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Weekly Maritime News Roundup

THIS ISLAND NATION
Weekly Maritime News and Comment
By Tom MacSweeney, Marine Correspondent
Dateline – August 11, 2014.
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THIS WEEK: Has the Government overcome “sea blindness”? Shipping Challenges; The World’s Biggest Bottle stolen by pirates… and much more…
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This weekly service reports and reviews maritime news and opinion and includes a digest of material from other THIS ISLAND NATION outlets about maritime matters.
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1,352 people read THIS ISLAND NATION ON FACEBOOK last week.
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THIS ISLAND NATION MONTHLY HOUR-LONG RADIO PROGRAMME AUGUST EDITION is now available as a Podcast from www.cry104fm.com and can be heard on www.afloat.ie/blogs/island-nation Programme items include: The Soviet take-over of Cork Harbour Board; Interviews with the builders of the first Longboat on the Shannon; the latest lifeboat, angling and water safety news and much more.
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DAILY MARITIME NEWS is provided on TWITTER: @TomMacSweeney
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THE LATEST MARITIME NEWS AND COMMENT

The sea moulds the Irish coastline; it lubricates the nation’s economy; its exploration is a resource for scientific investigation; it provides adventure and leisure. The sea which surrounds us also has the potential to be a cradle for national resources, with the power to feed and provide energy. A national strategy, “Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth,” was launched in 2012, intended to position Ireland to gain advantages from the global marine market, particularly for seafood, tourism oil and gas, ocean energy, to a predicted value of €1.2 billion. The Naval Service has got a new ship, another is under construction. There is a National Maritime College and the Beaufort Centre of IMERC, the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster, on the College Campus at Ringaskiddy to “promote Ireland as a world-renowned research and development location, that will unlock Ireland’s maritime and energy potential,” according to its own description. These are some of the positive developments.

So has the Government overcome the “sea blindness” which has pervaded national policy for many previous years?

In relation to last week’s report about the proposal to the United Nations that Ireland should have an Oceans Minister, why is it that an island nation does not have a dedicated maritime department of government and that aspects of the marine sphere are spread around so many departments that the importance of marine affairs has been so diffused? This despite pre-election promises by the present Coalition parties, Fine Gael and Labour, that maritime affairs would have the highest priority and be brought under one Department.

Over 95 per cent of all exports and imports to this island are moved by sea. Every import and export has to cross the sea, even the small percentage carried by air. Nothing can enter or exit the country without crossing over the sea.

What do you think? Is the maritime sphere given its proper place as a primary focus of national economic policy?

Your views are welcome. Email to: thisislandnation@gmail.com
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WHICH IS BEST FOR NATIONAL SAIL TRAINING?

FROM TOM HARDING, Bosun on Asgard II and on Jeanie Johnston and an experienced sailor on tall ships – in response to last week’s item WHICH IS BEST FOR NATIONAL SAIL TRAINING? in which I reported the suggestion by traditional boat enthusiast and supporter, Hal Sisk, that a fleet of Bantry Longboats would be better for national sail training purposes than Ireland having a tall ship for the purpose.

Tom Harding writes: “A fleet of Bantry longboats would, indeed, be a national asset but could never equal the benefits of a square-rigged tall ship. Working aloft, fisting and handing sail is a uniquely life-enhancing experience and puts balls on even a sissy!”

Just to remember that taking care of a ship, especially a wooden one, is a lot of work. Here is Tom Harding, oiling the wood with a brush. A little more about Tom, who is someone special, a really fan of tall ships and has sailed a lot on many of them. I first met him on HMS Rose in 1996 (the Rose is an American ship, a replica of a British frigate of the Independence war, which was rebuilt at the time of the Bicentennary commemoration and used for the movie ‘Master and Commander’. Then I saw him two years later on the Russian Kruzenshtern, where he was leading a group of members of Tall Ships Friends UK. And I had the surprise to meet him on Asgard II and the even greater surprise that he remembered me by name when I came on board. So this picture is dedicated to Tom Harding.

• Digested and photo tribute to Tom Harding from the website www.trekearth.com/gallery
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MAERSK WARNED ABOUT CONTAINERS

French maritime authorities have told Maersk Line that 517 containers lost overboard from the 7,226 TEU capacity Svendborg Maersk last February must be found by the end of the Summer. It is understood that 80 per cent of the containers were empty and the remainder contained dry, non-hazardous goods, including cigarettes. Thirteen containers were located floating on the surface by French support ships. Others were reported to have washed-up on the South-West coast of England. Maersk is being faced with fines of €250,000 resulting from the containers being lost. A sonar survey of the seabed in the French sea area where they were lost is being carried out to ascertain whether they could be a risk to fishing boats if their nets became snagged.
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SAILING FACES CHALLENGES

‘A man must be obsessed about something and a boat is as good as anything.’ That quote from E.B.White, an American editor and writer has often been used to summarise the spirit of sailing which appears to be under a degree of challenge at present, though it seems from talking to clubs and groups around the coast that the picture is not gloomy everywhere. However, there is an undeniable loss of numbers in quite a few clubs, a few of them major ones and racing seems to be taking the brunt of this. The future of sailing is under examination by the sport’s national association, the Irish Sailing Association and recommendations for change in the Association’s approach to promotion of the sport are expected. The drop-out of younger sailors appears to be at the core of difficulties in several clubs, where keeping them involved is proving difficult. Perhaps it is the variety of boats or the lack of a pathway in the sport other than the higher competitive levels, or are some younger sailors being driven too hard towards trying to achieve winning as the only mark of being successful? It will be difficult to resolve these questions but the sport needs to do so and particularly to ensure the involvement of younger sailors.

