I’m shamelessly addicted to all stories creepy, surreal, or unexplained. I especially love when they span over long periods of time, and that is exactly the case with the resurgence in the news about the Russian “ghost ship” MV Lyubov Orlova.
The 1976 cruise ship specialized in tours of the Antarctic and was built to withstand extreme icy conditions, but despite its unique appeal, its reign ended eventually. The ship had been plagued by physical faults, resulting in cancelled trips, and with the addition of complaints from numerous unpaid workers, the ship was doomed. It was seized dockside at St. John’s, Newfoundland in 2010 and reclassified as a “derelict vessel.”
As time went on, little was done to preserve or fix the ship, and it was never once moved from its spot in the harbor. Newfoundlanders began to view the ship as a dark, rusty, eerie eyesore that plagued the city. Massive rats reportedly made their way off the ship and into surrounding areas. Two years later, it was finally supposed to be towed toward the Caribbean, where it would be broken down and sold for scrap parts. It never reached this destination. Its cables snapped during the trip, and the ship floated away into international waters, unmanned and unlit.
The idea of a Soviet Union-era cruise ship, floating aimlessly through the sea, silent and empty except for its rat infestations, is spooky on its own. Then the news broke this February that the ship had been spotted thousands of miles off the coast of Ireland… but soon, it was lost again. The latest reports show that the ship has not been seen since March 12th, at which point it was hundreds of miles off the Kerry coast near Ireland.
The explanations for the missing ship range from the supernatural to the coldly practical, and most likely, it has not been found simply because we stopped looking. The ship does not have anything toxic or valuable on board (that we know of), so the mission is far from urgent. Still, I’m entranced by the mental image of this Russian craft drifting through foggy European waters, dark and abandoned, for so many months — and probably more to come.