lyubov orlova

M/V Lyubov Orlova, via Lilpop,Rau & Loewenstein in the Antarctic, 17 February 2010

UPDATE Jan. 24, 2013: Cannibal Rat-Infested Ghost Ship Story Hijacks the Internet -FAQ

Update: According to data from the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency obtained by AFP, the derelict Lyubov Orlova has been spotted roughly 1,300 nautical miles off the coast of Ireland at coordinates 49-22.70N and 044-51.34W.

Handout photo of the Russian cruise ship, MV Lyubov Orlova

Handout photo of the Russian cruise ship, MV Lyubov Orlova

Original (Feb. 3): The deck of the M/V Lyubov Orlova could be the loneliest place on earth right now.

The derelict cruise ship escaped death by the shipbreakers in the Dominican Republic after her towing cable parted shortly after leaving St. John’s, Newfoundland last week only to face an uncertain fate while drifting alone on the cold, dark, and unforgiving north Atlantic Ocean.

Fearing a possible collision with oil and gas installations off eastern Canada, the Lyubov Orlova was secured by the Atlantic Hawk anchor handler on the 31st of January however, after the ship drifted into international waters yesterday, Transport Canada has decided to cut her loose.

“The Lyubov Orlova no longer poses a threat to the safety of offshore oil installations, their personnel or the marine environment. The vessel has drifted into international waters and given current patterns and predominant winds, it is very unlikely that the vessel will re-enter waters under Canadian jurisdiction,” the department said in a statement.

Safety concerns were cited by Transport Canada in their reason to not pursue a salvage operation to retrieve the ship.

The ship is is located at approximately 250 nautical miles east of St. John’s, NL (approximately 50 nautical miles outside Canada’s territorial waters) and drifting northeasterly.  If left alone  she could end up almost anywhere from the Norwegian arctic, to western Africa, or stuck in the middle of the North Atlantic gyre.

Transport Canada reiterates that the owner of the vessel remains responsible for its movements, and they note that measures have been taken to monitor the position of the drifting ship.


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  • steve from virginia

    Much more of this to come:

    – a massive glut of increasingly useless ships, particularly older models that are not fuel-efficient,

    – increased scrutiny of toxic ship-breaking operations and lower prices paid for derelicts,

    – More bankrupt countries.

    In the future that is unfolding under everyone’s noses there will be much less oceanic trade, universal piracy, decline in sea-going navies, more derelicts and ghost ships, more smuggling, more undetectable hazards to navigation, finally a ‘save yourself, sorry’ approach to marine rescue. Our maritime supervision has been subsidized by extremely cheap petroleum … which is becoming extremely expensive petroleum almost overnight.

    M/V Lyubov Orlova is simply another indicator of peak oil … having occurred in the past.

    • The Usual Suspect

      Ah, the “Peak Oil” myth rears its ugly head again.

  • Joe Meadows

    Hey there, as a crew member of the Atlantic Hawk, I would just like to point out that the Orlova was not infact cut loose – she was passed to the Maersk Challenger for towing, and the tow snapped in rough seas. Just wanted to clarify!

    • Baker

      I was on the Coast Guard boat out there at the time and the towline did indeed snap due to wx conditions. The Orlova could have been recovered by professional salvage people but not by crews of a coast guard vessel or offshore supply vessel. Way too many unknowns to send people aboard a derelict when they are not trained.

  • Claude from VA

    Why hasn’t the towing contractor regained possession/control of the ship? They’ll be paid once the ship is taken to the DR (right)?

    If not, why haven’t the Canadians brought it back to a safe anchorage so’s not to have a hazard on the loose?

    • Brian

      Paid by the DR??!! ROFLMAO (that’s what you’re supposed to say, right?) Stop it, you’re killing me, I can’t catch my breath!!! Paid by the DR — that’s a good one! Oh, that’s funny. I love it. Paid by the DR. Excellent!

      • Baker

        People would have had to go aboard the vessel to set up new towing arrangements. That job belonged to professional salvage crews, not the coast guard or offshore supply crews. The owners would have to pay for this and they are pretty shady.

  • Barry Weinreich

    Just like space junk .. If you do not want it anymore just let it go and it will be some one elses responcability .. bottem line .. you will save the almighty buck ..Don`t worry though , The United States will come to the rescue and taxpayer monies will pay to take care of all the worlds problems ..Thank you USA jerks )

  • Winston Collins

    If the Atlantic Hawk under contract by Husky Energy was tasked with “regaining control” of the M/V Lyubov Orlova.Doesn’t that make them responsable for the ship after they “regained control?” Weather she was passed on to the Maersk Challenger or not.

  • Larry Sardelli

    @Barry Weinreich, The word is spelled “responSIbility” and it’s “bottOm line”, not “bottEm line”. Learn how to spell…lol….JERK…lol!!!

  • rob tison

    Target practice? Why not give it to some third world country to replace a far worse off ferry? She was seaworthy (Ice class) until recently, surely she would be far safer than some of the crappy tubs they sail daily in some parts of the world. People need to consider the energy embodied in durable goods differently, a century of “free” energy has warped our thinking. Repair and reuse not toss away!

    • Rick

      Rob, good thinking … and thanks for the reminder.

      • Yesac13

        Giving this ship to a third world country is a moot point since the cost of repairing or replacing the engine may be too much for them!

        I suspect the engine is 100% dead on this ship or it would be repaired or replaced already. If the cost of a new engine or repairs exceed the ship’s value, it is headed to the shipbreakers! I think that is what happened for this ship.

        Whoever owned this ship needs to be held liable. I am tired of taxpayers being soaked all of the time, everybody needs to be responsible for their things (a ship in this case). Taxpayers are already going broke all over the world, enough is enough!

        • rob tison

          She would also be a great youth hostel, I stayed at a YH in Stockholm which was an old square-rigger no longer able to pass inspection for sea duty… Such a ship would last decades tied to a dock.
          Most likely the ship had deficiencies relating to her Ice rating, in recent years insurers have mandated ships pour money into stengthening bulkheads, etc..

  • Stanislav Palapeshkov

    looks like if it’s true EPIRB , has been giving distress signal, and the ship sunk

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