Ghost ship update: Work resumes to assess impact of shipwreck on Cork coast

Ghost ship update: Work resumes to assess impact of shipwreck on Cork coast
The MV Alta being battered by waves as it lies on the rocks near Ballyanna, Ballycotton. Picture: Howard Crowdy

CORK County Council has said that ecological and environmental consultants are continuing to assess if further risks are posed by the shipwrecked MV Alta in its current state.

The so-called ghost ship was shipwrecked on Ballycotton rocks during Storm Dennis in February this year after spending a year and a half wandering the seas unmanned.

Cork County Council swiftly responded to remove barrels of oil located onboard later that month. Of the 95 barrels airlifted by helicopter, 62 were full containers and 33 were empty.

The barrels were taken to a designated drop-off point where they were transferred to a vehicle and removed by an environmental agent.

The waste oil was disposed of by a licensed contractor and will be recycled for use in bituminous road-making materials.

Cork County Council has stated that they are now “satisfied that any pollutants stored on the vessel MV Alta have been removed”.

Shipwreck in a bottle : a different view of the MV Alta stranded on the rocks near Ballycotton Cork. Picture Darren Lane.
Shipwreck in a bottle : a different view of the MV Alta stranded on the rocks near Ballycotton Cork. Picture Darren Lane.

“In addition to this, we have engaged ecological and environmental consultants to assess whether there are any further risks posed by the vessel in its current state.

“This work was delayed by the pandemic restrictions, but has recently resumed.

“The council also plans to carry out an assessment of the materials in the structure of the vessel itself to establish whether there are elements which could be considered harmful.

“The results of these studies will inform a decision on what actions, if any, may be required of the owners, their insurers or any responsible body,” they continued.

The cargo ship has a complex and mysterious past.

In 2018, it had been abandoned by her crew near Bermuda ahead of a looming hurricane.

Six months before washing up in Cork, the ship was spotted off the coast of West Africa.

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