork, allowances on silk, detail repayments of taxes on fish, ash, salt, and linen. For example, over 50 documents relating to the Bounty Payments for Fish in the summer of 1817 give a fascinating insight, as they include information on the ship, listing crew members and detailing the size and type of catch. These are important details of trade and commerce in Dublin Port that do not exist elsewhere.

Following the conservation, the documents dating from 1817–1818 will be available for research and suitable for digitization.

Speaking about the partnership, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said: “This partnership between Beyond 2022, the National Archives and Dublin Port is an important and significant one. The process of saving the recovered records from the fire at the Public Record Office in June 1922 is a flagship project under the Government’s Decade of Centenaries Programme led by my Department's Commemorations Unit.

“The care that staff in the Public Record Office demonstrated over 100 years ago in their mission to save as many records as possible is now being continued by a highly skilled and committed team of archivists and conservators working together to uncover and reveal a snapshot of what life looked like at Dublin Port in 1922.”

Eamonn O’Reilly and Orlaith McBrideEamonn O’Reilly and Orlaith McBride examine the archive

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port, said: “Our own rich archive is an important and actively used resource which we routinely rely on to tell the story of Dublin Port. We are delighted now to be able to add to the additional archive materials related to Dublin Port which the National Archives holds by supporting the conservation of records recovered after the burning of the Four Courts a century ago.”

Orlaith McBride, Director of the National Archives, said: “The conservation of these records represents a significant contribution to the State’s key legacy project from the Decade of Centenaries. The National Archives as successor institution to Public Record Office has held these records, salvaged from the fire in 1922, in its care for almost 100 years and has now begun the process of conservation. This support from Dublin Port is invaluable in terms of allowing us to progress this work.”

Dr Peter Crooks, Trinity College Dublin and Academic Director of the Beyond 2022 project, said: “As each page of these fascinating archives is restored, another page of Irish history is returned to the public record. These documents provide a fascinating insight into everyday life 200 years ago - not only in Dublin, with its extensive trading network, but also across Ireland at large.”

Published in Dublin Port
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Dublin Port’s volumes have recovered strongly in the first quarter of 2022 with growth of 13.7% to 8.9 million gross tonnes compared to same period in 2021.

Reporting its trading figures for Q1 today (Wednesday 20 April), Dublin Port company also confirmed that imports from January to March grew by +14.2% to 5.4 million gross tonnes, and exports also grew, by 12.8% to 3.5 million gross tonnes.

Unitised trade (Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo) accounted for 82% of all cargo volumes in the quarter and the number of trailers and containers combined increased by +13.3% to 363,000 units.

Within this, there was a strong recovery in Ro‑Ro with growth of 22.9% to 250,000 units. This was partly offset by a decrease in Lo‑Lo of -3.5% to 112,000 units (equivalent to 202,000 TEU).

While overall unitised volumes grew to 363,000 units, trends were very different geographically:

  • Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo to and from ports in the Cherbourg to Rotterdam range increased by +1.8% to 152,000 units.
  • Unitised volumes (mainly Ro-Ro) to and from the GB ports of Holyhead, Liverpool and Heysham grew by 23.0% to 192,000 units.
  • Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo with other EU ports and with non-EU ports in the Mediterranean increased by +26.4% to 19,000 units.

Elsewhere in Dublin Port’s unitised trades, imports of new trade vehicles declined by ‑8.0% to 25,000 units as land constraints continue to impact the port’s transit storage capacity.

Bulk liquid imports of petroleum products returned to the pre-pandemic record levels of 2019 with strong growth of +20.2% to 1.1 million tonnes, emphasising Dublin Port’s importance as a national energy hub.

Bulk solids (including agri‑feed products, ore concentrates and cement products) finished the quarter +8.0% ahead at 0.6 million tonnes.

Outside of Dublin Port’s cargo business, passenger and tourism volumes have partially recovered post-pandemic. Passenger numbers on ferries (including HGV drivers) increased by more than 150% to 209,000 while tourist vehicles more than doubled to 58,000 (+238%).

However, both passenger numbers (-23%) and tourist vehicle volumes (-29%) remain significantly behind their pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

‘The level of growth we are now seeing at the start of 2022 suggests that record throughput levels will again be seen by 2023 or 2024’

Commenting on the Q1 2022 figures, Dublin Port’s outgoing chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly said: “Given that the first quarter of 2021 was very weak in the wake of Brexit — with overall cargo volumes back by -15% — we anticipated, and, duly saw, a strong recovery of +14% in the first quarter of the year to nine million gross tonnes.

