“Ghost Ship”

Olivia Frank, Reporter

The MV Alta was found off the coast of Ballycotton, a small, southern, fishing village, in Ireland. Though there was no visible pollution, the local council asked the public to stay away from the vessel as teams work to determine whether it presents an environmental hazard. A team is expected to climb aboard the ship to continue any further investigation. 

      The ship MV Alta is an abandoned merchant vessel from Panama built in 1976. The vessel was abandoned in October of 2018 following a US Coast Guard relief operation taking place about 1400 miles southeast of Bermuda. After the rescue of 10 crew members stranded without power, MV Alta was assumed missing. After one sighting around the Bahamas, nobody had seen a trace of the vessel until February of 2020. 

            The roughly 250-foot cargo ship, flying under a Tanzanian flag was supposed to be brought rescue supplies by the owner’s tugboat but due to poor weather conditions couldn’t make it out to sea safely. After the rescue, the abandoned boat traveled thousands of miles from Greece and Haiti to the Bahamas and finally to Ireland

             Marine contractors have boarded the ship and are carrying out further examination. A new discovery has been made. The ship’s fuel tanks were low on diesel so it can be assumed that had the ship not lost power it would have run out of fuel not too long after. There was no cargo on board except for the supplies needed to operate the vessel. The oil and other supplies would have caused environmental hazards had it spilled on the journey. The council is now evaluating how to remove the substances safely. Soon after the word came out about the wreck, a person claiming to be the owner of the Alta has come forward. Officials are still assessing the claim.

      While the ship is showing no visible signs of pollution, the public is still being asked to stay away until further notice.