Minister Donohoe commemorates 100 years of service at the Irish Coast Guard Valentia MRSC

26th March, 2015

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Thursday) marked the commemoration of 100 years of services at the Irish Coast Guard Valentia Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC). A plaque unveiled by Minister Donohoe pays tribute to all the members of staff, both past and present, who have served in the centre over the past 100 years.


The Valentia MRSC has been in operation since 1914 and covers the South West and Western Atlantic coastal area. It has served as the first point of contact for the liners and cross Atlantic vessels transiting to and from Europe to America.


Speaking at the event, Minister Donohoe said: ‘I am very happy to have an opportunity to pay tribute to all those who have served here in the past and also to those who continue to serve at Valentia Coast Guard, most of whom have been here for many years’.


“When I look around at this state-of-the-art Coast Guard coordination centre at Wireless Point, it is difficult to imagine that it was from this very location on the 7th May 1915 that some of the last messages to the ocean liner Lusitania were transmitted using only Morse Code. Through two world wars the station here continued to operate serving the maritime sector and providing a lifeline and communications link to shore. Looking over the records of the incidents handled here, there have been many notable incidents over the years.


“Our seas and inland waterways can bring tragedy as well as joy and we would like to remember here all those who have lost their lives in an around our coast and we acknowledge the sadness of that loss for their families and friends.


“The last two years have seen the busiest period in many years for the Coast Guard in terms of emergency responses as the figure for coordinated incidents reached 2,628, with the centre here in Valentia coordinating some 940 of these incidents.


“So it is in recognition of all these efforts and many others down through the years, that we have gathered here over 100 years after services commenced, to acknowledge the long and proud history of the station here in Valentia”.



Notes for Editors


Incidents of note through the history of Coastal Radio / Coast Guard Radio Station at Valentia:

1915: R.M.S. Lusitania Torpedoed off Old Head off Kinsale: 1,959 Passengers and Crew, 1,195 lives lost. 764 Survivors.

1942: S.S. G.H. Jones 40 survivors rescued off Azores: adrift 6 days. Faint signal picked up by Valentia Staff.

1949: American Skymaster Aircraft 39 Survivors

1954: KLM Air crash at Shannon: 28 survivors 28 Dead

1958: KLM Flight 607-E: 100nm W of Shannon: No survivors 91 passengers 8 Crew: 34 recovered

1973: Vickers Submersible Recovery All Crew Rescued

1979: MT Betelgeuse/ Whiddy disaster: 50 lives lost 27 recovered

1979: Fastnet Race. Yachting disaster 18 persons lost their lives.

1985: Air India all on-board lost their lives. 132 bodies were recovered; 197 were lost at sea.

1986: Kowloon Bridge: all 28 Crew rescued

1989: M/V Yarawonga: All 30 Crew rescued

2000: St Gervaise No survivors: 2 recovered

2011:  Fastnet Race YT Rambler: 21 Crew Rescued

2012: FV Tit Bon Homme   one survivor:  5 recovered

2013: SV Astrid: 30 Crew Rescued