Using a helicopter to remove potential pollutants is one of the options being considered by Cork County Council in the aftermath of the ship the MV Alta running aground off Ballycotton.

A risk assessment carried out today confirmed that while there is very little diesel fuel left on board,  there are a number of sealed barrels of diesel and hydraulic oil stored at various locations on the abandoned ship.

These could pose a pollution risk according to the County Council who said today it is looking at a number of ways of safely removing them from the vessel.

The 45-year-old Norwegian-built ship remains firmly wedged on rocks in an isolated inlet at Ballymacotter near Ballycotton and continues to attract sightseers.

No cargo was found on board the 77 metre ship which was washed up in the aftermath of Storm Dennis last weekend.

It was first spotted by a local man out running early last Sunday morning.

Speaking this evening, Cork County Engineer Kevin Morey confirmed that while no diesel was found in the main fuel tanks, the marine contractor did find a small quantity of fuel in and around the engine room which will have to be pumped out, as well as a number of sealed barrels which could pose a pollution threat.

"We have engaged our contractor to develop a plan for removing that material off the ship to mitigate the risk of water pollution, which is our primary concern.

"We share that concern with the Coastguard who also have responsibility for oil pollution on the water and we continue to liaise on that."

Mr Morey said it is possible the most effective way to remove the sealed barrels may be by helicopter given where the ship is beached on a rocky shoreline. 

"We are looking at a couple of options but at the moment that looks like the most likely prospect. 

"We will need to get a weather window to do that."

No decision has been made yet, but in the meantime the contractor has begun bringing the sealed barrels up onto the top deck in anticipation of their removal.