I have Fandango to thank for this title – he has been posting regularly on this subject from his west-coast-USA vantage point. I am interested in current affairs too, and normally have some nonsense or other to spout about one of the UK’s topical news stories. So, I like to join in. Maybe there’s something in your world that you’d like to post about?
I didn’t really have a winner this week, but I did read a quirky news story in the Irish Times which raised my eyebrows. It’s becoming clear to me that I need to think of these posts more in terms of quirkiness than in terms of winners/losers, but I’m going to keep the title and tag, just so I remain consistent with other posts on the theme.
Anyway, I bet you never picked up on this story from your reegular news feeds!
We’ve all heard of the Mary Celeste, right? The American ghost ship which was found drifting off the Azores in the late nineteenth century? Such an unusual story it has passed into folklore, so surely lightning could not strike twice?
Let me introduce the Alta. The Alta is is a freighter, which was en route from Greece to Haiti when, in October 2018, it suffered unrecoverable engine failure out in the Atlantic, about 1,400 miles from Bermuda. Its crew of ten were picked up by the US Coastguard, leaving the ship to drift.
You’d think someone would care about a ship, wouldn’t you? It’s not exactly tiny, it must be worth a bob or two, and after all, this was 2018. But the ship was allowed to drift. And drift. And drift. Last August it was spotteed back across the ocean, off the coast of Africa, having drifted about 1,500 miles across the Atlantic.
But the Alta wasn’t finished. She continued drifting. This time, northwards, until Storm Dennis finally lifted it onto the Irish coast at Ballycotton (what a beautiful name!) in County Cork last week. Because, of course, before Storm Dennis hit the UK, it tore through Ireland.
You wouldn’t have thought any of this was possible in this day and age, would you?
You’re right, I can’t imagine how, in this day and age, that anyone would just abandon a ship and let it drift like flotsam and jetsam. Why wouldn’t the owners or the Coast Guard tow the ship back to port and dry-dock the damn thing? It certainly must have some salvage value even if it’s beyond repair. Or alternatively, sink the ship at sea so that it doesn’t become an environmental hazard when it ultimately floats to some distant shore.
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From the reports I gather that the ownership was unclear, but I’d have thought that somebody would have stepped forward. I did wonder about towing it somewhere, I wondered why it wasn’t possible. I reead that at least now, ownership is clear – soon as it landed on those rocks it became the property of the Irish govt.
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The property, and the problem for….!
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