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Cruise ship full of cannibal rats drifting towards land

January 28, 2014 Cruise, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59A deserted adventure cruise ship, crawling with cannibal rats eating each other to survive, is adrift on the high seas and may soon make landfall.

Lyubov Orlova in happier days

Lyubov Orlova in happier days

The macabre ghost hulk used to take tourists to see polar bears and other arctic wonders from its base in Canada. Now, deserted except for scurrying hordes of cannibalistic bilge rats, the ship Lyubov Orlova is feared to be drifting toward Scotland. The 40-year-old Soviet-built vessel is a threat to health and safety, a French environmental organisation named Robin du Bois warned last May.

Lyubov Orlova was built to carry 110 passengers to remote arctic locations.

A few years ago, a cruise publication ran the following glowing description:

A remarkable Canadian cruise operator is Cruise North Expeditions, owned by the people of the region the cruises visit – the Inuit of Northern Quebec. The only cruise line to specialise exclusively in Canadian Arctic cruises, Cruise North was named one of the top five adventure travel companies 2009 by the editors of National Geographic ADVENTURE magazine. The company’s ice-class rated 122-passsenger ship, Lyubov Orlova, is deployed at the northern limit of the great Boreal Forest in Kuujjuaq, a little over two hours by air from Montreal. All expeditions offer guided hikes at no extra cost and there’s plenty of opportunity for sea kayaking. One cruise, High Arctic Expedition, visits Bylot Island, a migratory bird sanctuary and favoured nesting place for rare peregrine falcons, ivory gulls, murres, kittiwakes and snow geese. It also calls at Lancaster Sound, dubbed “The Serengeti of the Arctic”. You may even spot a narwhal. The 18 August 2009 departure costs from US$6195 twin-share.

Alas, no more. Cruise North survives (it has been a sister company of Adventure Canada since 2010) but Lyubov Orlova was seized in Newfoundland in 2010 in a dispute over debts. Her unpaid crew walked out, leaving the ship rusting at anchor for two years, inhabited only by voracious sharp-toothed rats, before the vessel was towed to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean to be scrapped.Ship rat, showing teeth

The ship never reached the Caribbean. The tow line broke in a savage storm and the empty vessel then threatened to float into Newfoundland’s offshore oil fields. In January last year, Lyubov Orlova was hauled out to sea and cut loose.

“The vessel has drifted into international waters, and given current patterns and predominant winds, it is very unlikely that the vessel will re-enter waters under Canadian jurisdiction,” Transport Canada said in a statement at the time.

The 91-metre ship disappeared and has been floating around the North Atlantic ever since.

Coastguards now believe a series of storms have driven the ship close to British  shores, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports.

Last year, satellites identified a mystery object large enough to be the 4250-tonne ship, wallowing off the north-west coast of Scotland. Experts believe the vessel is still afloat because its four life-raft transmitters, designed to go off if the ship sinks, have not done so.

Rats desert a sinking ship, according to seafaring legend. The rodents are good swimmers, though whether they could reach Scotland depends on how far the ship is from land.

Salvage hunters are after the ship, which has an estimated scrap value in excess of AUD 1 million, British newspapers report.

Pim de Rhoodes, a Belgian-based marine missions specialist searching for the Lyubov Orlova, told The Sun newspaper: “There will be a lot of rats and they eat each other. If I get aboard I’ll have to lace everywhere with poison.”

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. mark says:

    surely one of the local navys would jump at the opportunity for some real target practice !!!!

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