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Alta, Cork's Grounded Ghostship: 'There Will be Hell to Pay if We Have a Marine Disaster'

23rd December 2021
As we approach the second anniversary of the MV Alta becoming grounded on the Cork coast, an expert has said the State has learnt nothing from previous wreck incidents. Also above, a local takes a break from his walk to inspect the cargoship MV Alta on rocks near the village of Ballycotton, Co Cork. As we approach the second anniversary of the MV Alta becoming grounded on the Cork coast, an expert has said the State has learnt nothing from previous wreck incidents. Also above, a local takes a break from his walk to inspect the cargoship MV Alta on rocks near the village of Ballycotton, Co Cork. Credit: Irish Examiner-twitter

Little has been learned from the State about how to deal effectively with marine wreck incidents since the Kowloon Bridge disaster over three decades ago and the Irish coast remains exposed to a potential marine disaster, a leading international maritime expert has warned.

Michael Kingston, a global expert in maritime law, said the fact that the wreck of the MV Alta ghostship remains stuck fast on the Cork coast almost two years since it ran aground, proves how inadequate the official State's response to such incidents is.

And for an island state, that is shameful, he said. “We must realise that our southwestern coastline, with the Fastnet Rock as its nexus, is one of the busiest T-junctions in the world with massive movement of ships, north, south, east and west from that point,” he said.

"And it is not as if we have not had several severe warnings already, and do not need the Ever Given, which ran aground in the Suez canal or the Wakashio, which ran aground off Mauritius, to inform us.

“The mess in Ballycotton, and our State’s failure to deal with it, demonstrates how we have learnt nothing from previous major incidents — again off Cork — the MV ‘Kowloon Bridge’ in 1986, and MV Betelgeuse’ 1979.

For much more, the Irish Examiner reports.

See, related story on the ship's first anniversary aground.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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