The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has accepted a business case from Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s (BIM) for the development of a new Sea Survival Training Unit at BIM’s National Fisheries Training College in Greencastle, Co Donegal. The Department is working with BIM on how the project will be delivered as early as possible. Speaking during a visit to the Greencastle College, Minister McConalogue said:
“I am delighted to announce today that I have approved a business case from BIM for the provision of a dedicated Sea Survival Unit at the Greencastle fisheries training college. The project involves an above ground pool, upgraded modern changing rooms together with a new navigation simulator and a radio suite for the new centre.”
The total estimated cost of the proposed BIM project will be approximately €1.1m. The Minister continued:
“The new Sea Survival Unit at Greencastle will significantly build upon the professional level of maritime training which BIM currently offers to the Irish seafood sector. It will also facilitate development and expansion of BIMs training programmes over the coming years. The provision of a fit-for-purpose pool, together with new, modern training equipment will also result in a high-quality national asset that will deliver a centre of excellence to support essential training for fishers, providing the instruction needed to equip seafarers with current and future skills needed to pursue varied careers in the seafood sector.”
Following confirmation by BIM that the new facility will be among the nation’s only ‘Green energy pools’ the Minister added:
“I welcome BIMs proposal to fit a “green pool” by including an appropriate renewal energy source to fund the pumps, heating and filtration system which is in keeping with national policy and ensure that running costs will be sustainable for the future. I am delighted that the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI) will be assisting BIM in ensuring the delivery of a sustainable facility including the provision of necessary advice prior to the procurement process. “
In response to the Minister’s announcement that the project is under active consideration subject to availability of funding, Jim O’Toole, CEO BIM said:
“Safety is an essential part of training for all those embarking on a career in the seafood sector who intend working at sea. With 2,030 registered fishing vessels in Ireland and 2,881 adults working in the fisheries sector, it is important that we continue to prioritise the provision of high quality safety training for the crew of vessels. This new facility will encourage those who wish to pursue life long rewarding careers in the seafood industry and most importantly ensure that safety at sea and on the water is prioritised”.
The Minister concluded;
“I am confident that this project when completed will provide a high quality training facility which will ultimately help to save lives and support this important industry which is so crucial to the economies of coastal communities in particular. My ambition is to have the facility fully operational by the end of the first half of 2022”
The project will comprise of the following elements;
- Repurposing of the existing gymnasium in the National Fisheries College in Greencastle.
- Fitting of a preformed, modular, above ground ‘green pool’ of approximately 12m x 6m.
The pool to be heated to a range of temperature between 20 – 25 degrees from cold water for shock to warmer water for longer training exercises and custom built to reflect the needs of sea survival training requirements.
- Modern “village style” changing facilities
- The project will deliver a cost-effective Centre of Excellence that provides a professional sea survival training unit for students and instructors. It will involve changing rooms and smart communal areas providing a professional, modern and fit-for-purpose sea survival training unit on-site in the College. The project will also involve a new navigation simulator and a radio suite.
- BIM will fit a “green pool” by including an appropriate renewal energy source to fund the pumps, heating and filtration system. This would be both in keeping with national policy and would keep energy costs (running costs) low. SEAI will co-find the investigation of this and will provide detailed options to BIM before procurement commences.
- The proposal meets the objectives of upgrading the Greencastle training facility in a cost-effective manner, proportionate to the demand. Additionally the project envisages a relatively short commission / build time and will be powered by renewable energy, enabling efficient operating costs.