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The Irish Coast Guard
is part of the Department of Transport
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport is a department of the Government of Ireland that is responsible for transport policy and overseeing transport services and infrastructure. The Department is led by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport who is assisted by two Ministers of State...
. The Irish Search and Rescue Region
, which includes most of the Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...
and parts of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...
is the area over which the coast guard has authority. This area is bounded by the UK Search and Rescue Region
Her Majesty's Coastguard is the service of the government of the United Kingdom concerned with co-ordinating air-sea rescue.HM Coastguard is a section of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency responsible for the initiation and co-ordination of all civilian maritime Search and Rescue within the UK...
. The IRCG currently operate 6 Sikorsky S-61N helicopters.
The coast guard
A coast guard or coastguard is a national organization responsible for various services at sea. However the term implies widely different responsibilities in different countries, from being a heavily armed military force with customs and security duties to being a volunteer organization tasked with...
is responsible for:
- Search and Rescue
- Marine communications network
- Marine safety awareness
- Mountain and Cave Rescue
- Pollution and Salvage response in the marine environment (the Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) in Dublin coordinates all pollution & salvage control in the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical...
Note that not all Irish Coast Guards have enforcement powers - only some officers under warrant.
The Coast Guard (Garda Cósta) does not form part of the Irish Defence Forces
The armed forces of Ireland, known as the Defence Forces encompass the Army, Naval Service, Air Corps and Reserve Defence Force.The current Supreme Commander of the Irish Defence forces is His Excellency Michael D Higgins in his role as President of Ireland...
, rather it operates as a Division of the Department of Transport under the Maritime Safety Directorate. The Maritime Safety Directorate
comprises two main sections, the Maritime Safety and Marine Environment Division (MSED) and the Marine Survey Office (MSO). The Marine Survey Office also includes the Marine Radio Affairs Unit (MRAU). The Mercantile Marine Office (MMO) also works under the Directorate.
- The Maritime Safety and Marine Environment Division is responsible for maritime safety, security policy and legislation (including leisure safety), aids to navigation and corporate governance of the Commissioners of Irish Lights and marine environment protection issues.
- The Marine Survey Office deals with the inspection, survey, certification and licensing of vessels and vessels radio equipment; the examination and certification of seafarers competencies; enforcement of standards by way of audits on organisation and facilities and prosecutions for breaches of regulations.
While in some jurisdictions they are the responsibility of the Coast Guard, in Ireland, fisheries patrols are carried out by the Irish Naval Service
The Naval Service is the navy of Ireland and is one of the three standing branches of the Irish Defence Forces. Its main base is in Haulbowline, County Cork....
and drug smuggling patrols by the Customs, Gardaí and the Naval Service. (However, all the above government services can at any time request assistance from each other when needed.)