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Saturday 30 August 2014

€1million rat-infested ship has sunk, Irish Coast Guard claims

Published 24/01/2014 | 12:55

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Lyubov Orlova. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A €1million ghost ship carrying disease-ridden rats - once feared to be heading for the west coast - is now believed to have sunk.

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The Irish Coast Guard says authorities in Norway, Britain and Iceland are all in agreement that the ship is submerged somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.

Chris Reynolds from the Irish Coast Guard told independent.ie: "We spent two or three months las year searching for it, using satellites and the Air Corps assisted us. It was predicted to be coming up roughly along the west coast towards Achill island."

"Our belief is that it has more than likely sunk, given the storms that have gone through the region."

The 4,000-tonne "hazardous" ghost ship, Lyubov Orlova, left Canada last January and was bound for Dominican Republic, to be used for scrappage.

It broke away from tow ships three times off the coast of Canada earlier this year.

Mr Reynolds said: "If it hasn't shown up by now, it has more than likely sunk. But you need visual proof and there is no visal proof. You can't prove a negative."

"Our professional belief is that it has sunk. We've discussed it with the UK and Norway and Iceland and we're all pretty happy that it has probably sunk."

"It's worth €1million so if it did show up, we'd arrange for it to be salvaged."

"There were rats on it when it left Canada, but we wouldn't be overly worried about that now. The owners would obviously like it back, but from our point of view, hopefully it has sunk."

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.

But Mr Reynolds explained: "It's a blacked-out 100-metre long ship of metal, and the fear is that someone would run into it at night."

"To find something that has no electronic or visual signature isn't possible until it turns up. There is no power or no beacons coming off of it," he added.

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