The Phantom of the North Atlantic.

This week’s Belly Ache focuses on a topic quite unrelated to air cargo, but we’re confident you will agree it is an item that is so fantastical it will surely be made into Hollywood movie at some point! After all, it has all the components of a ‘great’ box office hit – ghostly mystery, intrigue and of course an essential ingredient... cannibal rats!


The Phantom of the North Atlantic.


This week’s Belly Ache focuses on a topic quite unrelated to air cargo, but we’re confident you will agree it is an item that is so fantastical it will surely be made into Hollywood movie at some point! After all, it has all the components of a ‘great’ box office hit – ghostly mystery, intrigue and of course an essential ingredient… cannibal rats!

We also reckon that since the shipping industry is a bit of a nemesis of the air cargo industry all’s fair in love and war!

So on to the story… in happier times, the MV Lyubov Orlova was a cruise ship accustomed to taking rich Russian holidaymakers on adventure tours around the Arctic. Today, that same 100-metre ship has become a ‘ghost ship’ bobbing somewhere in the Atlantic ocean with its only passengers a horde of disease-ridden cannibal rats.

The 4,250-tonne Lyubov Orlova has been floating in the Atlantic since January 2013 with satellite images recently showing a mysterious blip matching the vessel’s size off the coast of Scotland, but oddly enough, search aircraft could not find it. Perhaps its a ‘Scottish Triangle’ at work!

Named after a Russian actress, the ghost ship’s story began when the Yugoslav-built ship was seized by port authorities in Canada after its owners ran out of money to pay the crew. As it was being towed to the Dominican Republic for scrapping, rough seas broke the towline and it drifted away. The Canadian authorities, worried that the ship might collide with its offshore oil rigs, sent another, larger vessel that towed it out into international waters where they kindly set it adrift again. Good job!