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Weekly Maritime News Round-Up

Weekly News and Comment Round-Up
Updated Dateline – April 29, 2014.


An important step forwards in the seafood industry is the announcement today (Tuesday April 29) by Bord Iascaigh
Mhara (BIM), the Seafood Development Agency and University College Cork (UCC) of an agreement to provide structured industry placements for UCC graduates to the Irish Seafood Processing Sector through the ‘Seafood Graduate Programme’. The programme, to be administered by the Food Industry Training Unit in UCC and the Seafood Development Centre (SDC) in BIM which is based at Clonakilty in West Cork , will enable greater collaboration and facilitate the transition of graduates into employment via BIM’s SDC innovation facility in Clonakilty, Co. Cork. The programme will also include a ‘Graduate Masters Bursary’ to enable graduates to undertake a research masters qualification that is of direct relevance to the Irish Seafood Industry.

Jason Whooley, BIM’s CEO said the rationale behind the partnership and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with UCC
is that Bim has “set ambitious targets under our corporate strategy to build scale in the Irish Seafood Processing Sector by 2017 and in drafting our strategy we identified a deficit with regard to third level graduates taking up positions in the seafood industry. To address this gap and to ensure we have the necessary skills in our industry to drive innovation and growth, we are delighted to partner with UCC and use our collective resources to attract graduates into this exciting industry. A number of seafood companies have already expressed an interest in recruiting graduates so we are looking forward to the valuable contribution these new entrants will play in the future of the Irish Seafood Sector.”

The sector is worth an estimated €810 million and with Irish seafood in great demand on global markets; it is an industry that offers a variety of career choices. The processing sector in particular is a business that can offer roles in Food Business, Marketing, New Product Development and advanced technologies in the sector.

UCC has previously worked with other food industries through their Food Industry Training Unit to offer new career paths to their graduates. Dr. Michael Murphy, President, UCC, said:”We welcome the opportunity to work more closely with BIM in the seafood sector which is very important for Ireland and global food supply. We are always looking at new opportunities and graduate programmes that will offer our students wider opportunities and career choices. University College Cork in working in partnership with BIM’s Seafood Development Centre, offers a new opportunity for graduates both academic and hands on experience of the business of seafood and the opportunities available.”

BIM’s SDC is a purpose built facility that enables seafood companies to develop and test new products and processes before committing to capital expenditure. In order to drive innovation across the sector and to allow easy access to the necessary technology and expertise, BIM has also recently extended its innovation services to Donegal through a strategic partnership with Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT)

Also in this week’s MONDAY MARINE TIN ….


I am wearing a small ‘yellow welly’ on my sailing jacket these days, a reminder that this footwear is an essential piece of kit for the crews of RNLI lifeboats. A pair costs €50 and you can buy them this week. “Yellow wellies” are waterproof with steel-capped toes, specially-designed boots to keep the volunteer crews’ feet warm and dry and to protect them in dangerous conditions on deck. Keeping a sure footing on deck can mean the difference between life and death. From personal experience I can vouch for the importance of warm, dry feet and safety at sea. From this Thursday, May 1, to next Monday, May 5, the RNLI will run its ‘Mayday’ campaign, asking the public to buy and wear a yellow welly pin badge or key ring or to hold a welly-themed event to raise funds for Irish lifeboats.

So, please “give some welly” to this appeal next week. A yellow welly key-ring or pin badge costs just €2.

• The RNLI is celebrating its 190th anniversary this year. Since it was founded it has saved 144,000 lives.


Readers of THIS ISLAND NATION do not generally like the new names chosen for Irish Naval ships.
Amongst the comments after my piece on this topic last week were the following:

“Whilst there is always a case to change what was done before, there is absolutely no case to name a ship after Samuel Beckett. He has no Irish State, Maritime, Governance connection and it would appear that he had little affection for Ireland in the first place.”

“Worst choice for a ship.”

“Such a shame to put to end a lovely tradition of Irish female names.”

“Not a great example that an island nation prefers an author who chose France over Ireland for the name of its ships rather than a Celtic name.”

“Was it Shatter or the Naval top bods who chose the names or did those mariners just bend the knee to their political boss?”

“Only in Ireland could such a stupid decision be made.”

“In this day and age the assumption that political/ministerial unilateral decision-making can persist in any part of Irish life let alone the naming of State ships is nothing short of an insult to the Irish people and two fingers to the so-called era of “transparency” that we are now supposed to be enjoying!”