“Dublin Port accounts for four-fifths of all trailers and containers handled in ports in Ireland and, in the first quarter of 2022, volumes grew strongly by +13% to 363,000 units.

“This recovery was driven, in large part, by the +23% growth to 192,000 units in freight volumes on services to the ports of Holyhead, Liverpool and Heysham. However, volumes on these routes are still -18% below their pre-Brexit levels

“Elsewhere, volumes of trailers and containers on services to the EU and beyond – which had increased by +18% last year – grew in the first quarter of 2022 by a further +2% to 171,000 units.

“Imports of petroleum through Dublin Port account for nearly one-third of all of the country’s energy needs and, in the first quarter, volumes of petrol, diesel and other fuels increased by one-fifth.

“Dublin Port’s last record year was 2019 and volumes in the first quarter of this year were -8% lower than they had been three years ago. The level of growth we are now seeing at the start of 2022 suggests that record throughput levels will again be seen by 2023 or 2024.

He added: “This growth maintains the pressure on us to continue to deliver our large capital programme at pace. This will not be easy against the background of high inflation which is particularly evident in the construction sector.”

Published in Dublin Port
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Dublin Port Company has taken delivery of a new Pilot Boat named DPC Dodder.

The state-of-the-art vessel represents a significant investment to support the critical service performed by the pilots and pilot boat crews on the River Liffey and Dublin Bay.

Built by Goodchild Marine, the boat was accompanied on its journey home by its sister ship, the DPC Tolka and flanked by tug boats Beaufort and Shackleton.

Dublin Port Company has taken delivery of a new Pilot Boat, named DPC Dodder. The state-of-the art vessel, which represents a significant investment to support the critical service performed by the pilots and pilot boat crews, arrived in Dublin Port having set sail from Great Yarmouth last week.

Taking delivery of the 17.1 metre ORC vessel in Dublin Port was Harbour Master Captain Michael McKenna and Assistant Harbour Master Paul Hogan. The latest addition to the Port’s fleet is the second incarnation of the DPC Dodder, as the original was retired in 2020 following 23 years of service. The new Dodder joins pilot boats Liffey, Camac, and Tolka amongst the Port’s fleet of working vessels, which also includes tugboats Shackleton and Beaufort and multi-purpose workboat the Rosbeg.

Piloting the new vessel on her maiden voyage to Dublin was Alan Goodchild of the leading UK boat builder Goodchild Marine Services Limited, the Norfolk-based company that built DPC Dodder having secured the contract to construct the boat in 2020. This is the second pilot boat that Goodchild Marine has supplied to the Port in recent years, having delivered the DPC Tolka in 2019.Piloting the new vessel on her maiden voyage to Dublin was Alan Goodchild of the leading UK boat builder Goodchild Marine Services Limited, the Norfolk-based company that built DPC Dodder having secured the contract to construct the boat in 2020. This is the second pilot boat that Goodchild Marine has supplied to the Port in recent years, having delivered the DPC Tolka in 2019. Photo: Conor McCabe

Designed by French Naval Architect Pantocarene for both fuel efficiency and performance in challenging weather conditions, DPC Dodder features the latest navigational and safety equipment on board, including a dedicated Pilot workstation in the wheelhouse and hydraulic Man Overboard Recovery Platform at the stern.

With shipping companies increasingly deploying longer, deeper ships capable of carrying more cargo, DPC Dodder represents a vital upgrade and expansion in the provision of pilotage services at the Port and will allow Dublin Port’s team of highly skilled marine pilots to reach and board these ships in all weather conditions from a greater distance out into Dublin Bay.

Dublin Port Company has taken delivery of a new Pilot Boat named DPC Dodder.

Dublin Port Harbour Master, Captain Michael McKenna, said: “Dublin Port Company is delighted to take delivery of DPC Dodder, another state-of-the-art vessel from Goodchild Marine. Demand for pilotage continues to grow as the Port does, and DPC Dodder will help meet the operational and navigational needs of both regular customers and visiting vessels in the years ahead. We were delighted to work with Goodchild Marine again and thank them for their skills and workmanship in designing and delivering this vessel.”

Dublin Port Company has taken delivery of a new Pilot Boat named DPC Dodder.

