Details of the incident further underline the need for major improvements in maritime safety and oversight here, international maritime lawyer Michael Kingston said. And the incident also underscores the need for a unified agency, or a national maritime information centre, to track and monitor vessels like the MV Alta, which may enter Irish waters, he added.
The Defence Forces have already expressed concerns about the lack of maritime security or situation awareness in Ireland that allowed the derelict 77m MV Alta to pass through Ireland’s maritime domain before grounding on the shoreline east of Cork Harbour in February 2020. Mr Kingston has now written to members of the Oireachtas Transport and Communications Committee to say he was contacted by an expert source in the days after the article was published to highlight a potential near-miss incident involving the drifting MV Alta and a large oil tanker, the 266m VLCC Khawr Aladid.
Mr Kingston was featured in an Irish Examiner in the in-depth interview over Christmas, which used the case of the MV Alta, the wreck of which still lies stuck fast on rocks near Ballycotton almost two years on from its grounding, to highlight the flaws and gaps in Ireland’s maritime safety and oversight regime. The source has used satellite detections of the MV Alta on February 10, February 14 and 15 2020, combined with weather data and drift calculations, to plot its potential course.
Maritime safety flaws They say satellite information which tracked the ship was available but that it appeared from an Irish perspective, that “no-one was looking” for it, allowing a ghost-ship make its way slowly through the Irish maritime domain “unnoticed and unchecked”.
Mr Kingston said the near-miss was avoided by “a hair’s breadth in nautical terms”. The source overlaid that plot with the course of the VLCC Khawr Aladid to reveal a potential near miss between both vessels at about 10pm on February 15, 2020, about 12 nautical miles south of Roche’s Point.
“Does our transport minister really think this is acceptable from an environmental perspective, not to mention our seafarers’ and rescue service personnel safety?” “If they had collided, we would have had a massive environmental catastrophe on our hands,” he said.
“Had the collision occurred, the VLCC Khawr Aladid would have either ended up on the coast of Ballycotton, or in the mouth of Cork Harbour.
News Highlights Space
- Headline: Satellite detections show ‘near miss’ between tanker and ghost ship Ballycotton
- Check all news and articles from the Space news information updates.