Relax, There Isn't A Cannibal Rat-Infested Ghost Ship Headed For The UK
Stories about an abandoned Russian cruise ship filled with diseased rodents might have been a bit exaggerated.
You may have seen this alarming tale today.
It's got a lot of people worried. Either that, or it's a very fun story to write.
The Prime Minister was dragged into it this morning when journalists asked his spokesman what was going on.
So is this Russian cruise ship, now abandoned and not seen for months, full of diseased cannibal rats and heading towards the UK?
This story is in fact a year old exactly: the 100-metre cruise liner began drifting from the Canadian coast after its tow-rope snapped on 24 January 2013.
The Irish Coast Guard told BuzzFeed the most likely outcome is the ship has sank or run aground somewhere.
Chris Reynolds, from the Coast Guard, told us that attempts to find the ship with satellites and planes had found nothing.
"We do not know if it has sunk or run aground but in our professional experience, with the storms that have been going through, it's likely she has been washed up somewhere in Europe or she's sunk. We are not concerned," he said.
Reynolds admitted it's possible the ship is still out there but added that "the ocean is a big place and it doesn't necessarily mean you would see it."
If anything, the Coast Guard is more worried that another vessel might run into it than it landing on Irish soil (and unleashing dangerous cannibal rats onto the unsuspecting Irish people).
Newspaper reports that "coastguards and other authorities are worried storms may have driven her thousands of miles towards BRITAIN'S coast" don't seem to add up.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has received no sightings of the former Soviet cruise ship 'Lyubov Orlova' since April last year and there is no evidence to suggest it is still afloat.Any 'ghost' ship entering European waters is highly likely to be reported due to the large number of vessels passing through the area. We would then act accordingly.
And the rats?
Where did this story come from?
It's been public knowledge for 12 months that the Lyubov is drifting across the Atlantic and there have been several news reports based on clues to its progress on both sides of the Atlantic since.
But The Sun's story yesterday, billed as "exclusive", appears to have brought the story back to life with a bang.
That also appears to be the origin of the cannibal rat angle to the swathes of media coverage. Belgian ship salvage searcher Pim de Rhoodes told the paper: "There will be a lot of rats and they eat each other. If I get aboard I'll have to lace everywhere with poisin."
In any case, it was an entertaining read for The Sun's six million readers.