In happier times, the MV Lyubov Orlova was a pleasure ship, a cruiser accustomed to taking well-heeled Russian holidaymakers on adventure tours around the Arctic. Today, that same 295ft (90m) ship is bobbing off the coast of Ireland, its only passengers a horde of disease-ridden rats.
The trouble for the ship began last February. Set for the breakers yard, it was being towed from Canada to the Dominican Republic by an American-owned tug. A day into the journey, however, the line between the vessels broke. The tug tried to reconnect it, but was hampered by 60km/h winds. It withdrew and the Orlova was left crewless and adrift. More . . .