If you thought your cruise ship experience was bad, wait until you hear about the Lyubov Orlova, an abandoned vessel that might be heading for the shores of Ireland or the United Kingdom.
"Abandoned" might not be a completely accurate term, because, according to reports cited in the U.K.'s Independent, the ship might be filled with cannibalistic rats.
When and if the ship will reach the coast of Ireland or the U.K. remains to be seen. In a statement, the Irish Coast Guard said, "there is no further action required by Ireland and there are no reports and sightings. Normal coastal surveillance activities are carried out which are aware of the issue of the vessel."
So, how did an abandoned cruise ship allegedly full of rats end up floating around in the middle of the Atlantic, perhaps heading for land? According to the BBC, the Russian-registered ship (named after an actress famous in the 1930s) was "cut adrift while being towed from Canada almost a year ago amid problems having it scrapped." It disappeared in February 2013, and its location remains a mystery.
Salvage hunters remain in pursuit of the ship.
From the International Business Times:
Salvage hunters are scouring the ocean for the 4,250-ton ship, which could be worth up to 600,000 euros, or about $820,000, if scrapped. Although the ship’s current location is unknown, it’s life-raft transmitters, which turn on automatically if the vessel sinks, have not been activated, indicating that the Lyubov Orlova is still adrift somewhere.
As for the rats? That, along with the theory that the ship might soon hit shore, appears to be speculation on the part of Pim de Rhoodes, a Belgian salvage hunter who is among those seeking the Lyubov Orlova. De Rhoodes reportedly told the Sun: "There will be a lot of rats and they eat each other. If I get aboard I'll have to lace everywhere with poison.”
Quartz reports that abandoned ships aren't as rare as one might think. In the past 15 years, Quartz writes, sailors have come across "at least seven 'ghost ships.'"
The 100-passenger ship was built in Yugoslavia in 1976. Gawker writes that the ship was "seized in 2010, by Canadian police acting as debt collectors against the ship's now-private owners, and for years it remained anchored off St. John's, the provincial capital of Newfoundland."
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