Ghost ships are typically little more than fare for horror movies and video games these days, but every once in a while a real, actual ghost ship washes up. That’s what just happened in the village of Ballycotton in Ireland, where the MV Alta, a 250+ foot cargo ship slammed into the rocky shore after over a year drifting crewless at sea.
The ship is completely abandoned, making for a spooky scene as it sits grounded near the shore. But how does a vessel like this meet such a fate? It’s a wild, twisting story, so kick back and take it all in.
As The Guardian reports, the ship first experienced issues in late 2018. Disabled and unable to push on, the ship was abandoned and its crew was rescued by the US coastguard. The owners planned to tow it to a port for service but it was actually hijacked along the way.
It disappeared for several months and was only rediscovered in mid-2019 when the Royal Navy came upon it with no crew aboard. In the time since that last spotting, the ship is thought to have drifted up from Africa, around Spain, and has now found itself grounded on the shores of Ireland. Now, it’s up to local officials to decide what to do with the ship while preventing any environmental damage.
“Cork County Council, which has responsibility for land based oil pollution risk, is continuing to monitor this ship in relation to any possible oil spillage or risk arising from cargo,” the Cork County Council said in a statement. “The Council understands that the vessel was most likely diesel fuelled which poses less risk of pollution than heavy fuel oil. The exact risk level cannot be confirmed at this time. The ship will be inspected tomorrow in day light and from a land vantage point in order to access this further.”