Don’t worry – a ghost ship crewed by cannibal rats probably isn’t about to hit the British Isles

Click to enlarge

A ghost ship, crewed by cannibal rats, is reported to be heading towards the British Isles. Really?

Well, the mystery of the Lyubov Orlova cruise liner has become a news story that has been circulating online and splashed in newspapers. Just imagine it: a shadowy vessel silently docking in the dark of night, while cat-sized killer pirate rodents descend and scurry around our cities, brandishing their fangs ready to gnaw at your bones – yes it’s the stuff of nightmares. And with each new headline the rats have become bigger and bigger, so to speak. We relish the opportunity to tell a good ghost story, don’t we? But is it true?

Chris Reynolds, director of the Irish coast guard, chuckles and says, “The problem you have now is that you can’t prove something you don’t know.” It all began when the Yugoslavian-built ship – named in 1976 after a Russian actress – was abandoned for two years in a Newfoundland port after its owners were embroiled in a debt dispute. It was meant to be sold for scrap, at a value of around £600,000, to the Dominican Republic. But its tow-line broke loose on what was to be its final journey and it has been drifting in the Atlantic ever since. The reason why there’s such a fuss is that an abandoned 4,000 tonne ship can be hazardous for other cruise liners and tankers in the sea, especially when it’s dark, and it could also get tangled in oil rigs.

Reynolds explains that the Irish coast guards were alerted about the possibility of an abandoned ship heading their way and that in March 2013 the emergency beacons were alerted, which sent a signal to the coast guards. To repeat: that was early last year>..

“…We couldn’t find it and there was no value to keep on searching. But we have to keep vigilant.” So, this seems to be the only bit of evidence that the ship is on its way? Right…Reynolds now explains that he expects and hopes that the ship has sunk or has been pushed back onto rocks…”We have received no reported sightings of the vessel since April last year, but we will respond accordingly.” Ok, so that’s sorted…

So where did this whole story come from anyway? Well, it is first mentioned last year in the Irish Independent, when Reynolds is quoted to have said: “The ship was alongside the harbour in Newfoundland so we assume there are rats on board, and that’s a biohazard,” adding: “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.”

If you really need to, I’m certain you can follow the adventures of people – talking about looking for the ghost ship – on Facebook or Twitter.

Tsunami ghost ship spotted off the coast of British Columbia

A fishing trawler swept away more than a year ago by a tsunami off the east coast of Japan has been spotted floating near British Columbia…”It looks fairly sound and has rust streak from being out there for a year,” said Marc Proulx, the maritime coordinator of the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Victoria, British Columbia.

The trawler is part of a giant debris field that was generated by the giant wall of water that struck the east coast of the island nation following a 9.0 earthquake, sweeping everything from cars to houses into the ocean.

The fishing vessel is about 120 miles off the Queen Charlotte Islands, commonly referred to as the Haida Gwaii. The islands are an archipelago on the north coast of the British Columbia.

It was first spotted by a Canadian military air patrol, and it has since been determined that it has been adrift without anybody at the helm since March 11, 2011, Proulx said.

The Japan Coast Guard identified the owner of the vessel after being contacted Friday by Canadian officials, who were able to provide the identification number on the hull of the ship. The vessel, which was used for squid fishing, was moored at Hachinohe in the Aomori prefecture when the tsunami hit, said Toshiro Yoshinaga, a Coast Guard official.

The trawler is considered a navigation obstruction for vessels in the area, according to Canada’s Department of National Defense. Canadian agencies are monitoring the ship for possible marine pollution, though there are no reports of leaks from the vessel, the defense department said.

Everyone certain there is no one, nothing on board?