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'Extremely dangerous': Council says members of the public have been boarding 'ghost ship'

The ship ran aground in east Cork during Storm Dennis and there were concerns about a fuel spillage.

Image: Irish Coast Guard

CORK COUNTY COUNCIL has said it has received reports that members of the public have been boarding the wreck of an abandoned ship that is grounded in Ballycotton.

The cargo ship had been drifting at sea since September 2018 but ran aground in east Cork during Storm Dennis on Sunday.

In a statement today, Cork County Council said it 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.”

County council engineer Kevin Morey advised people to “stay away” because “this is a dangerous structure in a dangerous location”. 

“It’s unstable and conditions can be treacherous when the tide is high and the swell is still quite high as well, so for all of those reasons, the public should stay away.”

We don’t want people going down to the shore because it’s not safe.

After the ship ran aground, the council convened its oil spill assessment team and its marine contractor boarded the vessel this morning to carry out an initial assessment.

The council said initial indications are that the remaining amount of 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,” it said.

“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 to have these materials safely removed from the wreck.

The council said it remains satisfied that there is currently no visible pollution within the Ballycotton Bay’s special protection area or nearby proposed natural heritage areas.

“Consultations are continuing between the Irish Coast Guard, Cork County Council, the Receiver of Wrecks and other relevant bodies in relation to the future of the wreck.”

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