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company, said: “At Dublin Port we are always investing in infrastructure, but that is not simply confined to marine engineering works such as building quay walls, but also extends to the fleet that keeps the Port operational around the clock. Our pilots increasingly need to embark and disembark from much larger capacity ships, often in poor weather conditions or at peak times when demands for pilotage services are highest. DPC Dodder has allowed us to upgrade our equipment in line with customer investment in new ships and additional capacity on existing routes.”

Published in Dublin Port

"The only proven way young people will get to know their job and environment is learning while doing". That's the verdict of the Irish Nautical Trust's Jimmy Murray, who has launched a new River Liffey-based maritime training course on the capital's waters.

The community initiative sponsored by Google began this year and had the dual mandate of preserving the area's nautical heritage and creating long-term sustainable employment in the Dublin Port and Docklands.

Dublin Port and Docklands is a busy commercial port with many different types of vessels operating on the River LiffeyDublin Port and Docklands is a busy commercial port with many different types of vessels operating on the River Liffey

"We are hopeful that doing this will help those who come on board to obtain a certified level of maritime skills to enable them to gain sustainable employment in the maritime industry", Murray told Afloat.

The Trust aims to put up to 75% of its trainees in permanent employment within local maritime companies, with a further 15% going on to further maritime education.

Dublin Port Company operates a variety of boats on the River Liffey Dublin Port Company operates a variety of boats on the River Liffey including its newest Pilot Boat, named DPC Tolka pictured here on arrival greeted by tugboat Shackleton and pilot boat Liffey arriving into Dublin Port. The state-of-the-art vessel will allow marine pilots to reach and board larger ships in all weather conditions from a greater distance out into Dublin Bay. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

"The objective of our project is to create a maritime training programme to educate local unemployed people so they can attain a certified level of employment in the marine industry at Ireland's busiest port", Murray says.

There are no existing solutions to supply a certified workforce for maritime employment opportunities in Dublin Port.

Historically, maritime knowledge in the port has passed down between generations, and Murray hopes to keep this tradition alive by adding commercial certification for its course graduates.

The courses run by the Trust and supported by the Dublin Port Company are, according to Murray, unique to the Liffey environment and the Dublin Port area.

Seafaring technicians from the local area as well as external contractors approved by the Marine Survey Office (MSO), Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and Irish Sailing (ISA) will carry out the courses over a series of different modules.

Courses in 2022

The aim is to operate three courses in 2022. Each course will be carried out over 14 weeks under the Nautical Trust's Head instructor, Jimmy Dent.

Students do not require any educational qualifications or previous marine experience before joining the course, but Safe Pass and Manual Handling certification are required before the course starts.

The plan is for the courses to provide opportunities on the Liffey similar to what is available at the Maritime College in Cork and the Seamanship Centre in Donegal.

The experience gained from the introductory Marine Training Programme will give trainees the foundations to seek employment in the marine industry and prepare them to advance into further marine education.

The Irish Nautical Trust has devised a 14-week community based comprehensive Maritime Training Course for up to 10 students per course.Student tuition - The Irish Nautical Trust has devised a 14-week community based comprehensive Maritime Training Course for up to 10 students per course. The training is suitable for looking to begin a pathway to the Maritime Industry. Photo: INT

Seafaring

Course modules will include an introduction to Dublin Port and a code of practice for anyone involved in dock work. There will also be classes on seamanship, navigation and pilotage, as well as marine engine and hull maintenance. 

An introduction to powerboating will demonstrate safe boat handling for Irish waters and the course includes a period of practical workboat experience on the river. 

The skills learned are essential for anyone considering a career on any boats that ply the Liffey, such as tour, cruise and ferry boats. Workboats such as tugs and pilot boats and educational boats such as training vessels.

"We hope to establish a working relationship with marine businesses by creating a linked work experience programme with the many companies that already operate within the port", Murray says. 

Irish Nautical Trust logo

At the end of five years, Murray says he expects the Trust will have graduated a minimum of 120 students into full-time employment or further education in the maritime sector.

In the future, Murray also hopes the training model will go beyond the Dublin Docklands and grow to include other communities throughout Ireland that wish to embrace this type of training.  

