MV Alta in Cork just the latest ghost ship to arrive on Irish shores

Another seemingly abandoned ghost ship washed up without a crew close to Ballycotton, almost exactly 125 years to the day that the MV Alta was discovered last weekend after 18-months adrift at sea.

MV Alta in Cork just the latest ghost ship to arrive on Irish shores

Another seemingly abandoned ghost ship washed up without a crew close to Ballycotton, almost exactly 125 years to the day that the MV Alta was discovered last weekend after 18-months adrift at sea.

In February 1895, the Saga was discovered “derelict” and “rudderless” near Ballycroneen, between Poor Head and Ballycotton, according to a report in the Cork Examiner at the time.

News first reached Cobh, then called Queenstown, that the vessel had gone ashore at Kelly Cove, according to a report in the Monday morning edition of the paper on February 19, 1895.

“She is a Swedish brig, and nothing whatsoever is known of the crew, nor has any report appeared as far as can be ascertained as to where or what circumstances she was abandoned," it said.

It was believed the vessel had set sail for Central America from Burntisland, a parish in Fife, Scotland, at the beginning of January 1895.

"The latest reports concerning her received at Queenstown states that she is holding together, and has no appearances of becoming a total wreck," it was reported.

"If the vessel can be got out of her position she will probably be towed to Queenstown. It is still blowing a strong easterly gale in the harbour."

On March 12, the goods recovered from the ship were sold by public auction. The various lots included 30 tins of paint, six cases of medicine, and a few casks of linseed oil.

Ballycotton has seen almost a hundred shipwrecks close to, or off the coast of, its shores between 1763 and 1996, with almost ten more near the shores of Ballycroneen.

That's according to Irish Wrecks Online, a website for divers interested in exploring the underwater coasts of Ireland. These shipwrecks range from the very minor scale like small vessels driven ashore, to large tankers and armed steamers, sunk by torpedos.

In 1910, the Tadorna, a 1,643-ton steamer on passage from Rotterdam to Cork, ran aground during a strong southeast gale near Ballycrenane, between Ballycotton and Knockadoon Head.

As well as ill-winds washing ships ashore, a number of incredibly strange finds have also been discovered on Irish beaches nationwide thought to have been washed up following storms.

In October 2016, a torpedo packed with almost €5.5 million worth of cocaine was discovered on a beach in Clare.

A popular method of stashing drugs for South American drug cartels, the two-metre cylinder stuffed with 75kg of cocaine was found by a member of the public.

The first reported case of its kind, the recovered torpedo was thought to have been attached to a vessel by clamps that may have broken off.

In 2017, a tag from a fishing boat that famously survived the 'Perfect Storm', was also found washed up on a beach in Clare.

Beachcomber Liam McNamara discovered a tag from one of the lobster pots that had been attached to the Hannah Boden, which remains in active service, on Fanore beach.

The Hannah Boden is the sister ship to the fishing vessel Andrea Gail, which lost its crew during a raging storm off the coast of Massachusetts in 1991.

The Hannah Boden was the last boat to communicate with the ship. The events of the tragedy were later made into a film starring George Clooney.

The tag travelled more than 5,000 kilometres across the Atlantic and could have been lost overboard up to 15 years prior to its discovery.

Last October, Storm Lorenzo may have been responsible for blowing a loggerhead turtle thousands of miles off route.

The turtle, later nicknamed 'Mara', was found by a woman walking her dog on Roundstone beach in Galway. Mara spent three weeks in Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium before she was flown back to Gran Canaria via Cork Airport.

Cork County Council is continuing to prepare to remove containers of oil from the MV Alta. The containers will be removed via helicopter on Tuesday if weather conditions are suitable. Access on the cul-de-sack road is restricted to residents.

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