reply to post by hotel1
I have been watching this story since that ship was seized in the port. It is a black eye on the Canadian Coast guard, and the government. It's a
sturdy little ship, very well built. First, while carrying passengers during an Arctic cruise she became victim of some bad hydrological surveys,
which made the maps she was using suspect, and tore a major gash in her hull. So the vessel was re floated, and dry-docked at great expense to the
company operating her. They in turn sued and won damages from the Canadian government, who refused to pay. Then the cash strapped tour operator
became delinquent on some of her payments (which is not uncommon in maritime trade), and the government decided to act in retaliation,on rather
erroneous credit demands, and seize the Orlova and her crew when she berthed in Newfoundland. The company went bankrupt, and the crew remained
stranded in Canada on board their ship in a kind of diplomatic limbo for months. The generosity of the great people of Newfoundland, saw them come
together and bring food and clothing to the crew imprisoned on the ship until they were eventually repatriated to their native countries.
Hundreds of thousand of warfage fees, airfare and litigation all came out of Canadian taxpayer dollars. There was also the cost to fight an on board
fire that broke out when a visiting agent attempted to start a generator without understanding the vessels electrical systems, and a salvage crew
needed to pump out the now listing vessel of overburden water to keep her from sinking at port, again, all assumed by the Canadian tax payer.
So the now rusting, unmanned and unloved cruise ship, was finally sold at crown assets, a government surplus website, for $275 000, to a Toronto based
Iranian investor with absolutely no knowledge of maritime trade, using some retirement money that he hoped to quadruple, by selling the boat to the
only ship breaker willing to deal with the low metal value and highly toxic insulation needed to keep Arctic bound vessels warm, the Dominic republic.
He then contracted the lowest bidding tug operator, a 50 year old tiny rotten vessel, to undertake the task for $40 000.
Here is where the fun begins. The operator set sail under the watchful and scornful eyes of many knowledgeable mariners who openly criticized the
move, and pleaded with the coastguard to intervene, into the north Atlantic in beginning of winter, during a storm. The tiny underpowered vessel
struggled with the Orlova, lost her tow-lines, and started to take on water. The tug managed to return to port, where it went on to fail all safety
inspections, and was eventually fined for undertaking the task. Meanwhile, the ship bobbed around the coast and headed towards an oil platform. The
offshore oilfields are big business for Newfoundland, and they are always tended by several large supply vessels, some of which are large enough to be
tasked with diverting iceberg with sea water blasts from overly powerful engines. When they became aware of the approaching vessel, a decent operator
managed to lasso the Orlova's anchor chain in high seas, and kept the vessle into the wind and out of harms way of the platform. Burning fuel at 15
tons a day, the operators asked the coast guard who would pay for the towing fees, and the response from on high was to cut the ship loose when it was
clear of the oil rigs.
For all seasoned mariners, this was a massive slap in the face. This was clear example of money chosen over safety, poor seamanship, and a total
disregard for the rules of the sea. To cut loose a 4000 ton vessel, and allow it to float untracked and unilluminated into the north Atlantic trade
corridor where the seas are the most treacherous was a complete disregard for the lives of all those who work the seas, let alone the environmental
impact were it to sink. When the anger and shock became too much to ignore, the coast guard held a press conference, and changed their story. They
had tried to say that the vessel broke free of the offshore supply tug, which insulted the vessels captain. He in turn refuted the story, so the
coast guard had to hold a second press conference. This time they said the vessel had drifted into international waters before instructing the
captain to cut it free, and it posed no safety concern as it would most likely sink in the treacherous north Atlantic waters. When asked if there was
any possibility of stowaways or anyone on board, the government's representative joked, "that probably just some rats". From that, and a lot of
bad translations, came the story of the millions of hungry rats.
Soon after the Irish became involved when they realised the vessel was floating towards them, then the first epirb sounded, then the second, which may
have come from the lifeboats, and or the vessel itself. It is probably sunk, but karma would see it surface knowing its history.