Irish Nautical Trust Maritime Training Entry Requirements

• Minimum 18 years of age
• Not in full-time education
• Genuine interest in pursuing a career in the maritime sector
• Ability to work as part of a team
• Working knowledge of the English language
• Standard Medical fitness to include an eye test including colour vision

Courses began in February 2022. Contact Irish Nautical Trust at [email protected] or call 01- 66 88 113

Irish Nautical Trust Maritime Training

Published in River Liffey

The debate about the future form of Dublin Port moved up a gear or two in mid-February with the revelation of the existence of the Docklands Business Forum, and its enthusiasm for moving the working docks elsewhere. With 200 or so members, and more than a few of them from the heavy hitters among the docklands-headquartered global hi-tech communications companies, it has all the makings of a nice little earner, coming complete with a Chief Executive and supportive quotes from some universally-recognised corporate names.

Fair play to all involved, it seems to have struck a viable chord at a time when marketable new business ideas are strenuously sought. That said, knowing the hidden difficulties of a mega-project like port re-location (particularly in the constrained circumstances of the East Coast of Ireland), we can’t help but wonder if it’s just an attractive and marketable idea rather than a viable concept.

Major ports are three-dimensional entities, and the most important dimension is the one you can’t see – the depth of the water. Yet most of mankind tends to see the sea as no more than a watery surface. Thus this new movement’s current central theme is slightly reminiscent of the Boris Bridge across the North Channel, whose proponents argued that as the shortest sensible distance – between Donaghadee in Ireland and Portpatrick in Scotland – is only 19 miles, then it should be perfectly possible to build a bridge, as there already is a 37-mile long bridge in China.

But as it happens, many miles of the Chinese Bridge were built across water so shallow it could have been a causeway. Making it an impressive bridge was something of a vanity project. By contrast, where the tide-riven storm-tossed North Channel isn’t already quite deep, it is instead very deep indeed, with those ultra-depths filled with dumped World War II explosives for an added construction challenge.

Dublin Port’s situation is – in the broadest sense – unique, and it has to find its own solutions instead of expecting to draw on “international best practice”.Dublin Port’s situation is – in the broadest sense – unique, and it has to find its own solutions instead of expecting to draw on “international best practice”

So the idea was quietly discarded (after a Feasibility Study costing more than €1 million), and those attracted to grandiose infrastructural projects will probably have turned their attention elsewhere, such as towards the Let’s Cover Ireland With An Astrodome Movement, or the Dublin Airport Should Be Underground Project.

But enough of that. Let’s be clear that in Dublin, the Docklands Business Forum is putting forward serious ideas in promoting the re-location of Dublin Port’s activities regardless of the problem of depth requirement elsewhere, and the Forum is doing so in the genuine belief that their ideas will improve and enhance the city’s waterfront environment.

If implemented, their ideas would certainly improve and enhance the already large collection of fine old banknotes held by certain high-profile property developers. But we’ll set that aside for now, and respect the fact that despite the highly-regarded skill with which Dublin Port is managed within its constrained activities space, powerful spokesmen for the DBF demand that Dublin follow “international best practice” elsewhere, and move the port, even if it involves the dispersing of its activities to several locations.

By so doing, they argue, space would be created in the former docklands estate to build much-needed accommodation for their expanding staff. Occasionally the word “housing” comes in, but it’s difficult to escape the feeling that they’re talking of apartment blocks, and in Ireland apartment blocks aren’t housing, let alone homes - they’re flats, which are fine for couples, but few families like them.

Dublin Port have already identified Bremore north of Balbriggan as the best possible location for an alternative port, but to function successfully its construction would have to be a “mega-project” of incalculable expense, unjustifiable for the foreseeable future.Dublin Port have already identified Bremore north of Balbriggan as the best possible location for an alternative port, but to function successfully its construction would have to be a “mega-project” of incalculable expense, unjustifiable for the foreseeable future.

In their promotion of this, we’re surely justified in asking why - if they’re really so enthusiastic to radically change the nature of the port area - why were they so keen to build their shiny new HQ blocks in the dockland area in the first place? Why didn’t they cluster their glass cities out in agreeable business parks up towards the Dublin Mountains where they’ll be able to create a sense of remoteness from the nitty-gritty of real life, which is currently to be found in the contemporary dockland scene where ships come and go with frequency every day, and there’s a continuous and invigorating sense of visible commerce and trade.

For of course they were drawn to the Docklands because of the fascinating sense of colourful character about the place, energised by its sense of everyday dynamic interaction with the sea and shipping with a vibrant maritime culture which the Dublin Port authority actively encourages in a laudable and visionary way. Yet in hoping to move the port activities elsewhere, they would be tearing the living beating heart out of it all.

