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Public asked to stay away from Cork ghost ship as 'hazardous materials' analysed

The MV Alta washed ashore in Co Cork a year ago today during Storm Denis.

Image: Cork County Council

CORK COUNTY COUNCIL has asked members of the public to stay away from the MV Alta shipwreck at Ballyandreen as it liaises with international experts on what steps it should take to deal with the ghost ship. 

The MV Alta, stranded along the coast at Ballyandreen, was abandoned by its crew in October 2018 after it became disabled en route from Greece to Haiti. 

The 44-year-old ship drifted eastwards and was sighted by the Royal Navy in August 2019. The HMS Protector attempted to make contact with the ship but received no response.

It continued to drift before landing ashore at Ballyandreen near Ballycotton a year ago today during Storm Denis. 

Ten days after the ship washed ashore, Cork County Council said that an operation to remove oil and other possible contaminants which had been collected into barrels had been successfully completed. The council then sealed the ship and rendered it inaccessible.

Following a structural assessment of the ship in October, the council warned the Department of Transport that there is a risk of the hull of the ship breaking apart. 

shutterstock_1654241272 Source: Shutterstock/Stephen Long

In the past two months, the council recruited international specialist consultants to carry out an assessment and to prepare an inventory of hazardous materials in the fabric of the vessel.

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“An environmental assessment of this inventory will inform what interventions may be required next,” said the council, which has asked government departments for their view on the future of the wreck and “to seek funding assistance in the event of a significant intervention being required”.

Asking the public to stay away from the wreckage, Mayor of County Cork Mary Linehan Foley said the ship presents a “very real danger” due to its location.

“To respect the private property of the local landowners, and to avoid life-threatening injury I ask everyone to stay away from the wreckage,” Foley said.

- Additional reporting from Cónal Thomas 

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