After more than a year adrift at sea, a ghost ship has washed ashore in Ireland thanks to the power of Storm Dennis.
The Alta cargo vessel, originally from Tanzania, had floated for thousands of miles since its small ten-man crew was rescued by the US Coast Guard back in October 2018.
On Sunday – as the UK, Ireland and parts of mainland Europe felt the force of Storm Dennis – the boat finally hit dry land when it ran aground near Ballycotton in County Cork.
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
“Rescue 117 was tasked earlier today to a vessel aground near Ballycotton, Cork,” said the Irish Coast Guard.
“Thankfully there was nobody on board.
“Previously the US Coast Guard had rescued the 10 crew members from the vessel back on September 30 2018.
“The vessel has been drifting since and today came ashore on the Cork coastline.”
Engineers will inspect the 80-metre long vessel while it remains aground in Ireland, Cork City Council has said.
Members of the public have been warned to stay away as the ship is stranded on a dangerous and stretch of coastline, with the waters still raging following the weekend’s extreme weather.
RTE reports that a pollution risk assessment will be carried out, but it is not believed to pose any immediate concern given the length of time the vessel – which dates back to 1976 – has been adrift.
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
Sunday’s surprise arrival was the first time the Alta had been seen since last September, when a Royal Navy ship tweeted that its crew had spotted it in the middle of the Atlantic.
“We closed the vessel to make contact and offer our assistance, but no one replied,” the HMS Protector said.
“Whilst investigations continue we’re unable to give you more detail on this strange event.”
The Alta crew abandoned ship after calling for help during a trip from Greece to Haiti, when it ran into trouble and was left drifting for nearly three weeks.
They were about 1,300 miles southeast of Bermuda when they were rescued by the US Coast Guard.