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Empty vessel Cost of removing stranded Cork 'ghost ship' being investigated following fire

The MV Alta has been abandoned near Ballycotton in East Cork since February 2020

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Cork Fire Brigade units battled to stop the blaze spreading on the abandoned vessel MV Alta

Cork Fire Brigade units battled to stop the blaze spreading on the abandoned vessel MV Alta

Cork Fire Brigade units battled to stop the blaze spreading on the abandoned vessel MV Alta

The cost of removing a shipwreck off the Cork coast is being examined by the State.

The MV Alta, known as the ‘ghost ship,’ has been abandoned near Ballycotton in East Cork since February 2020.

The removal of the vessel has been suggested following a fire onboard last week, which raised questions about the dangers posed by the wreckage.

Pat Buckley, Sinn Féin TD for Cork East, voiced his concern about the MV Alta to the Department of Climate Action and Transport.

Responding to Mr Buckley, the Minister of State at the Department of Climate Action and Transport Hildegarde Naughton said that the removal of the wreck is provided for under the Merchant Shipping (Salvage and Wreck) Act 1993.

However, the Act does not account for the costs associated with the removal of a stranded vessel where the sale of the wreck is not possible.

It also states that the initial responsibility for the removal of such a vessel lies with the owner.

It is understood that no evidence of ownership of the MV Alta has been highlighted.

In a written statement, Ms Naughton said: “If the appropriate authority, in this case Cork County Council, considers the wreck is or is likely to become an obstruction or danger to navigation or a threat of harm to the marine environment, it shall proceed to raise and remove the wreck or otherwise render it harmless.”

Ms Naughton added that the Department are currently investigating the cost of removing the ship.

“On foot of a recommendation in a report published by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) on the grounding of the wreck concerned, my Department has established a working group to explore the risks and potential costs to the State presented by derelict ships entering Irish territorial waters and coming ashore in Ireland and make proposals for means to identify, monitor, track and interdict derelict ships before they endanger other ships and seafarers in the vicinity,” she said.

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“In light of the recent fire at the site of the wreck concerned, I have asked my officials to engage directly with Cork County Council as the appropriate authority with a view to assessing appropriate next steps.”

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