If the corporate office tenants in the Dublin Docklands find shipping and its activities so difficult to live with, then why did they choose to locate there in the first place?If the corporate office tenants in the Dublin Docklands find shipping and its activities so difficult to live with, then why did they choose to locate there in the first place?

If they have their way on this potentially trendy idea, Dublin Port would become no more than Port Disneyland, and the short coastline at Bremore close north of Balbriggan would become the location of a hugely expensive yet totally soul-less ships’ cargo handling installation run by minimal staff, an Orwellian setup with little organic connection to its hinterland.

An Orwellian monster….. if the possible alternative port at exposed Bremore was built to standards of “international best practice”, its cost would be prohibitively expensiveAn Orwellian monster….. if the possible alternative port at exposed Bremore was built to standards of “international best practice”, its cost would be prohibitively expensive

Yet in its favour, we’ll hear that cliché about “following best international practice”. As Dublin generally manages to be a moderately entertaining and liveable place by quite often not following best international practice, that’s a statement which deserves examination, and where better to see the result of leading and very trend-setting international practice than in New York?

Admittedly the significant visit was 25 years ago, but the Big Apple being what it is, even in 1997 New York was a glimpse of today’s possible future in Dublin. Needless to say, it was a sailing-related business, as we’d been down at Annapolis for the 75th Anniversary Ball in the Naval College for the Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water Medal, and we arrived in New York high on the adrenalin of having been shooting the breeze with such Blue Water medallists as Carleton Mitchell, John Guzzwell, Tim Curtis and our own Paddy Barry.

All skyline and no shipping nor sense of the sea nearby – New York’s example would be a mistake for Dublin. Photo: W M NixonAll skyline and no shipping nor sense of the sea nearby – New York’s example would be a mistake for Dublin. Photo: W M Nixon

But you need to be in full fighting trim as you hit New York, otherwise it will hit you first. We happened to be staying in the NYYC which has its little formalities, and in the morning when our bull-necked Commodore arrived down for breakfast with an open-neck shirt, he was politely requested to wear a neck-tie. He stumped off to his room and returned – still steaming - wearing his Royal Cork tie, loudly informing the waiter that he was wearing the tie of a club which had been in existence for more than a hundred years when the site of his little club was still marshland. So thereafter we had our casual breakfasts in Joe’s Diner or some such place next door, while close beyond it was the wonderful Algonquin Hotel to provide an added alternative should the Commodore find further NYYC house rules irksome.

Personally I found the NYYC enchanting, as sailors are my tribe, our clubhouses are our temples, and the NYYC in New York is one of the best of them, while also providing the most convenient of bases for a two-and-a-half day blitz on Manhattan. Even in only that short time space, one day runs into another, but on sunny days in May such as we experienced, I can recommend an early visit to Wall Street and the Stock Exchange, as the smell of serious money first thing in the morning sets you up for the day.

Then maybe a cross-river jaunt on one of the ferries to savour the skyline, for in those long-gone days the Twin Towers still set the tone. Then as it was getting near the thirsty time of day, when the Commodore said he’d go anywhere except McSorley’s expletive-deleted saloon, I suggested Fraunce’s down near The Battery, Fraunce’s being the historic Tavern where George Washington took farewell of his troops on December 4th 1783 after their final War of Independence victory.

We bellied up to the bar in accepted New York style, and the barman took one look at the Commodore and threw the top of the gin bottle into the bin. Apparently Fraunce’s can get crowded later in the day, so we were having the best of it in terms of attention, friendliness and generosity, such that we concluded that it’s not only a wonder that George Washington could get back on his horse after savouring the Fraunce’s experience, but it’s a miracle that once in the saddle, he was actually facing the right way…..

The QE2 starts her stately progress down the empty Hudson RiverThe QE2 starts her stately progress down the empty Hudson River

To clear your head after Fraunce’s Tavern, zoom straight to the very top of the Empire State building. It’s one of those special life experiences that don’t disappoint, like arriving with the dawn into Venice on a cruising boat, or seeing the mighty botafumeiro whoosh across the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela after you’ve had a decidedly brisk sail southwards across Biscay.

And yet it was atop the Empire State Building on a sunny May afternoon that we finally fully grasped the real meaning of what happens when a great port moves its ship movements elsewhere. For although the city buzzed far below as only New York can, all around the edge was the dead skeleton of a port, and utterly empty were nearly all the berths which had previously heaved with life to give New Yorkers the feeling that they interacted with the wonders of the sea every bit as much as they very clearly interacted with the pure beauty of money.

