24th March

Wreckage of Coast Guard R116 'positively located'

Following initial Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations, wreckage of Coast Guard helicoper R116 has been positively located on the seabed, east of Blackrock at a depth of approximately 40m.

Blackrock MB data

INFOMAR multibeam data of waters surveyed around Blackrock Island, Co Mayo

Read more: Wreckage of Coast Guard R116 'positively located'

Wreckage from Coast Guard helicopter 'consistent' with hard surface impact

Investigators from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) have confirmed that wreckage from Coast Guard helicopter R116 shows impact ‘consistent with the tail of the aircraft contacting rocky surfaces’.

Blackrock Island

Blackrock Island, 13km off the Mayo coast

It is believed the Sikorsky S-92 stuck rocks on the western end of Blackrock Island, 13km off the Mayo coast. The exact nature of the damage and the circumstances of the accident remain unknown.

Capt Dara Fitzpatrick’s body was recovered shortly after the incident late on Monday March 13. Her colleagues, pilot Mark Duffy and winchmen Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby are still missing.

Read more: Wreckage from Coast Guard helicopter 'consistent' with hard surface impact

Coast Guard 2016 statistics

Use of Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) and Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) were responsible for directly saving the lives of five mariners in 2016, according to the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard

Coast Guard demonstration at Leenane, Co Galway                                                         Photo Gillian Mills

One of these incidents related to a Coast Guard helicopter rescue of a lone yachtsman, whose yacht had overturned 20 miles south of Co Wexford. A second related to the location and recovery of three fishermen whose vessel had sunk. The third incident concerned the location of a single crewed yacht that had become dismasted off the SW Coast and was subsequently towed to Castletownbere, Co Cork.

Read more: Coast Guard 2016 statistics

Calls to upgrade the Coast Guard

Irish Examiner (12/16)

Christy Parker

'Search and rescue volunteers in the Coast Guard are calling on the government to upgrade the service to a ‘standalone primary response agency’.

They warn the service is constantly under threat, primarily due to political manoeuvring and not getting the recognition deserved at departmental levels.

ISC Leenane

Coast Guard demonstration at Leenane, Co Galway                                                            Photo G Mills

Volunteers claim the Coast Guard is the only one of the State’s ‘blue light’ services — An Garda, ambulance and fire service — not covered by Statutory Instrument legislation which ensures standalone status.

Read more: Calls to upgrade the Coast Guard

Green light for restricted cruise berth terminal in Dún Laoghaire harbour

An Bord Pleanála has decided by a 4:1 majority to grant permission for a cruise berth terminal in Dún Laoghaire Harbour, subject to conditions including a restriction on vessels size of 250m length overall.

The decision however overrules the board’s own planning inspector’s report to refuse permission on the grounds, inter alia, that the application failed to have adequate cognisance to the MARPOL Convention wherein at 3 nautical miles from shore, i.e. within the boundary of the Rockabill to Dalkey Island SAC, the cruise ship operators may discharge their treated sewage.

Dun Laoghaire

4:1 ABP decision to grant permission for a cruise berth terminal, subject to vessel length restriction of 250m. Photo G Mills

The EIS and NIS as submitted did not provide data on the impact of such discharge upon the Conservation Interest of this SAC, the Harbour Porpoise. … In such circumstances, the Board is precluded from granting approval. (See below)

Read more: Green light for restricted cruise berth terminal in Dún Laoghaire harbour

Wicklow Port Company transfers to local authority

An Order has been signed to transfer Wicklow Port Company to Wicklow County Council. This east coast port is the first of five 'Ports of Regional Significance'  to complete the transfer, identified under the 2013 National Ports Policy. 

Wicklow Port

The Harbours Act 2015 provides the legislative basis for the transfers to proceed. Drogheda, Dún Laoghaire, Galway, New Ross will follow 'to more appropriate local authority led governance structures' a statement reads.

Read more: Wicklow Port Company transfers to local authority

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