Local News for Friday 20th October 2017

New rules for mariners
Three new codes of practice for seafarers are coming into force on 23 October, which will improve safety for everyone in the fishing industry. The codes introduce new safety requirements, adopt technological developments and address recommendations from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch. Some of these were made by MAIB in their report following the sinking of the fishing vessel Louisa, off Mingulay, with the loss of three lives. Monthly emergency drills, liferafts for specific vessels, radar reflectors and bilge alarms, are all specifically named, as well as fitting of carbon monoxide monitors, EPIRBs and personal locator beacons with built-in GPS. David Fenner from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) said: “We have worked hard with all those connected with the fishing industry on these Codes. This is all about reducing the risk of serious accidents and deaths. Even one death is one too many. The new requirements for liferafts, EPIRBs and Personal Locator Beacons are being phased in so if your vessel is already registered as a fishing vessel, you will have until 23 October 2019 to comply. This will allow you to apply for funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to claim back up to 60% of the cost.”

Island singers hit high note
Singers from the Western Isles featured strongly in this week’s prestigious Silver Pendant and Gold Medal competitions at the Royal National Mod in Lochaber. The Men’s Silver Pendant winner was Coinneach MacLeod, originally from Cromore, who now lives in Glasgow. Also in the final with him was Campbell Mackenzie of Stornoway, who came third, and in the Ladies’ Silver Pendant final Eileen Duncan of Tong came second. In the Gold Medal ladies’ final Isabel Nicleòid of Carloway came second to winner Rachel Walker, and Claire Macaulay of Ness came fourth. John Joe MacNeil of Barra was in the Men’s Final, placing fourth. Yesterday conductor Iain Maciver’s 22nd year taking Harris choirs to the Mòd got even better when the Isle of Harris Ladies choir placed second in their competition among the rural choirs, with top marks overall for music. The Royal National Mòd draws to a close today with the large area choir competitions in Fort William.

Fun fitness for kids
The sports centre’s Motiv8 activities programme still has places available to keep kids busy during the October holidays. Today and Monday there are spaces for trail cycle for children in Primary 5-7, from 10 - 11:30am and for football and a swim for the same age groups from 2 to 4:30pm

Western Thistle Prizegiving postponed
Westside Football Club has postponed the Western Thistle prizegiving ceremony for under 13, under 15 and under 18 players, which was scheduled for tonight, due to a bereavement in Barvas. A new date will be set in the coming weeks.