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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Another Wednesday, another abandoned ship filled with cannibalistic rats

We all have those dreams, nightmares and fantasies that will never leave the confines of our imaginations. Some are more commercially accepted embarrassments, like a romantic dream about Kevin Bacon or renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Others we keep to ourselves on the off chance that we’ll want to be hired for a paid position one day, and we can’t risk anybody else on planet Earth knowing us as “that girl that I went to high school with who dreamed she went to Hogwarts and then cried when she woke up.” Seriously, that chick is never getting hired.

Then stuff happens on this zany planet we call home — stuff that makes our dreams of Quidditch and our nightmares of properly un-sexy movie stars pale in comparison to our horrifying reality. It’s pretty lame, but our world has things like Justin Bieber’s Instagram account, the Huffington Post’s Twitter account and unmanned ships filled with cannibalistic rats drifting toward a shore near you.

Sadly, all three of those things seem to exist.

It’s a story whose origins are as downright weird as we’d all expect it to be. Basically, in the 1970s, Mother Russia decided it would be prudent to try and gain a foothold in the tropical side of the travel industry, despite competing with the likes of Costa Rica, Fiji and even Florida. Which seems logical, but the story doesn’t end there.

Private owners built a ship, and as to be expected, the owners of the ship lost a ton of money building it and keeping it running. So the ship — called Lyubov Orlova — got seized by Canadian authorities in September 2010 and learned to call the docks of Newfoundland home. Assumedly, the ship probably thought it was born on the most boring planet in the galaxy.

Then, Canada decided to sell the ship for parts, where the ship was to have the same fate as most Saturn cars do. Canada started hauling the ship down to the Dominican Republic. However, because of rough seas, the ship’s towline snapped. Canada sent out yet another ship to try and haul Miss Orlova to the Dominican Republic.

Sadly, Miss Orlova will never know a world outside of biting chills and boredom.

That second ship sent by the Canadians, assumedly because of negligence, accidentally dragged the Lyubov Orlova further off course, into international waters, where it then made the most sense to rid themselves of this pesky hunk-o-steel and return back to their pickup hockey match.

That’s right — the Canadians just cut the ship loose, like it was some toddler-rap artist with an unrelenting hair coif.

Now, this happened almost a year ago, so it doesn’t make much sense for us to even be considering this a threat. Oh, how I wish that were the case.

As reported by CNN in March 2013, two lifeboats fell off the Lyubov Orlova, which triggered a signal reminding — or alerting — authorities of the ship’s existence. It also showed authorities how far Miss Orlova traveled, and it seemed that she was finally about to satiate her hankering for potatoes and hard liquor.

After receiving the signals, authorities thought the ship has drifted nearly two-thirds of the way across the Atlantic Ocean and was making a beeline for Ireland and Great Britain.

According to authorities from Newfoundland, the ship essentially just sat in a dock for two years before it set off for the beaches of the Dominican Republic. The boat also wasn’t reportedly cleaned or emptied, so there was a slight possibility that a giant, rusting hunk of steel was drifting toward shore, filled with diseased, cannibalistic rats. That’s what people on the Internet are saying, but it seems this crisis is not the time to question the sterling reputation of the Web’s blogosphere.

Expectedly, there’s also a pretty high chance that the ship doesn’t even exist anymore. After receiving the signals in March 2013, authorities went out searching for the Lyubov Orlova, but found nothing. Perhaps the lifeboat signal was bogus or a technical error, or maybe the ship disintegrated or sunk soon after the signal was sent. Regardless, it’s highly likely that Miss Orlova has passed on.

It’s mostly been insane Web-based conjecture, though, that the ship was infested with rats or even still intact in the first place.

Still, some are worried that a potential storm could send the Lyubov Orlova — if it still exists — on a speed trajectory for land. If the ship winds up still being intact, authorities hope that they can keep the ship at bay until scrap haulers get the chance to climb onboard and hang out with some bored, hungry rodents with a newfound taste for scrap hauler blood.

And now, we wait with cheese-baited breath. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that one.

Senior staff columnist Cara Smith is a communications junior and may be reached at [email protected]


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