March 5 ------ The operation to remove oil and other contaminants from the crewless cargo ship MV Alta, which washed ashore mid-February in Ballycotton, Co. Cork, Ireland, has been completed. The ship was drifting for over a year at sea without a single soul on board after its crew had been evacuated by the US Coast Guard back in September 2018 in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The Tanzanian-flagged ship became disabled while underway from Greece to Haiti and its crew members had to call for help as they were unable to make repairs. The ship was left to drift in the sea.
The Cork City Council said that 62 full barrels and 33 empty barrels were airlifted by helicopter from the wreck to a prepared drop-off area where they were subsequently transferred onto a vehicle and removed by an environmental agent. As a further precaution measure, oil absorbent pads and booms were left at some locations on board where there could be residual seepage from pipe systems that have been drained. “The waste oil will be disposed of by a licensed contractor and the council has been advised that most of it may be disposed of by recycling for use in bituminous roadmaking materials,” the council said.
Cork County Council’s operation was supported by its marine contractor LCF marine and Ireland’s police An Garda Siochana. “The council is now closing down the wreck with the removal of the pilot ladder and any other access arrangements to render the wreck inaccessible. The wreck is now essentially empty, having had no cargo, and with any significant documentation and equipment removed,” the council added.