A ghost ship carrying nothing but disease-ridden rats could be about to make land on Britain’s shore, experts have warned. The Lyubov Orlova cruise liner has been drifting across the north Atlantic for the better part of a year, and salvage hunters say there is a strong chance it is heading for Britain.
The 40-year-old ship has been floating in the open seas since last year after being cut loose from a boat towing it from Canada where it was docked. According to experts, the Russian liner Lyubov Orlova that once carried 100 passengers, might drift on the west coast of Cornwall, Scotland, or Ireland.
Before things took a turn for the disastrous for the Orlova in 2010, the LA Times carried a Travel article about the ship, a cozy, comfortable ice-reinforced vessel that took an eclectic mix of passengers out for a look at a frigid world.
“It’s an expedition ship, not a luxury liner. Staterooms are all ‘outside,’ meaning everyone gets a porthole. … Most rooms have pop-down bunks, allowing for a third or fourth guest. All have functional, clean, private bathrooms.
The ship was impounded in Newfoundland, Canada, because of a dispute over debts. The crew was unpaid and deserted their ship, which moldered in port for two years before it was decided it should be towed to the Dominican Republic and turned into scrap metal.
But on the way to the scrap heap, the tow-line to the tug broke and the ship was lost at sea. Canadian authorities reportedly captured it later, dragged it out to international waters and let it loose.
Since then the empty husk of the cruise liner has been adrift, its cozy interior now believed to be inhabited by hordes of rats feeding off one another.
Experts say the ship, which is likely to still contain hundreds of rats that have been eating each other to survive, must still be out there somewhere because not all of its lifeboat emergency beacons have been set off.
Two signals were picked up on the 12 and 23 March last year, presumably from lifeboats which fell away and hit the water, showing the vessel had made it two-thirds of the way across the Atlantic and was heading east.
A week later, an unidentified object of about the right size was spotted on radar just off the coast of Scotland – but search planes never verified the find.
Pim de Rhoodes, a Belgian salvage hunter who is among a number looking for the Lyubov Orlova off the UK coastline, told The Sun: “She is floating around out there somewhere.
“There will be a lot of rats and they eat each other. If I get aboard I’ll have to lace everywhere with poison.”
The head of the Irish coastguard, Chris Reynolds, said the ship was more likely than not to still pose a threat.
“There have been huge storms in recent months but it takes a lot to sink a vessel as big as that,” he said. “We must stay vigilant.”
Reprinted from The Voice of Russia.