Date Released: 24 December 2013
As we face into a period of stormy weather over the Christmas period Irish Lights stands ready to respond to any marine emergency in Irish Waters. Irish Lights is responsible for the maintenance of physical and electronic Aids to Navigation around the Irish Coast and for ensuring safe navigation of passenger and cargo traffic in the event of wreck or other new dangers.
Irish Lights has provided AtoN services in Ireland for over 200 years. The time of the lightkeeper has now passed as automation came to the fore in 1996 but guiding those at sea home safely during Christmas is essential in Irish Light’s service to the mariner.
Irish and UK AtoN are monitored 24 hours a day via a sophisticated network of remote coastal communications links. This ensures that Ireland’s coastal navigation network of 72 lighthouses, 29 beacons, and 118 buoys meets the international availability standard of 99.8%, giving all mariners a high degree of confidence and security for passage planning.
In the case of emergency in Irish waters, the Granuaile, Irish Light’s 80 metre multifunctional ship with her highly experienced captain and crew of 15 will respond immediately. Irish Light’s mechanical, electrical and electronic experts are on call 24 hours a day to cover any emergency. Lighthouse attendants around Ireland are also ready to deliver local response when required. A pilot and EC135 aircraft from Irish Helicopters is also on standby in case of emergency at offshore stations.
Modern technology now assists with the immediate response to any incident at sea. Virtual AtoNs can be digitally placed in areas of new danger through the Automatic Identification System (AIS) which all larger vessels are now required to use. As 95% of all goods arrive in Ireland by sea Irish Light’s service and provision of maintaining AtoNs around the Irish Coast ensures the safety and efficiency of this vital service over the holiday period.
For further information please contact:
Commissioners of Irish Lights