So, what is the ‘spirit of sailing’?

• Read more about this debate on www.afloat.ie/blogs/island-nation
• The views of readers on this issue are welcome. Email to: thisislandnation@gmail.com

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KERRY AND OMAN

Damian Foxall from Kerry, one of the world’s top sailors, is involved in a national sailing programme which is pledged to teach 70,000 Omani children to sail by 2020 at eight sailing schools, four of which are already operational. It is that country’s national initiative established in 2008 which “uses the power of sport to contribute to the development of the Omani people,” the Oman government says. It is an “equal opportunity project” which runs sailing programmes “for thousands of young Omani men and women, aimed at inspiring a new generation to discover sailing, encompassing a national sailing squad and high achieving inshore and offshore racing teams, all of which benefit from world-class coaching and whose ultimate objective is to win an Olympic medal for Oman.”

“The goal is to rekindle Oman’s maritime heritage while raising the country’s regional and international profile as a high-end tourist and foreign investment destination, through competitive sailing at home and abroad,” says the Omani Government. “Oman Sail seeks to instil confidence and to teach valuable, transferable life skills to a generation of Omanis.”

Wouldn’t it be marvellous if this island nation had such a State project and saw its national maritime traditions in such a manner?

Damian Foxall is co-Skipper of Musandam-Oman Sail which is part of the project. The Skipper is Sidney Gavignet of France. The Oman MOD 70 is competing in the Round Britain and Ireland race this week.
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THE SOLO BOTTLE JOURNEY

The world’s largest message-in-a-bottle was launched into the sea by a Norwegian soft drinks company, Solo, at Tenerife in Spain in March of last year. It was a 2.5 tons replica of a soda bottle, fitted with solar panels, a camera, and tracking technology. A public contest was launched to guess the location where the bottle would end up. But after 145 days in the ocean, the connection with the bottle was lost. The 26-foot long message-in-a-bottle was stolen by pirates somewhere east of Barbados. Thirty-five days later, last September, the Venezuelan Coast Guard found the bottle drifting in the Los Roques archipelago, 100 miles north of the Venezuelan mainland! In a better public relations story for Maersk Line, it has returned the bottle to Norway.

“Some types of cargo do not fit into the standard box. Maersk Line used ‘special cargo’ capabilities to ship the world’s largest bottle from Venezuela to Norway so that the campaign could reach its final closure,” Maersk says.
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FAVOURITE FISHING SPOT

Sent to from Sea Fishing Ireland via Twitter @seafishingire is the fishing ‘selfie’ photo reproduced this week on THIS ISLAND NATION FACEBOOK, with the message: “My kinda grassy knoll. Fishing selfie at Hook Head, Wexford.”
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ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC TOLL

Thirty-three per cent of all hull and machinery claims for damage encountered by ships in heavy weather occur in the Atlantic and Pacific. Of these claims, 48 per cent relate to containerships, 27 per cent bulk carriers and 15 per cent for ro-ro vessels. These figures have been released by the Swedish P&I Club shipping insurers in a new guide to ‘Heavy Weather’ which is intended to cut the number of insurance claims. “It provides seafarers with advice on how to avoid the many problems associated with adverse conditions, including check lists about securing cargo, guidance on course and speed and managing ballast conditions in heavy weather,” says the company. “Warnings about serious weather are usually available day before the weather arrives, but we see examples of crews not managing to avoid the heavy weather, not slowing own or altering course to avoid large waves pounding the vessel.”

• Digested from www.afloat.ie/blogs/island-nation
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SHIPPING MUST RESPOND TO CLIMATE CHANGE

The Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Shipping has said that climate change will force re-thinking about the way ships are designed and regulated. Peter Hinchcliffe of the ICS said the industry is becoming subject to “enormous pressure to become greener and cleaner.”
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RORY GALLAGHER DONATION KEEPS BALLYCOTTON AFLOAT

Dónal Gallagher, brother of the late Blues guitarist Rory Gallagher has presented Ballycotton RNLI in County Cork with a donation of €11,000 raised from sale of the star’s memorabilia. “Rory was very fond of Ballycotton, he loved walking the cliffs and found inspiration for his songwriting there – songs such as ‘A Million Miles Away’ and ‘Lost at Sea’, said Donal Gallagher.

• Digested from the Marine Times website www.marinetimes.ie
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SAILING ACCIDENTS

On Monday a major emergency rescue operation was launched on Strangord Lough in County Down when high winds drove sudden squalls onto the GP14 World Championships being raced from the East Down Yacht Club outside Killyleagh. Reports said that many dinghies were capsized, six sailors had to be taken to hospital for treatment for minor injuries. Lifeboats and helicopters were called to help when some 60 dinghy sailors were thrown into the water, All were accounted for according to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

On the same day on the Solent in the UK the death of a yachtsman was reported after he was hit on the head by his vessel’s boom. The yachtsman was reported to have been on the way from Southampton to Yarmouth and diverted to the Isle of Wight to shelter from high winds.
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My other maritime blogs and columns which you might be interested to read:

THIS ISLAND NATION WEEKLY BLOG on AFLOAT magazine:
http://afloat.ie/blogs/island-nation

‘SEA ECHOES’ column each Wednesday in the Cork Evening Echo
SAILING NEWS weekly page each Thursday in the Cork Evening Echo
THE MARITIME FORUM each month in THE MARINE TIMES newspaper
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If you’d like to Email re Facebook: thisislandnation@gmail.com
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Fair sailing until next week…..