THIS ISLAND NATION
Weekly Maritime News and Comment.
By Tom MacSweeney, Marine Correspondent
Dateline – June 30, 2014.
GOVERNMENT PLANNING A NEW MARITIME SAFETY STRATEGY
The Irish Maritime Administration, which is effectively the Coast Guard and other sections of maritime transport within the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, has decided that Ireland needs a new maritime safety culture. What effects will this have?
To read this story, please go to my weekly THIS ISLAND NATION blog on the Afloat magazine website: http://bit.ly/1lKC93v
TOP AWARD FOR BALLYGLASS MAN
The top award which the RNLI can give to a volunteer for services to the lifeboats is Honorary Lifeboat Governorship. It is handed out only sparingly. Buddy Valkenburg from Ballyglass in County Mayo has been awarded this distinction for his work in support of the service and the West Coast lifeboat station. “Long before a lifeboat was placed in Ballyglass in 1989 he was fundraising for the RNLI and has been a tremendous source of support for very many years,” according to RNLI Chairman, Charles Hunter-Pease, who presented the award.
Attempts are being made to form a national organisation for island fishermen. This follows the setting-up of the Donegal Islands Marine Resource Organisation which has met with representatives from Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Cork.
GO BY SHIP
After my difficulties with Aer Lingus last week at Cork Airport when travelling to Lisbon, 493 readers responded, a great majority of whom have also found airports unpleasant, unhelpful places. I eventually got to Lisbon via Faro to see the way in which that nation takes pride in its maritime heritage. Many of my maritime contacts suggested I should forge the airways. “Should have gone by ferry,” wrote Capt. Aedan Jameson, an old friend who is Operations Manager and Harbour Master at Rosslare Ferryport. Other maritime contacts wrote: “Ships carry your car and make travel easy;” and “Ferries respect people, airports don’t.” Cork Airport management has shown the good manners to contact me and apologise for what happened. However, not a sign of any such communication from Aer Lingus with which airline I was booked, as I write this week’s Facebook.
A PICTURE WHICH HAS A STRONG FISHING MESSAGE
The screen shot, reproduced here, is from the ‘tracking app’ which locates fishing boats in Irish waters. In June it showed gill netters and longliners along the length of the West and South West Coasts of Ireland. Published in The Marine Times newspaper, there were only two Irish boats amongst all those vessels. Most of the Irish fleet forced to remain in port because of not being allowed catching quotas by the European Union, a situation which our Government does not do enough to counteract.
THIS ISLAND NATION ON RADIO
On the July edition of THIS ISLAND NATION monthly hour-long radio programme I will be talking to the last man alive from the islanders who were evacuated from the Blasket Islands off Kerry in 1953 and 1954. As a youngster, Gearóid Cheaist Ó Catháin was described as “the loneliest boy in the world, whose only playmates are seagulls.” He tells a fascinating story about his life. I will also be discussing with Irish Sailing Association President, David Lovegrove, the ISA’s new strategy to counteract a decline in support for the sport. There will be stories about Loop Head Lighthouse; the history of Kinsale Harbour will be discussed; there will be reports from the RNLI; the Irish Water Safety Association and Inland Fisheries Ireland about the big numbers of blue sharks in Irish waters at present. The hour-long programme is produced at Community Radio, Youghal, on the East Cork coastline and broadcast at 7.30 p.m. on the first Wednesday night of each month. It is available live and as a Podcast on the station’s website www.cry104fm.com The programme is also broadcast on Near FM Dublin 90.3 on the first Friday of each month; by Raidio Corca Baiscinn in Clare on 94.8 FM and on the Afloat website www.afloat.ie and The Marine Times newspaper site www.marinetimes.ie It is available on request to all community radio stations and I would be delighted to hear from more to widen the ‘family of the sea.’
UNION HALL GETS NEW LIFEBOAT
A 16-year campaign for an inshore lifeboat at Union Hall in West Cork has come to fruition with the arrival of an Atlantic 75 inshore boat there. It is due to become operational shortly, for a two-year trial period.
CLIFDEN HAS THREE LIFEBOATS!
Clifden in County Galway is unique in Ireland at present, being the only lifeboat station in the nation which has three operational lifeboats on duty. This follows the arrival there of the all-weather lifeboat which will be on trial for the next twelve months. There is a belief that this station needs an all-weather boat in addition to the inshore boat service. The all-weather boat now stationed at Clifden is named ‘Pride and Spirit’ and will go into service next month.
A MICKEY MOUSE RESCUE
It really was the rescue of Mickey Mouse, for which the Dun Laoghaire all-weather lifeboat was called out. After a series of emergency calls reporting an object crashing into the sea off Bray, Co.Wicklow, the lifeboat launched and, after a brief search, rescued a huge Mickey Mouse balloon. The RNLI says that paragliders had been operating in the area and there were initial fears that the object observed falling into the sea might have been one of these in difficulty. “While the crew posed for pictures with this ‘celebrity’ it is a timely reminder,” said RNLI spokeswoman, Niamh Stephenson, “of being careful with all types of inflatables, both in the air and on the water.”
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