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Coast Guard records 12% increase in callouts over the past year

There was a small reduction in the number of drowning incidents.

THE IRISH COAST Guard recorded a 12% increase in callouts over the past year.

The agency saw an estimated 2,970 this year, compared to 2,665 in 2020.

The increases were largely down to spikes in callouts in April (249 compared to 139 last year) and July (469 callouts compared to 339).

Overall, the Coast Guard estimates that 474 lives were saved as part of its activities. It called out to fewer drownings than in 2020 (down 7 to 68).

Its end-of-year statement made note of the rescue of crew members from a sinking ship off the coast of Cork in March. The operation was conducted with the assistance of the Irish Naval Service and the RNLI.

The Coast Guard helicopter winched seven people to safety in dangerous weather conditions when the Ellie Adhamh – which was being towed back to shore after losing power – began listing and taking on water.

The helicopter crew received medals at the National Bravery Awards following the incident.

During 2021, Coast Guard volunteer units were tasked with 1,400 callouts, the Coast Guard helicopter flew 886 missions, and the RNLI were tasked on 991 incidents.

Coast Guard Director Eugene Clonan said:

We are indebted to the men and women that make up our SAR community, for the discipline and commitment they have demonstrated in facing the challenge presented by Covid and in maintaining service availability throughout the year.

Earlier this month, the Department of Transport announced that the Doolin Coast Guard Unit was to be reconstituted after it was temporarily stood down following resignations.

The Coast Guard has seen allegations of wider issues in its culture and interaction between management and volunteer units in recent months.

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