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Displaying items by tag: Northern Ireland

#FERRY NEWS - BBC News reports that the captain of the cargo ship that collided with a passenger ferry in Belfast Lough could face up to two years in prison as his case has been sent to Crown Court.

Miroslaw Pozniak, 55, pleaded guilty on Friday to the charge of 'excess alcohol by the master of a ship' after the cargo vessel Union Moon collided with the Stena Feronia close to the Fairway buoy on Wednesday.

Both vessels were substantially damaged in the incident but there are no reports of injuries.

Newtownards Court heard yesterday that Pozniak has been fired by his employer. He will remain in custody until 20 March when the judge will again consider bail.

Published in Ferry

#RACING UPDATE - This summer the Royal Ulster Yacht Club will stage the 50th anniversary edition of the Ailsa Craig Race, one of the classics of the Northern Ireland offshore yacht racing calendar.

Many of the competitors from the inaugural race in 1962 - several of whom are now in their 80s - are expected to compete in the overnight challenge, which takes the fleet from Bangor to the rock at the mouth of the Clyde in Scotland.

The 2012 Ailsa Craig Race, sponsored by Hamilton Shipping, takes place on 15 June.

Published in Racing

#COASTAL NOTES - Northern Irish director Terry George has returned to a hero's welcome in his native Co Down following his Oscar win for short film The Shore, the Irish Echo reports.

The film, which was set on Coney Island near Killough on the egde of Strangford Lough, tells the story of a man who returns to his coastal community after 25 years living in the USA.

“It’s great to come home and to visit everyone who made the film possible, the people who were in it, go back and see our neighbors,” said George on landing in Belfast. “You kind of hope that you’ll bring back the awards here to Ireland.”

The Shore is also a family effort, as it was produced by the director's daughter Oonagh George.

Published in Coastal Notes

#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

#SURFING - Northern Irish surf pro Al Mennie will be taking on a different challenge later this month, when he sets out to paddle a surfboard from the Giant's Causeway to Scotland in the name of charity.

"It will be the northernmost crossing of its type in the world," says Mennie of the 25-mile route from Antrim to the Scottish island of Islay.

"I will have to deal with freezing cold temperatures, large open ocean swell, potentially high winds and the deadly currents around a well known navigational hazard of a North Atlantic island."

Mennie will be on his own except for a support boat carrying food and water. He will be wearing a 6mm wetsuit and crossing the most dangerous stretch of water around the Irish coastline, "known for its extremely deadly currents as the Irish Sea tides drain between Rathlin Island and Northern Ireland".

The NI surfer is embarking on the challenge in aid of Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke, which is a charity close to his own heart.

"My dad died suddenly of a heart attack aged 50 and I know lots of people who have also lost loved ones to heart problems too," he says, "so I really want to help make a difference by raising money for this charity."

For more details or to make a donation, visit the charity page at Al Mennie's website HERE.

Published in Surfing

#TITANIC - The Independent's Simon Calder reports on his special preview of Titanic Belfast, the £97 million (€116.3 million) tribute to the ill-fated ship on Belfast Lough.

"For once, the term 'of Titanic proportions' applies literally." he writes. "The top of the five-storey building is exactly as high as the tip of Titanic when the transatlantic liner was completed at the Harland and Wolff yard a century ago."

The monument is not only intended as a tribute to the tragedy, but also as a beacon to attract tourists to the "open, friendly city" of Belfast that has emerged after decades of the Troubles.

The travel writer compares the city's plans to the renaissance of Bilbao in northern Spain - like Belfast, a former shipbuilding centre damaged by terrorism that has become "a vibrant, elegant city that stands alongside Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin" thanks in part to the bold architecture of the Guggenheim museum.

Calder adds: "Almost every aspect of Titanic Belfast chimes with the city beyond the structure's metal jacket and big windows. And as with Titanic herself, the fitting out is designed to impress."

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Titanic Belfast will be one of the largest employers in Northern Ireland’s tourism industry, as well as one of the North’s largest recruiters, when it opens later this month.

The Independent has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Titanic

#COASTAL NOTES - Northern Ireland's only aquarium could be privatised, according to the News Letter.

Ards Borough Council is reportedly considering its options for the future of Exploris, the aquarium and seal sanctuary in Portaferry that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Plans were made four years ago to transfer ownership to English aquarium group Blue Reef Leisure, but the deal fell through when that firm was aquired by Spain's Aspro.

Now the council has announced it is calling for proposals for private investment in the Exploris facility - which costs around £500,000 (€600,000) a year to run - following "renewed interest from the public sector".

The move aims to "establish a clear direction for the future of Exploris", which houses one of Northern Ireland's top 10 visitor attractions in its popular seal sanctuary.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#BUSINESS - Water systems firm Whale has featured in The Sunday Times' Best Small Companies to Work For list for the third year running.

The 2012 edition of the list sees the Bangor-based company - and the only Northern Irish representative - rise 19 places to number 77.

Whale was particularly commended for looking after the wellbeing of its staff, its overall ranking of eighth place reflecting the faith in managing director Patrick Hurst and the employees trust in the “sound capabilities” of the leadership.

Patrick Hurst commented: “To be listed again in 2012 is just fantastic for all the team at Whale. Our employees and their attitude and loyalty is what defines the business and is core to its continued commercial success.

"The Whale team in the are a credit to the company and themselves. They have all worked hard together to continually maintain the quality and introduce innovative, market leading products."

Whale (Munster Simms Engineering Limited) is a key player in the leisure marine, recreational vehicle, shower drainage and industrial markets. The company specialises in the design and manufacture of water, waste and heating products including manual and electric freshwater, bilge and waste pumps, Quick Connect plumbing systems, faucets, showers, space and water heaters, and accessories.

Published in News Update

#NEWS UPDATE - The PSNI has confirmed that the body recovered from Belfast Lough yesterday morning is that of missing Stranraer man Carius McNicoll.

According to BBC News, the 24-year-old student was last seen on a ferry shortly before docking on 8 January.

His body was discovered near Holywood in Co Down. A post-mortem has confirmed that the cause of death was drowning.

In a separate incident yeserday, The Irish Times reports that a body recovered by divers in the River Lagan is believed to be that of a missing 20-year-old man.

John Murphy had reportedly entered the river at the Lagan Weir after an evening at the nearby Odyssey Arena last month. The body found has yet to be formally identified as Murphy.

In the wake of his loss, Murphy's family has called for an end to cheap drinks promotions.

Published in News Update

#ANGLING - Northern Ireland river anglers are taking a novel approach to lobbying Stormont over salmon exploitation by harnessing the power of social networking.

According to the News Letter, the NoSalmonNets campaigners "have swapped their fishing rods for laptop computers", using Facebook to attract support for their campaign to bring an end to the offshore netting of wild salmon stocks.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Northern Ireland's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) has called for a voluntary ban on offshore salmon fishing, following new research that shows a significant drop in their numbers in the North's rivers.

Seamus Donnelly of NoSalmonNets has welcomed DCAL's recent decision to stop issusing licences for commercial salmon nets that may "contravene European law" off Antrim's north coast, made in an effort to protect salmon stocks in the Foyle river system.

Donnelly explained that the campaign was borne from frustration at the apparent inaction by the NI Executive over the protection of salmon.

“One of the keys to our success has to be Facebook," he said. "The internet has an unlimited reach and we took advantage of that.”

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling
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