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Dolphins dodging Shell in Broadhaven Bay

category mayo | environment | news report author Tuesday August 17, 2010 12:34author by JM Report this post to the editors

Shell contracted vessels ignore safety procedures once again on the proposed Corrib gas project.

Several times a day there is a mini convoy that shoots back and forth between Ballyglass and Rossport, and this traffic intensifies at knocking-off time in the evening.
Dolphins in Broadhaven Bay
Dolphins in Broadhaven Bay

Early risers in Glengad last Sunday morning (15/08/2010) were greeted by about two-dozen dolphins frolicking in the glorious sunshine. Several groups of porpoise and bottlenose dolphin are regular visitors to the Bay – a marine Special Area of Conservation – and they were making the most of the spell of good weather at the weekend, much to the delight of locals and assembled tourists.

After several hours of mostly peaceful playtime, however, the usual disturbance from Shell-contracted vessels disrupted the scene. A Marine Mammal Code of Conduct is supposedly in operation on the ongoing – but often interrupted – borehole drilling in Rossport strand, but there was no evidence of that on Sunday.

As Broadhaven Bay lies between Sruwaddacon estuary and Ballyglass Pier, it sees all the marine traffic associated with the current works. The Shell plans submitted to Minister Gormley’s Department of the Environment outlined five to seven vessels – including the two jack-up rigs – would be required for the drilling operations, with the modest number designed to “minimise traffic”. Anyone that has observed the area recently will have counted closer to twenty vessels of various sizes (not counting the Gardai) clogging up the channel… and they don’t go slow either.

Several times a day there is a mini convoy that shoots back and forth between Ballyglass and Rossport, and this traffic intensifies at knocking-off time in the evening. During Sunday several Shell boats had re-routed in Broadhaven to get much closer to the Dolphins - a regular tactic designed to frighten off any animals that could potentially disrupt pipeline works – and at eight o’clock the mass exodus began.

Virtually all of the boats crossed Broadhaven at the same time, many of them clearly racing each other in what had all the appearances of a staggered Grand Prix event. This huge volume of traffic tore though the exact area occupied by the dolphins, which thankfully managed to avoid collisions with the RIBs, tugs and boats. The bay then returned to its previous tranquil state, but the dolphins were not seen again.

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author by JMpublication date Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Photos of some of the vessels in the Bay.

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author by JMpublication date Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Five more

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author by JMpublication date Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The application for the current Foreshore Licence - approved by Minister Gormley - does not cover the extent of the works now underway, and makes no provision for vessels' conduct within Broadhaven Bay.

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