Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Rathlin Island Ferry Service - Lack of Government Supervision?

An email query to the Department of Regional Development on July 18 produced a prompt reaction from the department, action from Rathlin Island Ferry Limited and this DRD reply on July 21:

"The service provider, Rathlin Island Ferry Limited, has advised that it intends to update its website as a matter of urgency, in order to advise passengers of the ongoing issues.

The Department have been notified that the Rathlin Ferry Services, provided by the passenger only vessel, The Rathlin Express have not been available since 10 July 2014. The service provider has advised us that the Rathlin Express broke down on Thursday 10th July on the 16.15 sailing from Rathlin. The port engine had a crack in it and was ingesting water. Contractors are working on the repair and it is hoped the vessel will be back in service by Tuesday 22nd July.

The St. Sorney took over as relief vessel* from the 17.00 departure from Ballycastle on the 10 July 2014 and covered the Rathlin Express sailings up to and including 11.15 departure from Ballycastle on Sunday 13th July. However a similar technical problem developed on the St. Sorney and from the 12.00 departure from Rathlin on Sunday 13th July there have been no fast ferry sailings. Contractors are also working on the St Sorney with an expected repair date also of 22 July 2014.

The MV Canna continued and is continuing to provide operating four return sailings per day, Where this is not ideal it does mean that there is a lifeline service to and from Rathlin.

The service provider regrets any inconvenience this unfortunate series of events has caused and has assured the Department that it is working with the contractors to get the issue resoled as soon as possible."

[cf "Even though the catamaran has been out of service for nearly two months it would appear that DRD has not been closely monitoring information supplied to potential customers on the ferry operator's website about the vessel's availability. Presumably DRD has given the operator advice about necessary website information." ... NALIL blog 26 Nov 2009 ... see also NALIL blog 24 Aug 2012]

*Details for the provision of relief vessels as detailed in the 2008-2014 contract are outlined here.

[click images to enlarge]

These messages on the RIFL website provide useful information for prospective customers and should be posted as and when required.

Why was the catamaran being driven at speeds of up to 22 kts when previous breakdowns appeared to take place at speeds greater than around 16 kts? Why was the catamaran permitted to travel for several weeks with its Ship AIS system apparently switched off? Did neither of these events attract the attention of the DRD and/or the Maritime and Coastguard Agency?

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Moyle District Council - Let the Children Play 4 Free

Mutiny on the Bounty

Moyle District Council has provided many excellent free play areas around the district that are used by local children as well as by visitors. 

Why have Councillors set aside part of the sand-pit at the end of the marina for commercial use? Surely free and commercial areas should be separated so that parents can enjoy watching their children play without the distraction of, perhaps, additional facilities that they can ill afford. 

Will this plea fall on deaf ears or do Councillors have hearts of gold?

Portrush - West Bay - Eye-watering Design

Better Safe Than Sorry


Click images to enlarge

West Bay Promenade

Shouldn't there be lanes to separate walkers and cyclists?

Cyclists dismount sign needed where path narrows.

This dismount sign should face the cyclists.
It should also be much closer to eye level.

Should there be cycling on a promenade*?

Small children could walk head first into the handrail projection.
Men could have an eye-watering experience.
Why wasn't this handrail curved into the main handrail?

A lesser hazard but still a hazard.
There are several short lengths of wooden-topped handrail 
which project 100-120 mm inside the main handrail.


A paved public walk, typically one along the seafront at a resort.

A leisurely walk, or sometimes a ride or drive, taken in a public place so as to meet or be seen by others.

(In country dancing) a movement in which couples follow one another in a given direction, each couple having both hands joined.