European Maritime Day 2010

FTF award 2010Minister for Transport Mr Noel Dempsey TD, Overall Schools Essay Winner Seán Fitzpatrick aged 12, Mr Anthony O’Flynn Teacher, Category Winner Andrew Enright aged 11,  from St. Josephs’ Boys National School, Terenure, Dublin

The Minister for Transport, Mr. Noel Dempsey TD, today (20th May) announced the winning schools in the 2010 National Schools Follow the Fleet Competition, . The announcement coincides with European Maritime Day.  

Speaking at the presentation of the awards, Minister Dempsey said “I would like to congratulate the four successful entrants on their fantastic achievement in winning this year’s competition. The students have clearly demonstrated a genuine understanding of the history and significance of the role of shipping for the Irish economy while also displaying a vivid imagination in writing such excellent short stories.”  As part of this year’s prize all the winning stories were brought to life via animation by award winning design company Caboom with the narration provided by renowned actor, Aidan Dooley of ‘Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer’ fame   “I would urge people to take a look at the winning animations, which are a credit to all those involved” added Minister Dempsey  (  

The on-line Follow the Fleet program was created by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) as an educational website for students between the ages of 8-12 years. The website, which was shortlisted for this year’s E-Government Award, aims to bring the world of maritime adventure, imagination and education to the classroom.  It utilises web-based technology that enables students to track nominated merchant ships on their exciting journeys via a unique satellite tracker system. This system uses GPS and land-based communication services to provide position and situation data displayed on a world chart. It is supported by several participating Irish shipping companies and provides a real insight into the day-to-day life at sea, the ship’s crew and equipment, commercial trade by sea and an insight into Ireland’s maritime history.

Commenting on this year’s programme, IMDO Director Glenn Murphy said “The FTF programme is now in its third year and being used by over 500 schools around Ireland with over 25,000 school children participating in the scheme. I believe the current volcanic ash crisis clearly illustrates why it is important that we are aware of the very important day to day role that shipping plays in supporting our island economy.”

The winning students were Seán Fitzpatrick aged 12, from St. Josephs’ Boys National School, Terenure  Dublin for his essay “A Viking Story”, Andrew Enright aged 11, also from St. Josephs’ Boys National School, won the ‘Technology and the Master Mariner’ essay category with his essay “A Voyage through time”.  Caoimhe Dignam of St. Clare’s Primary School, Harold’s Cross, Dublin won  first prize for her essay on ‘The Life of a Container’ in the  ‘Trading and Ireland’  category and James Sweeney of St. Eunan’s National School, Raphoe, Co. Donegal won the ‘Maritime History’ category with his essay on “Tom the Pole”, an essay on the life of Tom Crean.

The animations bring to life the imaginative voices and interpretations of the children on the three themes in the essay competition, “Maritime History”, “Trading and Ireland,” and “Technology and the Master Mariner”.  Entries for the first Follow the Fleet competition sponsored by leading technology company Transas Ireland, came from the length and breadth of the country. The judging panel was chaired by Mr Tom McSweeney.

European Maritime Day is celebrated on the 20th of May to show the importance of the sea and oceans for everyday life, both in coastal communities and across Europe as a whole. It also highlights the opportunities and the challenges currently facing maritime regions and sectors: from tourism and fisheries to maritime transport and climate change.  

The IMDO will publish all four of the animations on the Follow the Fleet website (, the IMDO site ( and Follow the Fleet YouTube Channel ( on Thursday. They will also be featured on Den TV News2Day to mark European Maritime Day.  


Notes to Editor

The Irish Maritime Development Office is the national body under the aegis of the Department of Transport with responsibility for supporting the development of Irish shipping and shipping services sector.  

Follow the Fleet Program. is the IMDO’s educational website which aims to bring the world of maritime adventure, imagination and education to the class room.  The program which is now in its third year is being used by over 500 schools around Ireland and is used in classrooms as a teaching aid for the SESE Curriculum.   

For more information please contact:  

Mr Glenn Murphy, Director, Irish Maritime Development Office, 
Tel: 00 353 (0) 1 476 6558 E-Mail: 

Dr. John Joyce, Communications Manager, Marine Institute. 
Tel: 00 353 (0) 87 2250871   E-Mail:  

Ms Mairéad Ní Cheóinín B.Sc, Marketing & Business Programme Coordinator, IMDO Tel: 00 353 (0) 1 476 6558 / Mobile 00 353 (0) 87 410 7880 E-mail: