Russian Ghost Cruise Ship Reappears

This is the Russian cruise ship MV Lyubov Orlova. It disappeared shortly after it left Canada en route to the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean. Now it has reappeared, floating adrift 2,400 kilometers off the west coast of Ireland.

The Orlova—named after a famous Soviet actress—had been abandoned for two years before getting lost at sea during transport. The ship disappeared while being towed to the Caribbean Sea for scrapping. Apparently, the cable that linked her to the towing ship snapped because of the heavy waves. The towing ship crew tried to capture the ship again, but it was all in vain. The weather made it impossible. Finally, the Orlova disappeared.

Everyone assumed the Russian vessel was lost forever in the North Atlantic ocean. Her Automatic Identification System—a system that transmits the geographical position of ships—was offline, so there was no way to locate it. The Canadian authorities admitted that they had no clue about the ship's whereabouts, claiming that the Orlova wasn't their responsibility anymore because she wasn't in Canada's jurisdictional waters.

Weeks later—on February 1—the Orlova was spotted by the Atlantic Hawk, a supply craft used to ferry materials to and from oil platforms. The Atlantic Hawk was able to intercept and secure the Orlova but cut the vessel loose on February 4, following orders of Transport Canada, the country's equivalent of the US Department of Transportation. Now she's again sailing on her own, a prisoner of the Atlantic's currents.

The information was published by the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, an organization that creates classified maps for the United States military as well as maps for civil use. According to the agency, the ship was about 1,300 nautical miles away from Ireland and now it's en route to Europe. [Daily Memorandum via US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency via Physorg]