Garda probe into 'Ghost ship' fire, Council warn public to 'stay away'

Garda probe into 'Ghost ship' fire, Council warn public to 'stay away'

Gardaí have confirmed they are investigating the fire that occurred on the shipwreck off the coast at Ballymacottor, Churchtown South, Cork on April 29 at around 4pm.

A criminal investigation is underway into a fire onboard the MV Alta, the dubbed ‘Ghost Ship’ stranded off the coast of Ballycotton.

Gardaí have confirmed they are investigating the fire that occurred on the shipwreck off the coast at Ballymacottor, Churchtown South, Cork on April 29 at around 4pm.

The policing authority said no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, Cork County Council has asked members of the public to avoid the area and keep away from the wreck, which they say is in an “unstable condition.” 

"The vessel is a property that is in the charge of the Receiver of Wreck and trespassing is prohibited.” 

The local authority also said they are still working on finding a solution to the stranded vessel.

“The Council continues to liaise with the relevant state agencies and has engaged with government departments to seek their view on the future of the wreck and to seek funding assistance in the event of a significant intervention being required.”

*** REPRO FREE *** A local takes a break from his walk to inspect the cargo ship MV Alta on rocks near the village of Ballycotton, Co Cork Mandatory Credit - Oisín Keniry
*** REPRO FREE *** A local takes a break from his walk to inspect the cargo ship MV Alta on rocks near the village of Ballycotton, Co Cork Mandatory Credit - Oisín Keniry

The issue of the ‘Ghost Ship’ MV Alta is also to be raised with County Hall by Fine Gael Councillor Micheal Hegarty.

Mr Hegarty said there was a number of problem with the stranded vessel including an additional financial burden at a time where public monies are pushed to the limit.

The Fine Gael Councillor also wanted to know why there was not greater assistance from the state.

The Castlemartyr councillor said he would be bringing a motion to the next council meeting asking for an update on the ship and the future plan for it.

“Just because it landed on the Cork Coast in the remit of Cork County Council, we have been left holding the financial burden,” Mr Hegarty said.

Mr Hegarty outlined that the cost involved in removing the vessel far exceeded the value for scrappage.

Still from drone footage of the shipwrecked MV Alta, captured by Safehaven Marine.
Still from drone footage of the shipwrecked MV Alta, captured by Safehaven Marine.

The East Cork councillor also highlighted the problem with people making day trips to see the ship, travelling down country roads and parking improperly before making dangerous treks through private land.

“I know that terrain well, and it is quite dangerous,” Mr Hegarty said.

“Where do we go from here? That is what I want to know” 

Mr Hegarty said his concerns as people trying to get on the ship and said it was “another tragedy in the making” The councillor also said he thought the recent fire on board the ship was deliberate and asked what exactly had gone up in flames when Cork County Council had carried out an extensive and expensive extraction process, removing all oil and flammable materials from the vessel.

“It was a big operation, very costly, so what exactly went up in flames?”

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