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Weekly Maritime News Round-Up

THIS ISLAND NATION WEEKLY NEWS AND COMMENT ROUND-UP

Dateline – MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2014.
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THIS WEEK
Giving a voice to coastal communities; what do you think of the new names of Irish naval ships and more… Read on …

A VOICE FOR COASTAL COMMUNITIES

On Thursday, May 1, I will be chairing the opening session of a conference about coastal communities. This will be held at the Woodlands Hotel just outside Waterford City on the road to the fishing port of Dunmore East and the estuary village of Passage East. These areas have suffered heavily from depopulation as young people emigrated during the economic crisis. The decline of the fishing industry caused by EU policies which favour the bigger European nations, compounded by Government neglect, has been another factor. There still remains a role for our inshore fishery sector, but it needs committed policies which are in short State supply. Verbal posturing does not provide actual support. The conference will be the culmination of a ‘Capacity building Programme’ which is currently running amongst communities on both sides of the Waterford Estuary, including Cheekpoint, Duncannon. Ballyhack, the Hook area and Dunmore East.
“Effective and informed participation in policy-making and a sense of realistic belief in the future of coastal communities are aims that we have,” the organisers say.

It should be an interesting conference. I am looking forward to it. Readers of this page with any opinions to express are welcome to forward them to me for possible use at the conference.

CHANGING NAMES OF NAVAL VESSELS

There is a deal of unhappiness in the Navy about the names chosen for the new ships it is getting. It might be more accurate to state that these names were ‘decreed’ and the man being held responsible, or ‘blamed,’ as some of my sources describe it is the Minister for Defence, Alan Shatter, who is also the embattled Minister for Justice. My information is that he made it clear to Naval and Defence Forces top brass that he wanted to end the tradition of naming Irish Naval vessels after female mythological figures from Irish history. So instead of the names of Maeve, Macha, Deirdre, Roisin, etc., over past years the new vessels are to be named Samuel Beckett and James Joyce. While I have no objection to Irish literary figures, there is not the same ring about a Naval vessel declaring themselves by these names, so my Navy sources tell me.

What do you think? Comments welcome to the Email address below.

CHANGING WARSHIPS

The changing design of warships is shown in the US Navy’s new ‘stealth warship’. The USS Zumwalt is the biggest destroyer ever built for the United States Navy and has been under construction at the Bath Iron Works Shipyard in Maine since 2009. There will be two more of the same guided missile design which are radically different from vessels currently operational. The “tumblehome” hull is intended to make the ship less visible to enemy radar at sea. It will have reduced manning, with a crew of 130 and has what is described as an “advanced gun system.”

NEW SONAR SYSTEM ON IRISH RESEARCH VESSEL

A new multibeam sonar system on the Marine Institute’s Research Vessel Celtic Voyager will allow a better level of detail of seabed features to be captured during mapping surveys. It will greatly increase the capability of the vessel to acquire seabed bathymetry data as part of the INFOMAR seabed mapping programme and other projects. The new EM2040 system will be the primary mapping tool during INFOMAR survey operations offshore County Galway, Clare, and West Cork, extending Irish seabed coverage. This seabed mapping activity will support ocean energy development and fisheries management and provide improved navigation for safe shipping and transport, according to the Institute. It was successfully installed onboard the research vessel during dry-docking in Killybegs. The EM2040 system was purchased from Kongsberg Maritime and was installed on the vessel at the Department of Marine shipyard in Killybegs by P&O Maritime with the assistance of Mooney Boats of Killybegs. This system replaces an older system which has been in use since 2000.

250 FISHING VESSELS CHECKED BY NAVY

The Naval Service detained its third fishing boat of this year on Friday off Mizen Head on the West Cork coastline. It was taken to Castletownbere for possible prosecution on fishing offence charges. The Navy has now carried out 250 boardings to inspect vessels this year. The LE Roisin was the vessel involved at the weekend.

WAGE ROW IN AUSTRALIAN OFFSHORE WORK

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, which represents exploration and development companies and the Maritime Union of Australia which represents more than 14,000 workers are in dispute over claims by the employers that wage rates are too high for offshore work and are preventing more investment in natural gas exploration. APPEA Chief Executive David Byers declared at the Association’s annual conference in Perth: “If we are to remain competitive and attract the capital needed to develop projects, we have to reduce the cost of doing business.” The industry is valued at 180 billion Australian dollars. Chevron Corp. and BG Group Plc are among companies who say their costs are too high on Australian LNG projects. The nation has about A$200 billion in LNG ventures under construction, putting the country on course to surpass Qatar as the world’s biggest supplier of the fuel. The Maritime Union of Australia said wages aren’t to blame and that pay increases haven’t kept pace with industry revenue growth, according to Paddy Crumlin, the National Secretary.

MARINE SINGERS

The Marine Institute staff at Oranmore in Galway have their own group of singers who will be taking part in the Mayo International Choral Festival next month. They drew an attendance of 700 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway this month. Last year they won Choir Factor under the guidance of Choir Director Carmel Dooley, which helped raise €11,000 for charitable purposes.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS ISLAND NATION

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• THIS ISLAND NATION MONTHLY RADIO PROGRAMME FOR APRIL IS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD AS A PODCAST FROM www.cry104.fm.com

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EDITION OF THE MARINE TIMES on sale throughout Ireland

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