Of course, with our luck, there were actually two ships berthed among the many vacant berths, and one of them slowly emerged stern-first into the Hudson and headed downriver. She was the QE2. She was the only vessel moving in the entire visible waterway.

With the World Trade Center Twin Towers still standing in 1997, the QE 2’s solitary seaward departure past the Statue of Liberty was perfectly framed. Photo: W M NixonWith the World Trade Center Twin Towers still standing in 1997, the QE 2’s solitary seaward departure past the Statue of Liberty was perfectly framed. Photo: W M Nixon

We watched her head seaward past the Statue of Liberty, and then remembered that somewhere far below us in the empty docks, there was one basin temporarily occupied by a small fleet of sailing superyachts preparing for the NYYC’s Transatlantic Challenge. We found them, and among them we found Peter Metcalfe from Strangford Lough as skipper aboard an enormous purple machine, while just across the way was an extremely good replica of the schooner America, looking as wonderful as ever.

Skipper Peter Metcalfe of Strangford Lough aboard “some big purple yoke” in New York as the fleet of superyachts prepare for the NYYC Transatlantic Challenge 1997, with the replica schooner America in background. Photo: W M NixonSkipper Peter Metcalfe of Strangford Lough aboard “some big purple yoke” in New York as the fleet of superyachts prepare for the NYYC Transatlantic Challenge 1997, with the replica schooner America in background. Photo: W M Nixon

Hello New York – the schooner America and the Empire State Building beyond made for a faint maritime link in ManhattanHello New York – the schooner America and the Empire State Building beyond made for a faint maritime link in Manhattan

But that was it as far as direct interaction is now to be found between New York and the sea which created it in the first place. Manhattan has enclosed itself in a stockade of skyscrapers, and if you move into the city for only a hundred yards, the sea behind you might just as well not be there.

Yet Manhattan is a fortress island, whereas Dublin is an inclusive estuary. Our city embraces the sea. With great ingenuity, the port engineers over the centuries have created massive bull walls which guide the ebb tide to scour the significant dredged depths which provide access to a transport hub for large ships and their many cargoes. Dublin Port, in short, is a work of genius. It behoves us to respect this by keeping it active, instead of turning it into some sort of residential, commercial and hospitality theme park.

For our experience had shown us that if you wanted off-the-wall entertainment for a couple of days, then New York was tops. But as somewhere to live and work and have a connection with real life by land and sea, Dublin is in a league of its own.

Manhattan project for Dublin Port 2050? That could almost be the Ferryman Inn….. Photo: W. M.NixonManhattan project for Dublin Port 2050? That could almost be the Ferryman Inn….. Photo: W. M.Nixon

Published in W M Nixon
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Dublin Port has announced its regret that the Chief Executive, Eamonn O’Reilly, is departing the company. He informed the Board of his decision to leave at the end of August 2022.

Mr O’Reilly has been in the position since 2010. Over the past twelve years, the company’s business volumes have grown by one quarter and profits by more than one-third, and under Mr O’Reilly’s leadership, the strategic direction of the company has been transformed by Masterplan 2040. He has overseen capital investment of €500 million in nationally critical port infrastructure and there is now a pipeline of projects and finance in place to allow development to continue to bring Dublin Port towards its ultimate capacity by 2040.

In his early days, Mr O’Reilly devised the concept of a 30-year Masterplan for Dublin Port which has provided a long-term blueprint for port development and, within that, he identified the need for a transformation in the relationship between the Port and the City. The success in achieving this essential strategic objective has resulted in new and diverse cultural, heritage and community initiatives to strengthen this important link.

The Board is now beginning the task of recruiting a new Chief Executive to ensure that the progress that has been made during Mr O’Reilly’s tenure continues in the years ahead.

The Chairman of Dublin Port Company, Mr Jerry Grant, commented as follows:

“I and the Board are very sorry to see Eamonn depart. We are very grateful to him for his professionalism since taking on the role in 2010 and we wish him every success in the next phase of his career. Eamonn has made a great contribution to Dublin Port over the past twelve years and has built up a top-class management team to continue the work of Masterplan 2040 in the coming years. Eamonn fulfilled his dual role as Chief Executive and as a Board member with dedication, enthusiasm and drive. He has left a lasting legacy in terms of the strategic development of the port, its reintegration with the City and the exceptional executive team managing this vital public infrastructure.

