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Weekly Maritime News Roundup

THIS ISLAND NATION
Weekly Maritime News and Comment.
By Tom MacSweeney, Marine Correspondent
Dateline – June 16, 2014.

THIS WEEK -The only fish of its kind in the world is not protected in 
THIS ISLAND NATION
Weekly Maritime News and Comment.
By Tom MacSweeney, Marine Correspondent
Dateline – June 16, 2014.

THIS WEEK -The only fish of its kind in the world is not protected in Ireland; delaying seafarers’ rights; Earth or Ocean .. and much more….

SHADDING BACK TO THE ICE AGE

A fish which is unique in the world is located in an Irish lake, but there is no Irish legislation protecting it, evening though it is a critically endangered species. This is the ¬¬¬Killarney shad, unique to one lake in the world, Lough Leane in Kerry. It is also known locally as the ‘goureen.’ According to researchers a type of twaite shad may go back in history some 16,000 years in the area. Because the fish does not migrate to the sea its gene pool is now limited to the lake which it inhabits. Inland Fisheries Ireland, the State body responsible for the inland waterways, describes the shad as not having any economic, commercial value in Ireland and, though it is on the Red List of critically endangered species, a National Park and Wildlife Report, with contributions from the previous Central Fisheries Board “assigned a good conservation status” for the Killarney shad “as the population is thriving and the water quality of the lakes is improving. “It is confined to Lough Leane. Spawning occurs in gravelled areas within the lake.” ‘Relatives,’ in fish terms, of the Killarney shad, the Twaite shad and Allis shad are anadromous species and are also at risk in Irish waters. Both species live in the sea, but spawn in freshwater.

EARTH OR OCEAN?

There is more water in the oceans on Earth than land, so why this planet is called Earth rather than Ocean is an interesting question. Now there are reports of a vast reservoir of water, enough to fill the world’s oceans three times over having been found beneath the crust of the Earth. The water is located in a mineral called ringwoodite about 400 miles beneath the crust of the planet. The reports have been published in the journal Science. There is debate as to whether they challenge previous understanding of how the planet was formed, suggesting that the oceans ay have come from water within the Earth being forced to the surface by geological activity, rather than existing belief that this happened from icy comets hitting the planet.

FUTURE OF WHITEGATE

The future of Whitegate Oil Refinery in Cork Harbour appears secure after the US company which owns it decided not to continue its plans to sell the facility, Ireland’s only refinery. They had been trying to sell it since last June. Phillips 66 also owns the storage facility in Bantry Bay, formerly the Whiddy Island facility and it seems that it may still be seeking to sell that. The decision not to proceed with the sale of Whitegate may, however, only be a temporary one, because it is required to operate it until 2016 under an agreement with the Irish Government. Whitegate has operated for 55 years and is reported to need upgrading which would require considerable investment. The Government sold Whitegate in 2001 along with the Bantry crude oil terminal to another US company, Tosco, which was bought by Phillips which was then taken over by Conoco. Whitegate supplies a third of Ireland’s oil and is crucial to energy security.

‘SKINFLINT’ SHIP OWNERS

The ships’ officers union, Nautilus, has called for the naming and shaming of what it termed ‘skinflint employers’ who refuse to cover the costs of seafarers they employ undergoing new training courses required by STCW Convention amendments. “Some penny-pinching firms are leaving officers to pay for their own revalidation and refresher courses,” according to the union.

DROGHEDA JOINS CORK AND CLARE IN SUBMARINE HONOUR

Drogheda now has a memorial to the Irishman who was the first man in the world to build a working submarine, John Philip Holland, already claimed by Cork and Clare as from their counties. It was unveiled as part of Drogheda’s maritime festival.

• Wexford Maritime Festival will be held from June 27 to 29.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT STALEMATE ON SEAFARERS’ RIGHTS

Italian shipowners, using an MEP from their country, frustrated the attempts of the European Commission to end the way in which seafarers are excluded from the protection of a number of key EU Directives dealing with workers’ rights. The MEP led a report which sought to restrict seafarers’ rights, claiming that they would reduce the competitiveness of shipping and that seafarers were already adequately protected by national legislation in EU Member States. That was eventually rejected after lobbying by seafarer unions, but all of that has delayed legislation to grant rights to seafarers. It could be next year before the matter is raised again.

IRISH SAILORS WIN BRITISH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

The prestigious British national sailing championships IRC has been won by Irish sailors. Led by Anthony O’Leary who will also captain the Irish national team at next month’s Commodore’s Cup, the world cup of offshore cruiser racing, a team from the Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven triumphed at the weekend in the home of British yachting, the Solent. The IRC championships are run by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and it was elements within that club which some years ago fought against proposals to have the Commodores Cup sailed off Dublin Bay. They wanted to prevent a top British sailing event being moved from “the home of British sailing” to Ireland. Now the Cork sailors have carried off the top trophy from that auspicious UK location! Despite being one of the smallest boats, the crew of the Ker 39, Antix, sailed extremely well to win the UK Championship title. It is a particularly opportune win because it comes only weeks ahead of the start of the Commodore’s Cup where O’Leary will captain a three-boat Irish team against stiff international competition.

CRUISE FIRMS FAILING ON CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY SAYS NEW STUDY

Leeds Metropolitan University has published a study which claims that cruise ship companies are failing to deliver on corporate social responsibility. The study analysed what it termed “lack of corporate social responsibility disclosures” and declared that it found 80 cruise companies did not mention CSR on their websites and only 12 published corporate social reports. It has accused the cruise ship industry of ignoring CSR policies for employment, environment and the destinations they visit.

EU SHIPPING AIDS ESSENTIAL

The European Community Shipowners’ Association has said that shipping activities in the 28 EU Member States contribute €146bn to the European economy, but that without State aids to the European shipping industry that figure would be only €68bn. Without tonnage tax and other State aid measures, the number of jobs in shipping would be around half the current level, it says.

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THIS ISLAND NATION EXPANDS COVERAGE

Expanding maritime coverage to provide a range of information about the marine sector to a wide audience and readership, THIS ISLAND NATION continues to expand its media presence:

THIS ISLAND NATION hour-long maritime monthly radio programme is now broadcast on three community radio stations: Youghal 104FM; NEAR FM 90.3 Dublin and in Clare on Raidió Corca Baiscinn, based in West Clare which broadcasts on 94.8FM The programme is produced at Community Radio Youghal on the coast of East Cork. The programme is also available on station Podcasts and is transmitted on two marine news websites: www.afloat.ie and www.marinetimes.ie
THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme is also provided to NCBI Ireland for their monthly sound magazine for those with visual difficulties.

THIS ISLAND NATION blog is published each Friday on the afloat website www.afloat.ie/blogs/island-nation

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