An abandoned cargo ship that had been sailing the sea for more than a year washed ashore in a fishing town near Ballycotton, Ireland, on Sunday.
The mysterious events leading up to the ship’s landing on the Irish coast by itself have left many people wondering about its original whereabouts.
The 250-foot “ghost ship” identified as the MV Alta was discovered after Storm Dennis carried the ship into the rocky coastline.
The Alta has since drawn lots of attention from locals and other visitors, but the Cork County council determined that the vessel should be avoided by the public.
“From a public safety perspective, Cork County Council is asking 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,” the council said in a statement.
The Irish Examiner reported that the Waterford Coast Guard confirmed that the ship was completely abandoned and that it is not polluting the area.
The coast guard appeared to be confident that the ship is secured in the rocks for the time being, but isn’t sure what the next step will be.
Rescue 117 was tasked earlier today to a vessel aground near Ballycotton, Cork. There was nobody on board. Previously the @USCG had rescued the 10 crew members from the vessel back in September 2018. The vessel has been drifting since and today came ashore on the Cork coastline. pic.twitter.com/NbvlZ89KSY
— Irish Coast Guard (@IrishCoastGuard) February 16, 2020
In September 2018, the ship, built in 1976, set out on a voyage from Greece to Haiti with 10 crew members, but the vessel became disabled shortly after they set out, leaving them in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, more than 1,300 miles from Bermuda, according to gCaptain.
The crew members on board were stranded for nearly 20 days before they were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and taken to Puerto Rico.
The Guardian reported that the Coast Guard contacted the owner of the Alta and arranged for the vessel to be retrieved on the coast of Guyana.
Before the owner could retrieve the ship, though, it was hijacked and its whereabouts once again became unknown.
The vessel was spotted again in August 2019 near the coast of Africa by a Royal Navy ice patrol ship, but the Alta appeared to be unmanned.
Two days ago @hmsprotector discovered this apparently abandoned Merchant Vessel whilst mid-Atlantic. We closed the vessel to make contact and offer our assistance, but no one replied! Whilst investigations continue we’re unable to give you more detail on this strange event.🌊🚢🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/x29sB5IF06
— HMS Protector (@hmsprotector) September 2, 2019
Over the course of the following months, the Alta made its way from the African coast up the Spanish coast and finally landed in Ireland.
“This is one in a million,” Ballycotton Royal National Lifeboat Institution Operations manager John Tattan told the Irish Examiner.
“I have never, ever seen anything abandoned like that before,” Tattan said.
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