A Ghost Ship Full of Cannibal Rats Has Disappeared in the Atlantic (Updated)

By Jordan Kushins on at

A massive ghost ship has been missing in the Atlantic since last February, along with its cargo of "disease-ridden cannibal rats." Now, it looks like it's headed for the UK.

The Lyubov Orlova was first misplaced on its way from a harbor in Newfoundland, Canada, to the Dominican Republic, where it was to be sold as scrap. A storm sent it loose into the ocean, however, and the Canadian government decided to cut its losses and let it and its crew of hundreds of starving vermin drift.

It seems completely impossible that today, in the time of Google Earth, that a 1,400 tonne ocean liner could completely disappear. But New Scientist ran a fascinating profile on the mystery last month that explains why finding the former polar tourist vessel is so damn difficult. The ever-growing search area, plus the fact the abandoned boat might already be underwater, has made actually locating it nearly impossible.

The report also notes that maritime law states that tossing a rope on a derelict vessel allows you to claim it as your own. Which is incredible, just be careful to avoid the flesh eating rats. [Plymouth Herald]

Updated: According to the Smithsonian, those entering their rat-proof panic rooms can breathe a sigh of relief. The ship now doesn't seem to be headed towards the British Isles, with neither the Irish Coast Guard nor the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency concerned. Phew!