Abandoned Russian ship off Irish coast

2013-02-22 08:26

Washington - A Russian cruise ship abandoned and adrift in the North Atlantic has been located about 2 400km off the west coast of Ireland, according to a US intelligence agency.

With no crew or warning lights, the ship Lyubov Orlova has been adrift for two months and maritime authorities had been uncertain of its precise location.

According to a document from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency obtained by AFP, the Lyubov Orlova has been spotted at the co-ordinates 49-22.70N and 044-51.34W, or roughly 1 300 nautical miles from the Irish coast.

The details were listed in a "Daily Memorandum Atlantic Edition," a maritime update put out by the intelligence agency, which analyzes satellite imagery and creates detailed maps for the US government.

Abandoned for two years

With only rats as its passengers, the Lyubov Orlova had left Canada's shores on 23 January to be towed to a scrap yard in the Dominican Republic. But a day later, the cable snapped, leaving it stranded in international waters.

It was then secured by the Atlantic Hawk, a supply vessel in the offshore oil industry, which managed to take the ship under tow before it drifted off yet again.

Canada's transport authority has said the ship - abandoned for two years - was no longer its concern, as the vessel had left the country's waters. But officials said the owner was responsible for its movements.

Earlier this week, Canadian officials acknowledged they did not know the location of the ship, as the vessel's global positioning system was no longer working.

But the information locating the ship shows the derelict vessel is slowly heading towards Europe, having drifted at least 800km toward the European coastline.