IWDG coordinator Dr Simon Berrow said that the group had to weigh up the offer carefully to make sure it was a viable proposition before deciding to accept. “It was a very generous offer from the Haughey family, but the IWDG had to explore the condition and feasibility of running such a large vessel,” he said.
“Celtic Mist is a very suitable vessel for the IWDG,” said Fiacc O’Brolchain, an IWDG director who holds a Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate and has extensive sailing experience in Ireland and abroad. “It will provide an opportunity to increase the skills of the members so that they can become more effective in their work, be it at an amateur or professional level.”
The NGO plans to use the vessel to train IWDG members in cetacean identification, surveying and recording techniques; for its own cetacean research projects, especially offshore projects on the edge of the continental shelf, and for promoting marine conservation and study throughout Ireland.
“The Celtic Mist is a resource for all those interested in promoting marine research and conservation in Ireland,” said Dr Berrow. “We will make it available to colleagues and partners in Ireland and elsewhere with the same ambitions and vision.”
“I am happy that the boat is to be put to good use on a project that was close to my father’s heart,” said Conor Haughey, who has been liaising with the IWDG on behalf of his family.
Celtic Mist, which is currently berthed in the Isle of Wight, will sail to Ireland this month and will be in Waterford for the Tall Ships Race on 30 June in its first public outing as an IWDG vessel.