‘Ghost ship’ washed up on Cork beach

The wreck of the MV Alta, which ran aground in Co. Cork. Credit: Maltropa

An abandoned ship, or ‘ghost ship’, ran aground near Ballycotton, off the coast of Country Cork, Ireland on 17 February.

The Tanzanian flagged MV Alta, a general cargo vessel, has been drifting for around a year and was last spotted by a British Royal Navy ship, HMS Protector, in September 2019.

According the US Coast Guard (USCG), the crew abandoned the vessel in September 2018 as it sailed from Greece to Haiti where unidentified problems led to a power outage onboard.

The MV Alta drifted for 20 days without power around 2,100 km off the south-east of Bermuda when the USCG assisted the vessel. The USCG provided supplies and then disembarked the 10 crew members from Panama, Honduras, and Greece due to the damage to the main engine and an incoming storm approaching.

The vessel was left adrift while salvage attempts were made by the ship managers, listed as Alta Shipping LLC according to IHS Markit data.

HMS Protector made the last attempt to salvage the vessel a year ago when it was spotted in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. “Efforts may continue to recover her, but her future lies in the hands of others,” HMS Protector tweeted.

It is now up to Cork County Council, the Irish Coastguard and the Receiver of Wrecks to decide the fate of the ship. Typically, damaged or sunken ships remain the property of its owners, said Robert McCabe, director of coastal operations for the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the General Lighthouse Authority of Ireland.

The owner was not able to be contacted at the time of writing.