Is ghost ship infested with ‘cannibal rats' heading to UK?

Lyubov Orlova and its crew of vermin has been adrift in the North Atlantic for two years

LAST UPDATED AT 14:40 ON Thu 23 Jan 2014

COASTGUARDS are reportedly worried that an abandoned ship containing nothing but "cannibal rats" is on its way to the British coastline. 

The Lyubov Orlova, a 300ft vessel built 40 years ago in the Soviet Union, has been adrift in the North Atlantic since 2012.

It is feared the vessel may have become "home to hoards of rats, which would have had to eat each other to survive", reports the Daily Telegraph.

The Lyubov Orlova once carried up to 110 passengers to destinations across the globe but was impounded in 2010 in Newfoundland, Canada in a row over debts and deserted by her unpaid crew.

After two years tied up in port, the decision was taken to tow her to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean where she would be scrapped.

But in heavy seas, the tow-line to a tug broke, prompting the Canadian government to send out another ship to drag her far out to sea and release her.

The ship has been adrift for nearly two years but coastguards believe the recent storms might have driven her thousands of miles towards Europe. If the Lyubov makes landfall it is likely to be on the west coast of Ireland, Scotland or the far southern tip of England.

Her current position is unknown despite several high-level searches, but the liner is believed to be afloat because its life-raft transmitters have not been activated. Salvage hunters are also scouring the seas for any trace of the vessel, which could be worth £600,000 as scrap.

One Belgian searcher, Pim de Rhoodes, told The Sun: "She is floating around out there somewhere. There will be a lot of rats and they eat each other. If I get aboard I'll have to lace everywhere with poison."

Irish coastguard chief Chris Reynolds said: "There have been huge storms in recent months but it takes a lot to sink a vessel as big as that. We must stay vigilant." · 

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