Storm Dennis brought to the shores of Ireland "Ghost ship"

Clay Curtis
February 18, 2020

The Alta was built in 1976 and was flagged in Tanzania.

She was said to have been en route from Greece to Haiti and was due to arrive in Haiti at the end of September.

Alta was some 1,500km off West Africa in the autumn of 2018 when its crew abandoned ship, and it remained lost at sea until September past year when it was spotted by the Royal Navy in the middle of the Atlantic. The rescued crew members of the ship were brought to Puerto Rico.

At the time the United States officials said they had been working to establish who the ship's owner was so they could organise for a commercial tug to take it ashore.

"M/V [Motor Vessel] Alta remains adrift to the southeast of Bermuda as salvage attempts by owners continue", a Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre spokesperson said at the time.

It was next spotted in the mid-Atlantic in August 2019 by the Royal Navy ice patrol ship, HMS Protector, where it was once again unmanned.

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The cargo ship was discovered on the beach in the fishing village of Ballycotton by a local who was jogging through the area on February 16.

Noting that there has been "a number of incidents" similar to the MV Alta in the Irish Sea, McCabe said: "If there is no owner, the Commissioners of Irish Lights get involved".

A local authority spokesperson added: "Cork County Council's Environmental Scientists have visited the area and are satisfied that there is now no visible pollution within the Ballycotton Bay Special Protection Area or nearby proposed Natural Heritage Areas".

Earlier this ship noticed near Africa six months ago.

The statement added: "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". And what was the cargo on board at the time it was abandoned?

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