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Lough Derg: the spirit of a holy place

IMAGE Wednesday, 04 April 2012
A small island in a lake called Lough Derg is one of the most famous of Ireland's places of pilgrimage. About 35,000 pilgrims come to it each year intent on doing penance for their sins or seeking divine intervention in their lives. Read More...

Nantes-Brest Canal, Brittany's popular leisure waterway

IMAGE Friday, 07 October 2011
The Nantes-Brest Canal is a 364 km long waterway connecting the city of Brest, on the west of Brittany, to the city of Nantes in the south east. Read More...

The shrine of the Cailleach at Glen Lyon

IMAGE Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Each year, in one of the most remote areas of Scotland, a family of stones are brought out of the house in the spring and returned to the house for the winter. The tradition stretches back thousands of years and the site is believed to be the only surviving shrine to the Celtic goddess Cailleach. Read More...

Newport Celtic Festival and Highland Games, Oregon

IMAGE Tuesday, 17 May 2011
A cultural celebration of the seven Celtic nations, the new festival on the Oregon coast features Celtic music, dance, food, drink, crafts, vendors, kids events, family histories and Highland Games. Read More...

World's largest tidal power project

IMAGE Thursday, 07 April 2011
The world's largest tidal stream energy array will be built in the Sound of Islay on Scotland's west coast. Read More...

Wales' new devolution settlement

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
Following the 'Yes' victory in the 3 March 2011 Referendum, Wales will now be able to pass its own laws in twenty policy fields. Read More...

The Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
The Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland has an unparalleled display of polygonal columns of basalt rock resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Read More...

Alert as Russian warship causes oil slick in Celtic Sea

An oil spill alert was declared off the south coast of Ireland following a refuelling accident involving a Russian military ship.

An oil spill alert was declared off the south coast of Ireland following a refuelling accident involving a Russian military ship.

The Russian 46,000 tonne aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov dropped between 300 - 500 tonnes of light crude oil into the Celtic Sea while refuelling 80km south of Fastnet Rock.

The oil spill was detected by the European Maritime Safety Agency's CleanSeaNet satellite on February 14th 2009. First pictures showed three separate slicks spreading over 40 sq km drifting towards the south-east Irish coast some 50km south of the Old Head of Kinsale.

As the pollution alert was declared, a tug equipped with oil dispersal equipment and a pollution response ship were sent immediately to the area .

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) called on the authorities to ensure that shellfish farms in the southeast were protected against the oil spill. Around a 25% of Ireland's national production of mussels and oysters come from the southern counties of Cork, Waterford and Wexford.

Eventually, a change in weather conditions with northerly winds drove the oil spill away from the Irish coast and the authorities called off the alert.

The oil slick is expected to disperse at sea with wind and currents, but environmental organisation Coastwatch reminded that tar balls persist for a long time and may be washed back on to the Irish coast weeks later.

Coastwatch spokeswoman, Karin Dubsky, said the Irish Government was “very lucky with the weather” and criticised the lack of oil pollution emergency response plans by local authorities.

Although oil pollution response plans are a statutory obligation for local authorities since Ireland's 1999 Sea Pollution Amendment Act, the coastal counties in the southeast of the country have not yet completed their oil pollution response plans.

The Russian navy was also criticised for not notifying the pollution incident to the Irish authorities as earlier confirmation would have reduced potential risks.
Russian authorities did not officially admit any responsibility for the incident after the oil spill was first detected on February 14th 2009, but following a meeting in Dublin on 23rd February the Russians eventually expressed their “extreme regret” about the spill.

The Irish Government announced the cost of monitoring the oil slick added up to €250,000 and told they hoped for the Russian authorities to contribute towards the costs.

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