Drifting Russian ship may have sunk 700 miles off coast

A Russian ship which has been drifting across the Atlantic towards Ireland since Jan 24 is believed to have sunk 700 nautical miles off the west coast.

The MV Lyubov Orlova, which had been seized by Canadian authorities in 2010 as part of a lawsuit, was being towed from Canada to a scrap yard in the Dominican Republic when the tow cable snapped.

The ship then began drifting toward an offshore oil patch and a recovery vessel was sent to divert it away from that location.

However, due to bad weather the ship could not be brought under control and it drifted out into international waters.

A spokeswoman for the Irish Coastguard said they only got formal notification that the ship was heading towards Ireland on Feb 14.

Then in the last few days, a signal from the Russian’ vessel’s emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) confirmed that it was 700 nautical miles off the Kerry coast and still in international waters.

The EPIRB only signals when it hits the water. It normally acts as a distress signal. The coast guard spokeswoman said a satellite was sent over the location of the last signal from the Lyubov Orlova’s EPIRB but there was no sign of the ship. That lead officials to the conclusion that it had probably sunk.

The air corp is expected to continue to monitor the region to ensure the ship is no longer a threat to Irish waters.