Long Lost ‘Ghost Ship’ Washes Up On Coast Of Ireland After Storm Dennis

by : Lucy Connolly on : 18 Feb 2020 14:15
Long Lost 'Ghost Ship' Washes Up On Coast Of Ireland After StormLong Lost 'Ghost Ship' Washes Up On Coast Of Ireland After StormBallycotton RNLI/Facebook/Irish Coast Guard

A ‘ghost’ cargo ship has washed up off the coast of County Cork, Ireland, as a result of Storm Dennis over the weekend, February 15 and 16.


The abandoned ship was spotted on the rocks of fishing village Ballycotton, more than a year after its crew members were rescued from the vessel in September 2018.

In the 17 months since it was abandoned, the 77-metre MV Alta has drifted thousands of miles unmanned across the Atlantic – a ‘one in a million’ chance according to one local lifeboat chief.

Check out the spooky ship below:


The MV Alta, built in 1976, had to be abandoned because its crew had been stranded for 20 days and were running low on food and water. They had been unable to repair the ship, which had run into trouble while travelling from Greece to Haiti.

The US Coast Guard rescued its 10 crew members from the ship, which was 1,380 miles southeast of Bermuda at the time, before contacting the ship’s owner to arrange a commercial tugboat to tow it to shore.

It was then towed to Guyana, South America, but was reportedly hijacked. It wasn’t seen again until a year later, when a Royal Navy ice patrol ship, HMS Protector, spotted it in the middle of the Atlantic in August last year.

The naval ship attempted to make contact to offer its assistance at the time, but ultimately received no reply.

ghost ship ghost ship Ballycotton RNLI/Facebook/Irish Coast Guard

Now, months later, we’ve finally found out the fate of the ship – although it’s really only given us more questions than answers – has the ship sailed all this way on its own? Did it have a new crew after it was abandoned? And if so, where has that crew disappeared to?!

Ballycotton RNLI Lifeboat Operations manager John Tattan told the Irish Examiner:

This is one in a million. 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. I have never, ever seen anything abandoned like that before.


Tattan said it was a wonder the ship had not already been detected by one of the fishing vessels off the south coast before it pitched up on the rocks.

ghost shipghost shipBallycotton RNLI/Facebook/Irish Coast Guard

Cork County Council, the Irish Coastguard and the Receiver of Wrecks will now decide what will happen to the ship.

And who knows? Maybe we’ll find the answers to some of our questions when they make a decision.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: News, County Cork, Ghost Ship, Ireland, Mysterious, Ship, Stranded


Irish Coast Guard/Twitter and 2 others
  1. Irish Coast Guard/Twitter


  2. Irish Examiner

    'One in a million': Ghost ship from African coast washes up on rocks in Cork

  3. The Independent

    Ghost ship washes up in Ireland