Engineers Cormac Manning and Brendan Minihane during Cork County Council’s operation to remove oil and other possible contaminants from the grounded cargo ship. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

No owner still for shipwreck

International experts have been hired to review what the next steps are for a ghost ship that washed up on the coast of Cork last year.

The MV Alta cargo ship washed up in Ballyandreane, Ballycotton on 16 February 2020 and since then Cork County Council says it has been working through a series of actions in line with its obligations under the Merchant Shipping Salvage and Wreck Act 1993.

Over the course of December 2020 and January 2021, the council recruited international specialist consultants to carry out an assessment to prepare an inventory of hazardous materials in the fabric of the vessel. An environmental assessment of this inventory will inform what interventions may be required next.

To date there has been no confirmation of ownership of the wreckage.

The immediate response in February 2020 involved intervention to mitigate pollution risk arising from oils on board which was carried out in February 2020. A structural assessment of the vessel was carried out in March 2020 and was then repeated in October. Cork County Council says it will continue to review the cargo ship’s structure every six months. Meanwhile a final report on the environmental and ecological assessment of the wreck location was completed in September of last year.

Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Mary Linehan Foley commented: “Through its engineers, roads team and local operators, Cork County Council was able to respond quickly and effectively to the grounding of the MV Alta, securing the dangerous site and mitigating pollution risk.

“The ship presents a very real danger to anyone close to it, and due to its location, it is not safely accessible. To respect the private property of the local landowners, and to avoid life threatening injury I ask everyone to stay away from the wreckage.” Cork County Council is continuing to liaise with the relevant state agencies. and has also engaged with government departments to seek their view on the future of the wreck. Funding assistance will also be sought in the event of a significant intervention being required.

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