The ship pictured above is the Lyubov Orlova, a 1970s expedition ship built in the former Yugoslavia for a Soviet shipping company. After running aground in Antarctica about eight years ago, she was docked in Newfoundland when substantial debts were incurred in connection with the ship and was later sold. The vessel was in the process of being towed by tug to the Dominican Republic to be scraped for its metal.
On the face of it, this story does not seem very exciting. However, circumstances changed quickly. A day or so after leaving the dock in Newfoundland, the tow line broke loose and due to high winds could not be reattached by the tugboat crew. Eventually, an offshore supply vessel re-gained control of the ship, but once in international waters and beyond Canadian jurisdiction, she was once again cut loose and set adrift as a ghost ship, having posed no danger, especially to oil and gas rigs.
Thereafter, the story remained somewhat uninteresting – that is until recently. The winds have now shifted and the abandoned vessel appears to be drifting in the north Atlantic toward the United Kingdom. Now, here is the eerie part. Aboard the Lyubov Orlova lives a horde of giant cannibal rats. Since the edible material and food on the vessel had been consumed, the rats, a species capable of reproduction every three weeks until literally millions can be born in less than two years, has turned to eating one another.
I have no idea as to whether there is a plan to solve this almost science-fiction dilemma, but I would venture a guess that the U.K. does not need this vessel crashing upon its shores. Stay tuned.
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