“The position of Chief Executive of Dublin Port is both challenging and exciting and our challenge now is to ensure that the recruitment process that has commenced will attract a strong field of candidates, leading to the appointment of a worthy successor to Eamonn.”

"I have relished every day of my time in Dublin Port and enjoyed the challenge of developing and implementing Masterplan 2040"

Eamonn O’Reilly reflected on his departure as follows:

“When I took the job in 2010, I did not envisage that I would still be here twelve years later. I have relished every day of my time in Dublin Port and enjoyed the challenge of developing and implementing Masterplan 2040. Having gone through Brexit and with all three Masterplan projects up and running - two under construction - it’s the right time for me to move on.

“At this stage, Dublin Port is well resourced in terms of plans, finance and people to maintain the momentum needed to deliver the additional cargo handling capacity that is required and to consolidate the revived relationship between the Port and the City. I will leave Dublin Port with great memories of the colleagues and friends I have worked with both in the Port itself and in local docklands communities. Dublin Port was the eighth chapter of my career and I am looking forward with excitement to the new challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Published in Dublin Port

Aware, the national charity supporting people impacted by depression and bipolar disorder, has announced the live return of its annual Harbour2Harbour Walk. A popular and successful fundraising event for over 15 years, the walk takes place on St. Patrick’s Day and follows a beautifully scenic route around Dublin Bay. Registration for the walk costs €25 and can be done at www.aware.ie/harbourtoharbour. All participants will receive a t-shirt as part of their registration and are encouraged to wear these while taking part in the walk to increase awareness.

The event’s return comes following a two-year break in live fundraising events due to Covid-19. The Harbour2Harbour Walk offers an alternative outdoor activity on Ireland’s national holiday and is an opportunity for the public to engage with Aware and support its important work. People taking part in the event posting to social media are asked to share using the hashtag #WeAreAware.

Over the last year, close to 30,000 people have directly engaged with Aware’s support services and a further 8,000 people took part in education programmes facilitated by Aware. The Covid-19 pandemic has further fuelled the need for such supports, with Aware expecting sustained high levels of demand during 2022.

Speaking about the 2022 Harbour2Harbour Walk, Dominic Layden, Aware CEO, said, “The return to live events gives us a chance to come together on St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy a rewarding walk around Dublin Bay and also to reflect on the last two years.

“We are encouraging as many people as possible to take part in our Harbour to Harbour Walk to help raise funds for our vital services. It promises to be a great day out, and an opportunity to take part in something special that can make a real difference in the lives of people experiencing depression or bipolar disorder. I would like to sincerely thank our sponsor Dublin Port Company for their continued partnership which makes this event possible.”

The event is a 26km walk around Dublin Bay from Dún Laoghaire to Howth or vice versa and aims to raise funds and draw attention to the important work done by Aware. It last took place in 2019, when it attracted almost 2,000 participants. People taking part can begin their walk at either end of the route at approximately 10.30 am, although this start time is flexible. The walk is suitable for all levels of fitness and takes approximately four and a half hours to complete.

At the halfway point of the walk, Dublin Port Company will host the Halfway Gathering at Dublin Port Plaza, where fundraisers have an opportunity to take a break, grab a refreshment, and enjoy some of the entertainment on show, including a magician and a DJ. Participants can also take a moment to themselves by visiting the Reflection Tree at the Plaza. Under the Reflection Tree, participants can leave a personal message, or thought, about their experience during the pandemic. Aware will share some of these anonymous messages on social media.

The Director of Services at Aware, Stephen McBride, said, “This event and other fundraisers help to ensure that individuals across Ireland experiencing mental health difficulties know they are not alone and are provided with the knowledge, advice and tools they need to improve their wellbeing. We couldn’t do this without the support of the public and we are so happy to back hosting Harbour2Harbour again.”

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive at Dublin Port Company said, “Dublin Port Company is happy to be in a position to support Aware with this important fundraising event. We look forward to welcoming walkers to Port Centre’s public plaza at the Halfway Gathering and our team will be on hand with refreshments and plenty of support to all taking part in this great cause.

To further mark St. Patrick’s Day, the Port will be going green again this year by lighting up Port Centre, Crane 292, Odlums and the Diving Bell.”

Published in Dublin Bay
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