Lyubov Orlov: Separating Fact From Fiction

The Lyubov Orlova has been adrift for more than a year. Although beacons from two of the ship’s lifeboats were detected in March 2013, nobody has actually seen the ship. Despite the lack of evidence, several sources are reporting that the deserted ship is hurling toward the shore of the UK. Even more disturbing, some agencies have reported that the ship is infested with cannibalistic rats.

The Yugoslavian ship, built in 1976, bears the name of Russian actress Lyubov Petrovna Orlova. The luxury liner carried passengers on expedition cruises to Antarctica and the Arctic Circle until September 2010.

Although the ship and its unique Arctic cruises were a great success, the ship’s owner was more than $250,000 in debt. As he was unable to pay the debt, or his crew, Canadian authorities eventually seized the ship.

The Lyubov Orlova spent two years in St. John’s Harbor in Newfoundland. Although the ship was estimated to be worth more than $1 million, it was eventually sold for $275,000 to be used for scrap in the Dominican Republic.

In January 2013, the ship left the St. John’s port under tow. However, strong winds and aggressive waves caused the tow rope to snap the following day. Although Transport Canada attempted to retrieve the ship, high seas and dangerous winds made it impossible. The ship remained adrift off the Newfoundland coast until January 31.

The ship was eventually secured, as it began drifting toward several offshore oil rigs. However, four days later, Transport Canada determined the ship was out of their jurisdiction, as it was located in international waters.

As reported by Maritime Matters, authorities determined the ship would continue to drift away from the rigs and remain in international waters. The ship eventually drifted out of sight and was never seen again.

In March 2013, two lifeboats apparently fell from the Lyubov Orlova, which activated their beacons. The location of the lifeboats suggest the ship is still intact and may be heading toward the coast of the UK. However, it is impossible to determine the ship’s actual condition or route.


The Daily Mirror reported that a large object was spotted on radar off the Scottish Coast, sparking rumors that the ghost ship was barreling toward the shore. Although the area has been searched extensively, there is no sign of the deserted ship.

Adding to the frightening rumors, several news agencies — including The Sun — have suggested the ship is infested with cannibalistic rats. As the ship was docked in St. John’s Harbor for two years, it is possible that rats made their way onto the ship. However, it would be difficult to prove, as the ship’s whereabouts are currently unknown.

Assuming the ship is still intact, and that rats are aboard, they may have resorted to cannibalism. Even if the Lyubov Orlova suddenly appears on the shore, the rats are not likely to cause a catastrophe.

Lyubov Orlova Rumors

[Images via Flickr and Wikimedia]