County Hall warns public trying to board grounded ship could be risking their lives; oil containers detected onboard

County Hall warns public trying to board grounded ship could be risking their lives; oil containers detected onboard
The MV Alva being battered by waves as it lies on the rocks near Ballyanna, Ballycotton. Picture: Howard Crowdy

COUNTY Hall has said members of the public who are boarding a shipwreck on the rocks at Ballycotton could be risking their lives.

The 'ghost ship' which has washed up on the shore of Ballycotton has now been assessed by a team of experts contracted by the local authority and diesel levels have found to be low but containers of oil are stored on the ship and plans are in place to remove them.  

The council has warned that the area in which the ship is located is inaccessible and dangerous and the ship is in an unstable condition. 

A statement from County Hall today said: "Cork County Council’s Oil Spill Assessment Team convened again today at 12.15PM as part of its Oil Spill Contingency Plan in response to the grounding of a cargo ship in Ballycotton, Co. Cork yesterday.

"Cork County Council’s marine contractor boarded the vessel this morning and carried out an initial assessment. Initial indications are that remaining amount of fuel (diesel) in the ships' tanks is small. The fuel tanks are divided into a number of compartments, some of which were inaccessible due to water on board. This will be pumped out tomorrow morning to allow the contractor to complete the assessment.

"There is no cargo on board but a number of sealed containers of oil and other materials incidental to the running of a ship were found which may pose a pollution risk in the event of their spillage.

"Plans are currently being evaluated in order to have these materials safely removed from the wreck.

"Cork County Council remains satisfied that there is currently no visible pollution within the Ballycotton Bay Special Protection Area or nearby proposed natural Heritage Areas.

"Consultations are continuing between the Irish Coastguard, Cork County Council, the Receiver of Wrecks and other relevant bodies in relation to the future of the wreck.

"Cork County Council is aware of reports of members of the public boarding the wreck which is extremely dangerous and could pose a risk to life. The Council is again advising members of the public to stay away from the wreck location as it is located on a dangerous and inaccessible stretch of coastline and is in an unstable condition.

The MV Alva being battered by waves as it lies on the rocks near Ballyanna, Ballycotton. Picture: Howard Crowdy
The MV Alva being battered by waves as it lies on the rocks near Ballyanna, Ballycotton. Picture: Howard Crowdy

"Further information will be made available as soon as possible tomorrow."

The 80-metre, 250 feet cargo vessel which was built in 1976 first made headlines in October 2018 when the US Coast Guard rescued 10 stranded crew members aboard the disabled ship 1,380 miles southeast of Bermuda.

The Tanzanian-flagged ship was said to be transiting from Greece to Haiti when the crew found they were unable to make necessary repairs on the vessel.

It is understood the crew was on board the ship for almost 20 days, running low on food and water when they were rescued by the US Coastguard.

The same ship was then spotted off the West Coast of Africa in September of last year before coming to the attention of the authorities for a third time off the Cork coastline, abandoned and derelict for a year and a half.

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