The ship has been there since 11 July. / ñito salas

Why has a cargo ship spent all summer at anchor in Malaga bay?

The Blue Ocean A has been moored off the eastern coast of the city since 11 July

IGNACIO LILLO Malaga

Anyone in the area of La Malagueta or La Caleta beaches in Malaga city will have noticed a large ship that has been anchored in the bay for some time and appears to be sitting in an unusual position, tilted towards the stern.

The ship is called the Blue Ocean A, a livestock carrier which is 117 metres long and 18 wide, and it arrived in Malaga on 11 July, according to data from the Vesselfinder website. It is empty now, but normally carries cattle. So why is this ship still there, a short distance from the beaches on the east side of the city?

“Right now the ship is awaiting orders, and as it usually works between the coast of West Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, it wanted somewhere quiet to anchor but in a good central position for when it receives a new contract,” sources at the Port Authority said.

Ships of this type can spend several weeks at anchor because their work is seasonal and depends on freight rates and fluctuations in the cattle market. It is cheaper for the vessels to stay outside the harbour rather than coming in.

“We have often seen the Blue Ocean A coming into Malaga to stock up on barley, cereals and pulses, but it has never been at anchor this long before. However, it’s all a down to the market,” the sources added.

Is it sinking?

Seen from the beach, the ship appears to be sinking at the rear, but the sources at the Port insist this is not the case. “The ship is completely empty. It is not carrying any cargo, and the way it is designed, to compensate for the way it is loaded when full, just makes it look like that,” they said.

So there appears to be no problem, but in the short term there are no plans for the Blue Ocean A to enter Malaga Port either and no idea about where its next destination will be.