We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Cork County Council
Ghost ship

Firefighters substantially extinguish blaze aboard wreck of 'ghost ship' MV Alta

The MV Alta is slowly being ripped apart by waves on the rocks near the village of Ballycotton on the east Cork coast.

LAST UPDATE | 29 Apr 2021

THE FIRE BRIGADE has “substantially extinguished” a blaze onboard the wreck of the former ‘ghost ship’ the MV Alta near Ballycotton in County Cork. 

Smoke was spotted coming from the bridge area of the ship earlier today and firefighters have responded. 

Cork County Council has just issued a statement updating the situation at the scene.  

“Firefighting operations have finished for the evening due to the rising tide and poor light. The fire is substantially extinguished and will be further assessed again tomorrow.

“Cork County Council and An Garda Siochana are appealing to members of the public to avoid the area and not to attempt to gain access to the wreck which has been further damaged by the fire and is in an unsafe condition.

“Gardaì will continue to monitor the situation overnight,” the statement read.

Earlier a Council statement said there was no danger to the public from the fire.

“Two units of Cork County Council’s Fire Service are currently in attendance at the scene of a fire on board the shipwrecked MV Alta near Ballycotton, Co. Cork.

“Fire crews are currently monitoring the fire ensuring there is no danger to the public.

“There are no reports of any casualties and fire crews will continue the monitor situation in this difficult to access location.

“An Garda Síochána and the Irish Coastguard are also in attendance and the public are asked to avoid the area while the Emergency Services deal with this incident,” the statement said.

The MV Alta, currently stranded along the coast at Ballyandreen, is a merchant ship built in 1976 that was abandoned by its crew in October 2018 after suffering a mechanical breakdown en route from Greece to Haiti. 

According to a Marine Casualty Investigation Board report, the ship first departed Greece in September 2018 bound for Haiti in the Caribbean but suffered a main engine failure shortly after launching. 

MV Alta drifted for 496 days over a distance of 2,300 nautical miles (NM) to its current position in Ballyandreen Bay. The vessel’s exact position and distance travelled during this time is unknown and unrecorded and can only be estimated.

The Council has indicated three possible options for the future of the wreck: Leave it in situ at Ballyandreen, tow it out to sea and let it sink, or dismantle and remove the wreck.

Responsibility for the wreck, the MCIB report found, rests with Ireland and its maritime search and rescue agencies.

The report also found that the likelihood of pollution remains high until the wreck is removed and that the cost of removal will likely be borne by the State. 

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel