A ghost ship that has been cruising the North Atlantic since being cut loose by Transport Canada off Newfoundland earlier in the year may be headed towards Ireland with some unruly passengers.
Last week, sightings of the ghost ship MV Lyubov Orlova prompted Irish authorities to keep vigilant watch of the coast. Experts say the ship is likely to still contain hundreds of rats that have been eating each other to survive, many of which could make it to land if the ship comes close enough.
Built in 1976, the MV Lyubov Orlova was seized by Canadian authorities in 2010 at St. John’s harbour after its owners couldn’t pay crew wages and docking fees. It is unclear what company the ship operated for, but CBC reports two Toronto men, Reza Shoeybi and his uncle, bought the ship from the Government after its seizure.
The ship sat tied up in Newfoundland for two years before Transport Canada arranged for it to be salvaged in the Dominican Republic for just over $1,000,000.
One day after leaving St. John’s for the Dominican, the ship broke loose of its tow rope in a storm and started its journey as a ghost ship. Canadian authorities, worried about the potential danger to offshore oil operations chartered an offshore supply vessel to take control of the drifting ship.
On Feb. 1 2013, Transport Canada announced that the supply ship Atlantic Hawk had successfully gained control of the Lyubov Orlova and towed it out to international waters where it was cut loose on orders from Transport Canada.
After essentially washing their hands of the problem, Canadian authorities were blasted by other countries for creating unnecessary danger in the heavily trafficked shipping lanes of the North Atlantic as it heads toward the UK.
The head of the Irish coastguard, Chris Reynolds, said the ship was more likely than not to still pose a threat.
Coast guards aren’t the only ones who will be staying vigilant. Salvage experts say that the ship is still worth over $1,000,000 in scrap metal to the person who finds it.