There’s a ghost ship teeming with inbred cannibal rats on a collision course with the British coastline!
Or maybe not.
Speculation had recently emerged that the Lyubov Orlova, an abandoned ship that has been floating aimlessly across the Atlantic for the past twelve months, was set to run aground somewhere along the western coast of Great Britain. Ordinarily, this might only be of local concern, but somewhere along the line, someone decided that the rats that had been on the boat when its human owners let it go had spent the past year inbreeding themselves into mutancy and having to survive by eating their own. Hence the headlines warning of “inbred cannibal rats” and the like.
And while someone over at SyFy is undoubtedly trying to rope Tara Reid into another Sharknadoesque campfest (Ratnado!), the Welsh can now breathe easier—experts are claiming that the Lyubov Orlova has likely sunk and the rats themselves in Davy Jones’ locker (Pi-rat-nado!).
“Our professional belief is that it has sunk,” said Chris Reynolds, agency director of the Irish Coast Guard. “We’ve discussed it with the UK and Norway and Iceland and we’re all pretty happy that it has probably sunk.” The UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency has also issued the statement that “has received no sightings of the former Soviet cruise ship ‘Lyubov Orlova’ since April last year and there is no evidence to suggest it is still afloat. Any ‘ghost’ ship entering European waters is highly likely to be reported due to the large number of vessels passing through the area. We would then act accordingly.”
The 300-foot ship was built in Yugoslavia in 1976 and was used mainly to tour Arctic and Antarctic waters. In 2010, its owners at the time ran out of cash and abandoned it in Newfoundland, where it was sold for scrap to the Dominican Republic. It broke loose before the Dominicans could haul it off and has been floating freely ever since. It is reputed to have a salvage value of $1 million dollars.
For what it’s worth, the ship has been afloat since last January, and the female brown rat—the most common rat in the world—can produce 5 litters per year with as many as 14 ratlets per litter. You can go ahead and do the math, but, suffice it to say, that was potentially a lot of mutant cannibal rats. Depending, of course, on how hungry they were.
Killer biting rat image via Wikimedia Commons