Lyubov Orlova: Ghost ship carrying cannibal rats ‘could be heading for Britain’

Experts say the cruise liner, adrift in the north Atlantic, may be too close for comfort

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 this way.

Built in Yugoslavia in 1976, the unlucky vessel was abandoned in a Canadian harbour after its owners were embroiled in a debt scandal and failed to pay the crew.

The authorities in Newfoundland tried to sell the hull for scrap – valued at £600,000 – to the Dominican Republic, but cut their losses when it came loose in a storm on the way.

7 things you need to know about Lyubov Orlova

Sending the ship off into international waters, Transport Canada said it was satisfied the Lyubov Orlova “no longer poses a threat to the safety of [Canadian] offshore oil installations, their personnel or the marine environment”.

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.

Ghost riders: An unmanned Russian ship full of rats is adrift in the Atlantic - so, just how many other vagrant vessels are out there?  

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.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee