View Full Version : Ghost Ship

23rd Jan 2014, 20:10
Mystery of the Lyubov Orlova: Ghost ship full of cannibal rats ?could be heading for British coast? - Independent.ie (http://www.independent.ie/world-news/mystery-of-the-lyubov-orlova-ghost-ship-full-of-cannibal-rats-could-be-heading-for-british-coast-29944134.html)

It has a scrap worth of 600,000 apparently, so unless it turns up close to shore somewhere it doesn't seem as if it's worth salvaging, or is it ? Those rats don't sound like they'd be much fun for the salvage crew :uhoh:


23rd Jan 2014, 20:14
A semi auto shotgun and loads of ammo would be :ok:

Target practice for a Sub or the RAF ?

tony draper
23rd Jan 2014, 20:39
Used to be common practice in times past to take a ship past her sell by date out to sea and just abandon her,being mostly wooden vessels they sank down to the waterline becoming a hazard to other shipping,the Royal Navy used to be tasked to go out locate and sink the buggas,
Do we not still have a few Subs and a few torpedos?,may as well use em up before the gunpowder goes off.

23rd Jan 2014, 20:43
It's probably full of asylum seekers.

23rd Jan 2014, 20:56
Sounds like the beginning of a James Herbert novel.

23rd Jan 2014, 21:20
An interesting concept is a population of cannibals that can reproduce fast enough to sustain their food source.

Will the population grow over time?

I used to have a computer programme involving rabbits and foxes that showed that the population fluctuated rather than either growing or shrinking - but that involved two species of course.

23rd Jan 2014, 21:25
Cannibal rats!

Wish the buggers at my place would eat each other - save me the trouble of shooting them! They're too busy eating the so called "rat poison" I lay for them which they treat as a delicacy and scoff without any apparent ill-effects :*

23rd Jan 2014, 21:33
Stick some Strychnine on the bait, then you won't have that problem.

Just make sure your cats, dogs and children don't touch them.

23rd Jan 2014, 22:26
And don't let the cats or dogs catch the rats.

23rd Jan 2014, 22:57
It's probably full of asylum seekers.

The title did mention big rats.:p

24th Jan 2014, 00:59
Cannibal rats!

... I guess that after a time there will just be one really, really big arse rat left on board, with a lot of attitude ....:hmm:

24th Jan 2014, 01:01
Now just how does anybody know if they are canibal rats. Is there a roll-call of names somewhere that no longer answer?

Is there a top rat that is getting fatter?

I want documentation :suspect:

Worrals in the wilds
24th Jan 2014, 03:35
Couldn't they pump it full of methyl bromide then let it air for a bit? It works on shipping containers, though you don't want to walk into the shipping container for a while. :ouch::eek:

It makes you wonder how many other ghost ships are out there just drifting around.

24th Jan 2014, 04:17
An interesting concept is a population of cannibals that can reproduce fast enough to sustain their food source.

I don't think it's possible, G-CPTN. If there isn't enough non-rat food to sustain at least one rat, then the population won't last more than a few meals. Unless they can eat rat shit...

Is there a mathematician here?

24th Jan 2014, 05:50
Two signals were picked up on the 12 and 23 March last year, presumably from lifeboats which fell away and hit the water, showing the vessel had made it two-thirds of the way across the Atlantic and was heading east.

A week later, an unidentified object of about the right size was spotted on radar just off the coast of Scotland but search planes never verified the find.

Oh for an MPA - a Nimrod would have found whatever the mystery object was :E

cockney steve
24th Jan 2014, 13:03
@ Tankertrashnav.....ISTR a story about a farmer who admitted defeat when the barn floor started to collapse into the rhodent tunnels.
Turned out, the poison was a certain vitamin, on which they readily overdose and die... unfortunately , they were also gorging on cattle-feed or grain which was high in a vitamin which negated the first one.Result, best fed rats in town, breeding prolifically.

Sequel....Pest controller sets up camera and leaves pile of very slow acting poison bait......at feeding time, rats fill the barn....the old 'uns take vantage-points around the sides, the young 'uns dive into the food....having seen no ill-effects, the following few nights saw Rattus banquets....a week later....the smell of rotting corpses pervaded the air and bait was untouched.

Re- the floating hulk...at 600 K , a not insignificant sum, it would be worth a helicopter drop of the odd sack of poisoned grain on to the deck.
there's no way that a "huge" population could survive by eating each other....believing that ,you'd accept perpetual motion as a reality.
food converts to energy, the population expands/contracts to support the food available, so in a "closed-loop" scenario, the babies would get eaten and so would the old/unfit....the rest would probably fight it out and the victors would get smaller and smaller pickings......even th eremaining super-rat would succumb!

24th Jan 2014, 13:27
Recent cinematic treatment of the problem....

Raoul Silva: Hello, James. Welcome. Do you like the island? My grandmother had an island. Nothing to boast of. You could walk around it in an hour, but still it was, it was a paradise for us. One summer, we went for a visit and discovered the place had been infested with rats. They'd come on a fishing boat and gorged themselves on coconut. So how do you get rats off an island? Hmm? My grandmother showed me. We buried an oil drum and hinged the lid. Then we wired coconut to the lid as bait and the rats would come for the coconut and... they would fall into the drum. And after a month, you have trapped all the rats, but what do you do then? Throw the drum into the ocean? Burn it? No. You just leave it and they begin to get hungry. And one by one...
[mimics rat munching sound]
Raoul Silva: they start eating each other until there are only two left. The two survivors. And then what? Do you kill them? No. You take them and release them into the trees, but now they don't eat coconut anymore. Now, they only eat rat. You have changed their nature. The two survivors. This is what she made us.


24th Jan 2014, 14:25
If it gets found, how about making it an EU country, then all the Romanians and Bulgarians will go there instead of here.

24th Jan 2014, 15:02
Re- the floating hulk...at 600 K , a not insignificant sum, it would be worth a helicopter drop of the odd sack of poisoned grain on to the deck.

I wouldn't sniff at 600K, or even $600K :} but unless the ship is within 100miles of land you're talking about helicopter, (specialist outfit) with specialist salvage crew plus a sea going pit bull tug with costs and wages and insurances etc etc and I'm sure all those costs would add up and leave one with perhaps 2/3rds of it's worth after some days/weeks even and then the challenge of finding a ship scrapper that won't involve a schlepp in winter seas.

For those nautical amongst us, how come a ship of this size doesn't have a long life/low powered beacon that gives it's position even if the main power has been turned off ? Maybe the Rattus Norvegicus chewed through the cable. Scary to think that 5000 tonnes of steel are just floating around unknown in the north Atlantic.


24th Jan 2014, 15:09
"Scary to think that 5000 tonnes of steel are just floating around unknown in the north Atlantic."

With the thousands of shipping containers that are floating just below the
surface waiting to collect or collide with yatchs and ships.


24th Jan 2014, 15:19
Indeed! Having seen a few yachts and smaller ships that hit a shipping container just below the water surface, and the considerable damage that ensued, it doesn't bear thinking about if it were this ship. I do realise that it would show up on most radar before anything might happen btw :8


24th Jan 2014, 15:21
Sounds like it's straight out of this:

Escape THREE SKELETON KEY starring Vincent Price

Three Skeleton Key - Men are trapped in a lighthouse by malicious rats.


24th Jan 2014, 15:32
They reckon that those "yatchs" that go missing sometimes hit containers
and sink so quickly from the damage.

In Aus you also have the Sunfish to contend with. Quite a few yatchs from
the Sydney to Hobart have hit them when they lie on the surface and
have come to a shuddering halt.

Super VC-10
24th Jan 2014, 15:36

24th Jan 2014, 15:51
I read somewhere that there are several abandoned ships floating round in various oceans, one of them being a large tanker in the Pacific.

24th Jan 2014, 16:09
Think you can tow a ship to sea and never see it again? Think twice.

24th Jan 2014, 16:14

Plenty of smaller boats floating around as well.

The Japanese Tsunami floated a reasonable ship off with it
which I think is heading for the US or Canada and they are
waiting for it to arrive.

And the US Coast Guard sunk one last year that arrived from Japan.

Little cloud
24th Jan 2014, 22:04
This sounds like a story that has grown arms and legs. It's hardly conceivable that it might have been detected on radar, 'just off the coast of Scotland' in March 2013 and has gone undetected since then, especially right through the summer of 2013. How long might a medium sized ship drifting broadside to storm waves survive?

24th Jan 2014, 22:39
I've seen this in a Dirk Pitt novel. Pretty sure it has a hold full of rare minerals that can be used to make a bomb that will destroy the world.

24th Jan 2014, 23:46
When and if the Lyubob Orlova gets close enough to shore for someone to make it worth their while to claim and recover it, someone will do just that. If it's still in international waters there are few laws (if any) to keep them from doing whatever they want to rid it of the rats, so some form of poisoning is certain. And all animals, not just rats, turn cannibalistic when the only other option left to them is certain death. Human animals are the only ones that are squeamish about that fact- for the rest, it's just survival. If it's discovered in a shipping lane some government may use it for target practice, but none are required to.

Until then it's just like the piling a guy I once worked with hit with his shrimp boat (which he subsequently lost), just flotsam and fate waiting for the holes to line up on some poor sucker with nobody they file a claim against if they survive the encounter.

25th Jan 2014, 02:04
This strikes me as one of these stories to fill a gap in a newspaper - if the thing has been drifting this long how do they know there are all these cannibal rats on board? How do they know it is still afloat? There has been no confirmed sighting for a considerable period.This will turn into a modern Flying Dutchman!

25th Jan 2014, 02:17
Doesn't some Navy need to test a Torpedo or two?

If they wuz Cannibal Rats....would the population finally dwindle to just one?

25th Jan 2014, 07:37
The last one would start eating itself from the tail end till there was just a gnashing pair of teeth left.

25th Jan 2014, 09:02
The last one would start eating itself from the tail end till there was just a gnashing pair of teeth left.

And if the rat were to belch at that point, would he turn inside-out? :p

25th Jan 2014, 09:04
When I read the timeline on the wiki page and it mentioned the decision of Transport Canada to simply cut it loose from the towline once they had ascertained that it wouldn't inflict damage to anything Canadian in the Atlantic, I felt somewhat disheartened that a supposed enlightened government would be so cavalier with the rest of the ocean's users and more importantly it's natural inhabitants. Does/did the ship have much bunker oil and/or nasty chemicals onboard that could poison the sea ?


25th Jan 2014, 14:47
Now you reckon the Cruise Ships tank all their Human effluent and pump out when against the Dock?:ugh:

Don't hear you whining about that.

25th Jan 2014, 15:11
Now you reckon the Cruise Ships tank all their Human effluent and pump out when against the Dock?

Don't hear you whining about that.

To be fair, neither of us know what they do when underway in the sea far from prying eyes, but I worked on a very large cruise liner a few years ago and was able to speak with the captain informally as and when desired, and one of my many questions was to do with the issue of effluents, mostly man made. He showed me the laws and edicts concerning human waste whilst at sea, and contrary to my cynicism that it was mulched up and 'trailed out' each night to feed the fishies, the waste was tanked and offloaded at each port through large hoses. I witnessed this happening, as well as fresh water coming in through a separate hose. Apparently (with cruise ships) there was very strict punitive action should they dump at sea. Also the bunker fuel had some marker chemical in it, so that if any were spilled at sea, there would be a sort of dna that could be linked back to a ship, or at least a company.


25th Jan 2014, 15:21
the waste was tanked and offloaded at each port through large hoses. I witnessed this happening, as well as fresh water coming in through a separate hose
Thank God for that - imagine using the same hose for both :eek:

25th Jan 2014, 15:35
Ha ha, yes that would make showering interesting! I just meant that there was a specific routine for various off/on loading at each port of call.


25th Jan 2014, 20:01
These days they need to sterilize the ballast water as well before pumping overboard. At least if travelling between oceans.

25th Jan 2014, 22:24
I know that a few years back the mysterious arrival and spread of very aggressive eat everything Tiger Crabs in several European rivers was traced back to huge tankers and container ships that had sucked up thousands of tonnes of Far-Eastern water with said crabs in it and when they dumped the ballast back out at the mouth of the rivers to acheive the minimum depth of passage, said crabs popped out and there goes the neighbourhood.


25th Jan 2014, 22:31
We have had the same thing here in Aus (Victoria and Tasmania, Crown of thorns starfish).

Ballast dumped in river and bay, now they eat everything and are a PITA.

26th Jan 2014, 00:11
We have had the same thing here in Aus (Victoria and Tasmania, Crown of thorns starfish).

Ballast dumped in river and bay, now they eat everything and are a PITA.To say nothing of other assorted crabs, starfish, shellfish and seaweed. Tasmania alone has 10 different stowaways that have come in ballast water, some more harmful than others.

26th Jan 2014, 00:23


I was just using the Star of thorns as one example which as you have pointed
out is just one of many.

The bottom of port Phillip bay has changed greatly since the crown of thorns
has arrived.

Airey Belvoir
26th Jan 2014, 00:30
Human animals are the only ones that are squeamish about that fact- for the rest, it's just survival.

Happens quite regularly http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/eek.gif It's known as "Custom of the Sea" - Although one is unlikely to see it on the menu options on the QM2.

This case apparently set a world-wide precedent. The survivors were destined to hang but Queen Vic exercised her right to give them a pardon as public opinion was right behind the sailors.

The case of R. v. Dudley and Stephens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._v._Dudley_and_Stephens) (1884 14 QBD 273 DC) is an English (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/England) case which developed a crucial ruling on necessity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necessity) in modern common law. The case dealt with four crewmembers of an English yacht, the Mignonette, who were cast away in a storm some 1,600 miles from the Cape of Good Hope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_of_Good_Hope). After a few weeks, one of the crew fell unconscious due to a combination of the famine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famine) and drinking seawater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seawater#Human_consumption). The others (one abstaining) decided then to kill him and eat him. They were picked up four days later. The case held that necessity was not a defense to a charge of murder, and the two defendants were convicted, though their death sentence was commuted to six months' imprisonment.

Custom of the Sea - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Custom_of_the_Sea)

26th Jan 2014, 04:16
Five reasons the Lyubov Orlova - and its cannibal rats - are at the bottom of the Atlantic. (http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/01/25/five-reasons-the-lyubov-orlova-and-its-cannibal-rats-are-at-the-bottom-of-the-atlantic/)

26th Jan 2014, 07:55
The video of the MTS Oceana sinking in that link was pretty chilling, even if it was slow and no one was onboard. I wonder why there was so much froth around the bow area even before it started really listing ?


Little cloud
26th Jan 2014, 10:20
The Lyubov Orlova appears to have a sizeable folding hatch cover on the foredeck, that might well have been the weakest link, broken off or even partly opened by storm waves it wouldn't take long for sufficient water to enter the hull for her to lose stability. Surprising that no lifeboats, liferafts etc have been found on European shores yet.

26th Jan 2014, 11:56

The Oceana went rather neatly nose-down. There must have been still been a lot of air inside the bows that was presumably forced out into the water through blown porthole glass: as the bow went more than 10-20m down, the pressure rose, more water intruded, dragging the ship, Titanic-like bow-down to a steep descent.

Air would have trouble passing through the hull from bow to stern as the bulkheads were presumably sealed, so the only way out for the air is up through the superstructure, or into the water through portholes.

Under the foredeck the superstructure option might not have been available, so there's thousands of cubic meters of air being jetted into the sea as thousands of tons of water fills the space.

26th Jan 2014, 12:26
Thanks for the explanation, it had me foxed :8

Regarding the ghost ship, I wonder what the status of all bulkhead doors and portholes/doors was when the Transport Canada tug cut her loose ? If all the doors were shut, then theoretically it would be able to float in some form despite the biggest storms, or am I mistaken ?


26th Jan 2014, 12:31
I'd be surprised if a ship was towed with bulk head doors to the outside open
which in rough seas could let water in.

On the other hand, the ship was a wreck so rust and other things may have
eaten into the structure which means in a rough sea, doors / bulk heads could open.

They do on big ships in storms so no reason they couldn't on this one.

El Grifo
2nd Feb 2014, 09:19
The Scotsman newspaper, very late to the party :ugh:

Ghost ship with cannibal rats may head to Scotland - The Scotsman (http://www.scotsman.com/news/odd/ghost-ship-with-cannibal-rats-may-head-to-scotland-1-3280464?WT.mc_id=Outbrain_text&obref=obinsite)

Lon More
2nd Feb 2014, 11:11
very late to the party
not really. It was previously expected to hit Engerland, which is full of rats anyway, so who cared? :E

2nd Feb 2014, 11:27
the Canadian authorities arranged to sell the hull for scrap to the Dominican Republic but on route the unlucky vessel broke its tow line one day out of port and began drifting towards oil platforms.
When Transport Canada regained control of the Lyubov Orlova, it was then decided to tow it into international waters and abandon the vessel rather than continue the voyage.
That implies that the Canadians didn't get paid for the vessel.

Are such deals cash-on-delivery?