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UK fears approach of rat-infested 'ghost ship'

lyubov-orlova-ship.jpg

The Lyubov Orlova (shown here) was seized in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 2010 because of a financial dispute between the ship's Russian owners and a charter company. (LiveScience / YouTube Screengrab)

The Russian "ghost ship" that was last heard from in March has all but vanished—but a flurry of reports now have it on a potential collision-course with Britain's coast, and packed with rats.

Experts are warning that the Lyubov Orlova could be headed that way in the wake of recent storms, reports the Daily Record, though all reports are careful to point out that the ship's current position is unknown.

It's been quite the mysterious sail for the Lyubov Orlova, which was being towed from Canada to the Dominican Republic to be scrapped when a tug line broke last January, setting it adrift.

It was spotted some 1,300 nautical miles off off Ireland's west coast about a month later, then disappeared, but signals were received on March 12 and 23.

The signals are thought to come from lifeboats that detached from the ship and hit the water, and while people have speculated that the 328-foot vessel sank, the Independent reports that some lifeboat signals remain unactivated, indicating it is still afloat.

The stomach-turning part of the reports: Hundreds of rats are believed to be populating the ship, and while the Independent calls them "disease-ridden," most other reports use the word "cannibal," pointing out that they've likely been eating each other for survival.

One salvage hunter on the hunt for the ship tells the Sun, "If I get aboard I'll have to lace everywhere with poison." Click for more on the ghost ship.

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