Ghost ship washings ashore in Ireland after more than a year at sea

Public advised away from MV Alta, which ran aground on Cork coast during Storm Dennis

Abandoned by its crew, the cargo vessel made a lonely journey across the Atlantic, a ghost ship apparently destined never to build port.

The 77 -metre MV Alta drifted for over a year, skirting the Americas, Africa and Europe, rusting and derelict yet resolutely afloat.

Its voyage came to an end during Storm Dennis on Sunday when it ran aground near Ballycotton, a angling village in County Cork, Ireland, overlooking the Celtic Sea. The Alta wedged itself on to rocks, apparently intact.

On Monday experts from the local council, the Irish coastguard and Ireland’s commissioner of wrecks were discussing what to do with a visitor that was drawing lots of attention.

” Cork district council is asking members of the public to stay away from the wreck locating as it is situated on a dangerous and inaccessible stretching of coastline and is in an unstable condition ,” members of the security council said in a statement.

Environmental scientists who visited the area on Monday did not assure visible pollution, the council said. It has asked a marine contractor to committee the Alta- the next possibility will be on Tuesday at around 7am, during low tide- for a closer inspection.” Any risk in relation to oil, other hazardous substances and pollution from the vessel will be evaluated .”

Built in 1976, the Alta was flagged in Tanzania, changed owner in 2017 and was sailing from Greece to Haiti in September 2018 when it become incapacitated about 1,380 miles( 2,220 km) south-east of Bermuda.

Unable to make mends, the 10 -strong crew was rescued by the US coastguard cutter Confidence, which brought the crew members to Puerto Rico. According to gCaptain, a maritime industry news site, the US coastguard contacted the ship’s owned to arrange a commercial tug to tow it to shore.

It was reportedly towed to Guyana only to be hijacked, with its subsequent fate unclear until August 2019 when a Royal Navy ice patrol ship, HMS Protector, encountered it in the mid-Atlantic, apparently unmanned.

HMS Protector (@ hmsprotector) Two days ago @hmsprotector detected this apparently abandoned Merchant Vessel whilst mid-Atlantic. We closed the vessel to stimulate contact and offer our assistance, but no one replied! Whilst investigations continue we’re unable to give you more detail on this strange event.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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