An international team of experts in hazardous waste have carried out an environmental assessment of the shipwreck the MV Alta on behalf of Cork County Council.

The local authority says it will help in making a final decision on the future of the vessel which washed up along the south coast of the country twelve months ago.

The owners of the 44-year-old vessel have yet to come forward.

The holed merchant ship remains firmly grounded on rocks near the fishing village of Ballycotton in east Cork, having been blown ashore in the wake of Storm Dennis.

The 'ghost ship' made international headlines and drew hundreds of sightseers to the isolated location.

Abandoned by her crew in October 2018, she washed up on the evening of 16 February last year.

In a statement, Cork County Council says it is in discussion with a number of Government departments about financial assistant in the event of a "significant intervention being required".

International maritime salvage and wreck experts estimate it could cost over €10 million to salvage the badly damaged vessel.

The Council says that since 16 February last year, it has carried out a number of interventions in line with its obligations under the Merchant Shipping Salvage and Wreck Act 1993

These include the removal of oils and potential pollutants from the vessel to limit any pollution risk in the days that followed its grounding.

A structural assessment was also carried out in March and repeated in October and will continue every six months as necessary.

An environmental and ecological assessment of the wreck location was conducted last September.

In December and January, Dutch hazardous waste experts carried out a risk assessment on board the vessel, which is now being considered by the local authority.

Their findings will form part of their discussions with Government over any financial assistance that might become necessary in dealing with the wreck.

The Mayor of County Cork, Councillor Mary Linehan Foley, said the local authority responded quickly and effectively to the grounding of the MV Alta, securing the dangerous site and mitigating pollution risk.

"The ship presents a very real danger to anyone close to it, and due to its location, it is not safely accessible," she said.

Ms Foley also  appealed to people to stay away from the wreckage.