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09 March 2013

The Lyubov Orlova : A ghost ship in north Atlantic : A new flying dutchman ?

Lyubov Orlova Liner (7)The maritime world is a fascinating world which provides us with unusual stories, that only the sea has the secret. But these stories can also say a lot about the world in which we live. Undeniably, the Lyubov Orlova story is one of them.

Her story is indeed not trivial since this ship has become a ghost ship, lost in the North Atlantic, sometimes spotted, sometimes lost ..... a sort of "flying dutchman" of the twentieth century and also becoming a caricature of excesses and abuses of the maritime world.
The history of the ship began nearly 40 years ago. Ship icebreaker of class mariya Yermolova designed for the Arctic and Antarctic cruises, it was built by the shipyard Brodogadimoste Titovo Kraljevica (now Croatia), on behalf of the Russian company Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO). It sails under the flag of Soviet and Russian until August 1996, then fly the Maltese flag for 13 years and finally the Cook Islands from 2009. However, and despite several changes of ownership, it will operated during many years by the same company, Lubov Orlova Shipping Co Ltd who chartered regularly the ship tour operators as Marine Expeditions, Quark Expeditions or Cruise North Expeditions. In 1981 she even received the medal of the Order of Friendship of Nations for participating in a rescue operation.
Apart a grounding in September 2006 on Deception Island in Antarctica, the real troubles for the ship begins at the end of September 2010 when a lien was put on her in the Canadian port of St. John's by his charterer (Cruise North Expeditions) who claimed to the Russian owner the amount of USD 250 000 for cancelled cruises, amount to which it had quickly to add the wages of the 51 crew members, unpaid for several months.

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