A cruise ship that went missing back in January was spotted drifting toward the coast of Ireland late last week. The M/V Lyubov Orlova was on its way to the scrapyard when it broke away from a Canadian tug in international waters last month and hadn’t been seen since. It has been floating aimlessly across the Northern Atlantic and is now reportedly within 1200 nautical miles of the Irish coast.
The Russian-built cruise liner was seized in St. John’s, Newfoundland, back in 2010 because its owners were in debt to the tune of $250,000 and hadn’t paid the crew in over five months. In February of last year, the ship was bought by Neptune International Shipping and was scheduled to be scrapped in the Dominican Republic. That’s where it was headed when the ship broke free from the tug charged with delivering it to its final destination. When the crew of the tug failed to recapture it due to high winds and extremely choppy seas the Orlova was left to drift across the open ocean. Canadian authorities refused to mount a salvage operation because the vessel was adrift in international waters.
While in operation, the Orlova was designed to serve as an expedition ship, carrying passengers to both the Arctic and Antarctic. The past few years haven’t been kind to it, however, and while it sat empty in the St. John’s Harbor it has fallen into a state of disrepair. At the time of its departure it was also said to be overrun with rats.
The current owner of the vessel, Reza Shoeybi, is now scrambling to reclaim the ship. He says that he is working with salvage companies in Ireland to try to retrieve the vessel. Bad weather in the North Atlantic is hampering those efforts, however, and it may be some time before it can be captured and towed into shore.
In the meantime, the ship is open to rights of salvage as long as it remains in international waters. If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own cruise ship, now is your chance.
[Photo Credit: Dan Conlin via WikiMedia]