A ghost ship infested with hundreds of cannibalistic rats may end up beaching on Britain’s coastline, experts have warned.
The abandoned Lyubov Orlova has been missing since it cut adrift while being towed from Canada nearly a year ago.
Coastguards fear the 40-year-old liner was driven across the North Atlantic by high winds and is now lurking worryingly close to the UK shoreline.
Searchers say there are likely to be hundreds, if not thousands, of disease-ridden rats on board with no source of food except each other, reports The Sun.
Based on signals from distress beacons thought to have been set off accidentally and an unconfirmed satellite image, it is believed the Soviet vessel could hit the West coast of Ireland, Scotland or the far southern tip of England.
Belgian-based searcher Pim de Rhoodes said: ‘She is floating around there somewhere. There will be a lot of rats and they eat each other.’
The 4,250-ton Lyubov Orlova – which was built to carry 110 passengers – was impounded in Newfoundland in 2010 after being deserted by her crew over a debt row.
Two years later, she was towed to the Dominican Republic to be scrapped. But when she came loose, the Canadian government decided to drag her far out to sea and leave her there.