Spending time with members of the Air Corps responsible for patrolling the Irish coastline on a daily basis.
The 101 Squadron Commander Ronan Verling explains the crew will fly continuously over the sea for seven hours, patrolling over 400 miles before they return to base. The patrol operates seven days a week, primarily for fisheries protection but also to give an aerial presence to the entire maritime community.
Our mission equipment can to locate both vessels and people in the water and we frequently are called upon to carry out that task.
The Casa, a twin-engine, propeller-driven, medium-sized plane is the tool of work for the maritime section which patrols the Irish coastline every day. Captain Derek Bolger explains the manoeuvres undertaken by a standard maritime patrol. Each flight carries a photographer and members from the naval or customs service may also be on board.
The Marine Patrol is responsible for environmental protection and fisheries surveillance but they also want to be seen as protecting the safety of fishermen. Fisherman Noel O’Sullivan from Castletownbere in County Cork has particular reason to be thankful to the Marine Patrol as his trawler sank 100 miles off Mizen Head. The Casa spotted him and his crew in difficulties and directed a nearby ship to rescue the men.
Another couple saved by the Casa are Steve and Maria Davis who were running low on food and had no functioning communication devices when the Casa spotted their yacht drifting 60 miles south-west of Kerry.
The Maritime Patrol means a lot to Maria,
Someone is caring about you, someone is coming to rescue you, I thought we were never going to make it.
This episode of ‘Nationwide’ was broadcast on 23 July 2007. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.