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.
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.