Lyubov Orlova ghost ship russians rats cannibals
The Lyubov Orlova at sea. (Wikimedia Commons)

There’s No Ghost Ship

Was believed to be full of rats and headed for English coast

Lyubov Orlova ghost ship russians rats cannibals

As if the world wasn’t already loaded with potential nightmare fuel, British media outlets have been trumpeting the possible arrival of a cannibal rat-infested ghost ship on UK shores like it was the Second Coming. But the truth is there might be no ship at all and if there is, it’s probably not landing anytime soon with a cargo of mutated vermin.

The ghost ship is believed to be the Lyubov Orlova, a Russian cruise liner built in 1976 for the purpose of taking the country’s elite on cushy cruises to the Polar Regions. The ship was seized in 2010 by Canadian authorities after its owners were unable to pay their debts.

In January of last year, the ship was being towed from a Canadian port in Newfoundland to a scrap yard in the Dominican Republic when rough seas cut its towline. The Orlova drifted off east across the Atlantic Ocean. Believing it could be a threat to oil rigs or other boats, Canadian authorities dispatched a second ship to tow the Orlova further out to sea, where it was cut loose a second time and forgotten.

No one gave the ship another thought until March of 2013 when two lifeboats detached from the ship and activated their beacons. The signals told authorities that the ship had drifted almost two thirds of the way across the Atlantic. A week later, radar detected an object similar in size to the Lyubov Orlova off the coast of Scotland. However, searches of the area yielded nothing and there have been no new signals since then.

The British Coast Guard has tried their best to debunk the notion that a “ghost ship” could slip undetected through European waters, and released a statement on their blog saying “there is no evidence to suggest it is still afloat.”

But instead of just forgetting about it, British media outlets, fueled by ten months of violent storms in the region, have continued to speculate on the ships whereabouts and direction. This has led to the current belief that the ship now must be heading for the “the coast of Devon or Cornwall.” 

As for the cannibal rat infestation, well, that’s pretty much a given on any ship that sat in port for two years and has been adrift at sea for some time with no food source except for other rats.

But hey, it makes for a great story doesn’t it?

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: Wikimedia Commons