Saturday, January 25, 2014
Captain, Captain, Where is My Ship? The Voyage of the Canadian Cannibal Rats on the Lyubov Orlova
The Lyubov Orlova is a ghost ship, sailing the North Atlantic for a year. It is the Flying Dutchman of the Twenty First Century, captained by King Rat. Contrary to maritime lore and Walt Disney’s fanciful Pirates of the Caribbean, today’s doomed vessels no longer sink to Davy Jones’ Locker. They sail instead to the beaches of India and Turkey, where hundreds of workers scamper aboard like rats to strip every last inch of the vessels. They no longer shelter barnacles. The Exxon Valdez disappeared in Aligia, Turkey on the Aegean Coast, and the once fabled Love Boat was beached in Alang, India on the Gujaret Coast. The cruise ship Lyubov Orlova was built in Yugoslavia in 1976 to serve Russia as an expedition cruise ship to Antarctica and the Arctic Circle. Only the Soviet Union could dream up a market model of frozen Muscovites seeking solace amongst icebergs. The owners of the ship ran out of money in 2010. It was seized in St. John’s, Newfoundland and remained tied to the dock. Canadian rats (genus Rattus Canadas) scampered aboard. They found their houseboat. Canadian rats are cousins to the fabled New York City rat (Rattas BigApplecas), some of which are rumored to be as big as Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster. Rats are survivalists; they dwell in the bowels of ships, subways and sewers. Ship rats often served as food for hungry mariners. Rats can be as invisible as stealth bombers. The Orlova was sent on its last voyage – a crewless voyage to the Dominican Republic, to be scrapped. It was towed out of port on January 23, 2013 by the seaboard tug, Charlene Hunt. Tugboat Annie would never have lost the Ordova, but Tugboat Charlene did. The rope broke one day out of port on January 24. Never forget one of the ten rules of rat life: homesick rats can chew through a hawser. The rats were heard singing O Canada! The Orlova was cast adrift, unlike a Tom Hanks movie. It was now crewed by rats, real rats, cannibal rats, large, monster Canadian Cannibal Rats. No food is reported aboard, but rats are omnivores. They can eat anything, including fellow rats if necessary. Lacking food, the rats turned on each other. The Atlantic Hawk secured a line to the Orlova on February 1, 2013. Transport Canada announced when the vessel entered international waters that it no longer posed a threat to Canada’s oil and gas operations. The Hawk cut the Orlova loose. The Canadian rats now had total control of the ship. They were chosing the cruise. Another fundamental rule of rat life: rats are in control. The Orlova was reported 250 nautical miles east of St. John’s on February 4 headed due east. The Orlova was on a course with destiny. It was 1300 nautical miles off the Irish coast by February 23. A signal, an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), was heard from a lifeboat on March 1 within 700 miles of Ireland’s Kerry Coast. Two lifeboats had been jettisoned from the Orlova. Either the rats were following the time honored custom of rats abandoning a sinking ship or the time honored custom of mothers and children in the lifeboats. It could also be a diversionary tactic by the rats. King Rat, AKA Captain Rat, is elusive. He shifted the Orlova into stealth mode. No one can find the ghost ship. Satellites, radar, drones, and the NSA have lost touch with the stealth rat colony. The fear is that it is drifting to Scotland, where it could beach with the monster, cannibal rats spreading through the highlands of Scotland. The Canadian Cannibal Rats are on an expedition to colonize Scotland. The Scots are trying to kick out the Brits only to be invaded by the giant Canadian Cannibal Rats. The cry was once “The Brits are coming; The Brits are coming!” The cry went out: The Rats are coming! The rats are coming! What to do; what to do? William Wallace would slay a British army, but he never took on an army of rats. Salvage crews are willing to rescue the ship and exterminate the rats. They believe they can tent the entire boat – all the nooks and crannies, the rat holes, ideal for rat survival. If the Somali pirates couldn’t find Captain Phillips’ crew, they why should we expect exterminators to find rats? Perhaps another vessel could hook up to it and continue the voyage to the Dominican Republic with a cargo of rats to breed in Hispaniola’s jungles and spread to Haiti. Perhaps the British Navy, the once great British Navy, could use it for target practice or torpedo it. Will PETA march to save the Cannibal Rats? The Irish Coast Guard now says not to worry. The Orlova probably sank in the treacherous North Atlantic in one of the storms that plague the ocean. If so, that would be the first time rats became the victim of the Plague. Not to worry! Rats are like lawyers. They always have a Plan B. The Canadian Cannibal Rats of the Orlova will find their promised land.