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Dublin: 10°C Monday 25 October 2021
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Missing Irish weather buoy is found - 270 miles from home

A marine weather buoy was torn from its mooring during severe storms on December 10 – and showed up off Devon yesterday.

The RV Celtic Voyager was deployed to find the missing M3 buoy, but found no sign of it - because it was heading to Devon.
The RV Celtic Voyager was deployed to find the missing M3 buoy, but found no sign of it - because it was heading to Devon.
Image: Marine Institute of Ireland

A MARINE WEATHER buoy which went missing off the south coast during intense storms over three weeks ago has been recovered – 270 miles away from home, off the coast of Devon.

The M3 buoy was torn from its mooring off the south-west coast on December 10, as Ireland was ravaged by severe winter storms.

The buoy – one of five stationed off Irish waters – ceased transmitting, and efforts to re-establish the link with the buoy were unsuccessful, prompting marine authorities to issue warnings that the buoy may be adrift and could strike any passing vessels.

Searches by the Marine Institute’s research vessel the Celtic Voyager also proved fruitless – and authorities had given up on finding the buoy until it began submitting positional information once more yesterday morning.

Its location? Woolacombe Beach in Devon – some 270 miles away from its original station, 35 miles off Sheep’s Head in Co Cork.

The Marine Institute said this evening that a technician was travelling from Galway to Devon to assess the damage to the buoy and the extent of any repairs that may be needed.

It hopes to have the buoy back at its moorings in Irish waters as soon as possible.

The network of five buoys – which were established in 2000 in collaboration between the Department of Transport, the Marine Institute, and the meteorological offices of the UK and Ireland – provide real-time data for weather forecasts and shipping bulletins.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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