Daily Mail A ghost ship infested with hundreds of cannibalistic rats may end up beaching on Britain’s coastline, experts have warned. The abandoned Lyubov Orlova has been missing since it cut adrift while being towed from Canada nearly a year ago. Coastguards fear the 40-year-old liner was driven across the North Atlantic by high winds and is now lurking worryingly close to the UK shoreline. Searchers say there are likely to be hundreds, if not thousands, of disease-ridden rats on board with no source of food except each other. Based on signals from distress beacons thought to have been set off accidentally and an unconfirmed satellite image, it is believed the Soviet vessel could hit the West coast of Ireland, Scotland or the far southern tip of England. Belgian-based searcher Pim de Rhoodes said: ‘She is floating around there somewhere. There will be a lot of rats and they eat each other.’A spokesman for the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: ‘We have received no reported sightings of the vessel since April, but we will respond accordingly.’ The 4,250-ton Lyubov Orlova – which was built to carry 110 passengers – was impounded in Newfoundland in 2010 after being deserted by her crew over a debt row. Two years later, she was towed to the Dominican Republic to be scrapped.But when she came loose, the Canadian government decided to drag her far out to sea and leave her there. Adventurers – who want to cash in on the ship’s £600,000 value as scrap – do not believe she has sunk because the life-raft transmitters would have gone off. The sign of her since has been two distress beacons picked up mid-Atlantic in March last year which are thought to have gone off when life-rafts fell into the water. A few weeks later, a satellite spotted a blip off the coast of Scotland big enough to be the ship, but no vessel was found. After that, nothing has been seen of the 300ft liner. Irish coastguard Chris Reynolds said: ‘We must stay vigilant. ‘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.’ The Lyubov is now gaining in notoriety in internet discussion forums, an iPhone app called Find Orlova and its own Twitter account.
It’s so strange to me how humans decide that, when a giant ship had been abandoned, we should just let it float around until it sinks. The ocean is huge, there is no way that this ship will come back to bite us in the ass later. Wrong again. Not to mention the fact that the ship’s only residents, rats, have been living by eating each other and breeding generations of cannibals for several years. Mad cow disease happens because cows are fed cow parts, nature puts a defense mechanism in the cow’s body tissue which attacks the brain, thus deterring cannibalism. Who knows how diseased these rats will be if they have been eating their own kind through several generations. This ship is headed right to the United Kingdom, which had a little issue with rats around 1350, which was called The Black Death and wiped out 45-50% of the population. So we might have to start thinking about alternatives (catch it, sink it) the next time a giant abandoned ship filled with rats goes missing, because the ocean is huge, but eventually every ship is going to find the shoreline.