'Ghost ship' from Caribbean washes ashore in Ireland
TORONTO -- After drifting at sea for more than a year, a so-called “ghost ship” washed ashore Sunday near a coastal village in Ireland.
The country’s coast guard shared aerial footage of waves battering the grounded ship near Ballycotton in County Cork.
“There was nobody on board,” said the Irish Coast Guard on Twitter.
The ship’s grounding comes as Storm Dennis brought winds of more than 145 km/h and up to 150 millimeters of rain to Ireland and the U.K. over the weekend. The storm has killed at least three people.
Though it was swiftly dubbed a “ghost ship” online, no one died on the MV Alta and its history has already been well-recorded. In 2018, a crew of 10 were rescued from the disabled MV Alta after almost 20 days stranded in the Atlantic. Crew on the disabled ship had notified the U.S. Coast Guard on Sept. 19 that they were unable to make repairs and had enough food for two days and water for 15. The Coast Guard airdropped food to the crew 13 days later and rescued them on Oct. 8.
That rescue mission happened on the other side of the North Atlantic from where the ship landed in Ireland on Sunday, about 2,000 kilometres south-east of Bermuda.
The ship has drifted ever since, managing to stay afloat for more than 16 months. About five months ago, confused operators on a Royal Navy vessel discovered the unmanned Alta, calling it a “strange event.” “We closed the vessel to make contact and offer our assistance, but no one replied!” the Twitter page for HMH Protector said at the time, sharing a series of images of what appears to be the Alta.
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
It’s considered by some experts to be “one in a million” that the ship made it so far without a crew.
“It has come all the way up from the African coast, west of the Spanish coast, west of the English coast and up to the Irish coast,” said Ballycotton RNLI Lifeboat Operations manager John Tattan in an interview with the Irish Examiner.
“I have never, ever seen anything abandoned like that before.”
An “Oil Spill Assessment Team” will be visiting the ship to determine whether it has leaked any oil, according to local news site the Evening Echo.