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Russian Ghost Ship 'Crewed by Cannibal Rats' Bobbing Toward Britain, Reports Say

Lyubov Orlova sailing in Antarctic waters in 2010

A Russian cruise liner that got lost in the Atlantic and may be loaded with rats could be heading for the British coast, British tabloids said Thursday.

The MV Lyubov Orlova went adrift off the coast of Newfoundland while it was being towed to a scrap yard in January 2013.

British coastguards believe that it could be heading toward the coast of Britain or Ireland as it drifts across the ocean, the Daily Mail reported, citing the Sun newspaper.

The ghost ship is likely to be carrying hundreds of rats, which have had to resort to cannibalism over the course of the year-long ocean voyage, the report said.

The 4,250-ton liner, named after a sex symbol of Stalin-era Soviet cinema, was launched in 1976 and refitted in 1998 for voyages in the Antarctic.

It was marooned in Canada in 2010 over the owner's debts and eventually sold for scrap metal. But it was lost en route to the Dominican Republic after a towline snapped.

The Lyubov Orlova was initially believed sunk, but sightings have been reported in the Atlantic during the past 12 months, including possibly between Scotland and Iceland just a few weeks ago.

There are concerns that recent storms in the area may have sunk the ship, but coastguards are continuing to keep an eye out for it.

Chris Reynolds, an Irish coastguard interviewed by the Mirror, said he doubted a ship of that size could be downed so easily.

"We must stay vigilant," he was cited as saying by the tabloid. 

The rat-infested liner represents a financial opportunity for anyone who finds it, as it is worth an estimated £600,000 ($1 million) as scrap metal.

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