“Rat infested” “hazardous” ghost ship disappears in Irish Sea
4,000 ton cruise ship a potential bio-hazard feared if it hits Irish coast
A 4,000 ton, rat-infested cruise ship that was lost somewhere off the coast of Ireland, is still reportedly floating on the high seas.
The ghost ship, named Lyubov Orlova, left Canada last January bound for the Dominican Republic where it was to be used for scrap.
But it broke away from tow ships three times off the coast of Canada earlier this year and then sailed off on its final unmanned voyage.
The Irish Coast Guard told the press this week that the ship could now be floating anywhere between Ireland and the Faroe Islands off the coast of Scotland.
The remaining oil on board is not thought to be hazardous because of its limited quantity. However, the number of suspected rats on board could prove to be a serious biohazard, the coast guard told the press.
Chris Reynolds, the Coast Guard director told the Independent: 'There's still a bit of lubricant oil and fuel on board but it's not huge because the ship would have been emptied because it was going to scrap.
'The ship was alongside the harbour in Newfoundland so we assume there are rats on board, and that's a biohazard. But it's not a major issue.
'We don't want rats from foreign ships coming onto Irish soil. If it came and broke up on shore, I'm sure local people wouldn't be very happy about it.
'If it is afloat, it's blacked out; there's no power and it's a hazard to shipping. The main hazard would be if it hit something at sea. The hope is that it's gone, that it's sunk, and we're hoping that the second alarm that went off was to say it had sunk.'
According to the Independent the Irish Coast Guard picked up a mid-Atlantic distress signal from one of the ship's alarms last February, but the satellite found no trace of the ship. A second alarm was picked up two weeks later.
The Irish Coast Guard believes the first signal came from a lifeboat that was tipped overboard, but it believes the second alarm came from the actual ship. The alarms activate when they come into contact with water.
'We'd never be able to prove that it sank,' Reynolds told the press.
The Irish Coast Guard then expressed their frustration with Canadian authorities, who were slow to alert them to the lost vessel.
'It was over ten days from when it went missing to when we were told about it. It has no heat, it has no light, it's basically a black ship in darkness.
'We would have been much happier if they told us much earlier. We could have sank it or towed it in for salvage.'
The Lyubov Orlova, named after a Russian screen goddess from the 1930's, was built in 1976 and chartered for expeditions to polar waters.
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