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An undated handout picture of the former Russian cruise ship, MV Lyubov Orlova. Handout photo

Abandoned Russian cruise ship found 1,300 miles off Ireland

The Lyubov Orlova broke free from a towing line when it was being delivered from Canada to a scrap yard two months ago.

A RUSSIAN CRUISE SHIP abandoned and adrift in the North Atlantic has been located about 2,400 kilometres 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 coordinates 49° 22.70 N and 044° 51.34 W – 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 analyses satellite imagery and creates detailed maps for the US government.

With only rats as its passengers, the Lyubov Orlova had left Canada’s shores on January 23 to be towed to a scrapyard 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.

This image from Google Earth shows the location of the ship when it was found. The green dot with the red centre indicates the location where the boat was identified.

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.

The location in which the ship was found is well outside Irish territorial waters.

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 800 kilometres (435 nautical miles) toward the European coastline.

- © AFP, 2013

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