The 290ft. Samuel Beckett is the first ship to be built at Appledore Shipyard near Bideford in the UK since 2002. It is costing €50m. and is being handed over to the Naval Service this week. A second new vessel is to follow.

• I also received quite a few comments from serving Naval personnel who could not allow their names to be used because of concern about the possible consequences. All were critical of the names chosen for the vessels. To the time of writing this week’s Facebook I have not had a single comment in favour of the names.


The British Government is to provide £200m. stg for the building of a new polar research vessel for the Natural Environment Research Council, which will be operated by the British Antarctic Survey.

“Understanding the polar oceans is absolutely key to understanding the big questions about our global environment,” according to Professor Mike Meredith of the BAS Polar Oceans science programme. ”Surveys of the deep ocean have yielded vital discoveries about marine biodiversity and informed an international census of marine life. With recent advances in technology we’ve been able to combine ship-based science with robotic instruments to investigate what happens when ocean water melts Antarctic ice shelves and how it may influence future sea-level rise.”

The new vessel is intended to be almost 130 metres long, with a beam of 25 metres, a draft of 7.5 metres and a gross tonnage of 12,790 tons with the capacity to break ice up to two metres thick at speeds of 3 knots and with accommodation for 60 researchers and technical support staff. It will have an autosub for underwater use with a range of 400 kilometres and a multibeam sonar system. Target date for the new vessel to be in operation is 2019.


A pirate battle on the Boyne will start the Irish Maritime Festival in Drogheda from June 13 to 15.
It will include the Boyne Boat Race, a Boyne swim, a maritime pavilion plus cultural and family entertainment that will accompany the arrival of six sailing ships at Drogheda Port. They will include three ketches – the Bessie Ellen built in 1904; the Irene which dates from 1907 and the Keewaydin, built in 1913. They will be joined by the 80-year-old schooner Soteria; the Baltic trader Ruth and the sail schooner Vilma. “The Irish Maritime Festival is going to be even bigger and better than the tall ships event last year which attracted over 45,000 visitors to the town,” said Joan Martin of Drogheda Borough Council. In Drogheda Port a revamped warehouse will be transformed into a maritime pavilion, featuring a temporary beach area and a food village by local artisan producers, along with art, photography, maritime history and kids play zones. The Irish Navy will be in attendance at the maritime enterprise, education and careers zone.


The first salmon of the season was caught on Lough Gill by Keith Trotter from Sligo. It was a 9.5 lbs. fish caught while trolling. A Spring salmon of 11.5 lbs. was caught later by another Sligo angler, Ollie Conlon.


One of Ireland’s boats for this year’s Commodore’s Cup, the offshore world championship of sailing, won the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Easter Challenge Regatta, putting down a marker to British rivals.
This was the Ker 39 Antix, sailed by Anthony O’Leary and his crew from the RCYC in Crosshaven. He captained the first Irish team to win the Commodores in 2010. Ireland did not compete in the biennial event in 2012. Commodore’s Cup racing will be out of Cowes in the Isle of Wight into the Solent and Channel waters. The Irish Cruiser Racing Association is the recognised body for organising an entry for the event now named the Brewin Dolphin Commodore’s Cup, after the current sponsor. Antix will be joined in the three-boat Irish ‘Green Team’ by Catapult, a Ker 40 owned by Mark Glimcher of the United States and Quokka, a Grand Soleil 43, being chartered by Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling of the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. Catapult has won the USA IRC Nationals. Quokka is described as “an extremely competitive IRC boat with a strong track record.”

There will be strong Irish crew involvement on all three boats, according to ICRA, composed of sailors from the Irish 2010 Team. The Team’s preparations will include the UK IRC Championships in mid-June. According to ICRA there is still the possibility of a second Irish – ‘Orange’ – team.

Another Irish sailing success is that of the 49er duo of Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern in winning a silver medal at the World Sailing Federation’s World Cup on the French south-east coast at Hyeres. This is a positive indication of the Olympic possibilities for this partnership which has been putting in a lot of effort at international regattas.

• NEXT THIS ISLAND NATION MONTHLY RADIO PROGRAMME WILL BE BROADCAST ON WEDS APRIL 7 ON YOUGHAL COMMUNITY RADIO www.cry104.fm.com from 7.30 p.m. to 8.30 pm. It is also available as a Podcast download from the station’s website.