Saturday 25 January 2014

Ship of Rats

They say worst things happen at sea, and that may well be true. A ship that has been adrift in the Atlantic Ocean for almost a year is supposedly about to infect the British Isles with mutant rats, see: The polar cruise ship MV Lyubov Orlova was originally from Russia and was built in 1975 as a luxury cruise ship for the Soviet regime's officials, before being sold to a private line by the post-communist Russian government; she's named after a Russian film star from the Stalinist era. However she seems to be a somewhat jinxed vessel suffering several accidents throughout her working life. In 2006 she ran aground while visiting Deception Island Base in Antarctica and her owners at the time, Quark Expeditions Ltd, had to employ a tug to pull her loose. She was repaired and sold to a Canadian company, Cruise North Expeditions, but they went bankrupt in 2010 and the ship was seized by the government as collateral. She languished in St John's harbour, Newfoundland for two years and then was sold to an international merchant who cashed her in for disposal in 2012. However, in January 2013 while she was being towed across the Atlantic Ocean to her final resting place, a breakers yard in the Dominican Republic, the towing line parted. The tug tried to reattach the line, but the weather was rough and they couldn't so they had to let the ship drift away. Lyubov Orlova drifted back towards to coast of Canada and the government sent another ship to intercept her in case she collided with the oil rigs and refineries in the area. However this time the towing vessel only dragged the ship further out to sea and then let her go in one of the transoceanic currents, just so she wouldn't be a danger to Canada; recovering the ship was now the owner's problem. However a month later she was located again. Her emergency radio beacon was still operating and the Irish Coast Guard detected her in the mid Atlantic. However she was drifting in the direction of Ireland. By the first of March she was 700 miles off the shoreline of County Kerry. Then her beacon went dead and she's not been seen since. It's possible she was dragged by the currents back out into the middle of the ocean. The beacon might have broken down or the ship might have sunk in a storm. But what if she's still out there? A ghost ship, a modern Mary Celeste?

Is there a danger from the derelict, drifting MV Lyubov Orlova? Yes there is. If she's still afloat then she can drift close to land and damage offshore oil operations, as the Canadians feared. She might also be a hazard to international shipping, an iceberg that never melts. She's small for a cruise liner, 295 feet long and displacing 4251 tons, but that's still a big lump of iron to crash into. But there's another and unexpected hazard, rats. Rats are one of the hardiest species ever to evolve. They'll be alive on Earth long after we humans have become extinct. They're one of the most intelligent of all rodents, they reproduce very quickly and they're omnivorous; able to eat both meat and vegetables. In fact they eat anything, even happily consuming human and animal excrement; hence they often make their homes in sewers. In fact no urban dwelling human is ever more than thirty feet from a rat. Wherever we go, they go too. This includes to sea. They find their way on board ships and feed off our leftovers there just like they do on land. However what do they do when that ship is abandoned and the supply of waste is gone? They'll obviously leave the ship and search elsewhere by climbing down the mooring lines or swimming over to the dock; rats are surprisingly good swimmers. But what if the ship is abandoned out at sea? There's nowhere for them to go. Some biologists have speculated that under these circumstances rats would become cannibalistic and start preying on each other. Rats are primarily scavengers but they can become predatory under certain circumstances, and they will hunt small animals sometimes; does this include other rats? If this is the case then the rat population of the Lyobov Orlova will have been engaged in an all out civil war for the past year. What does that mean for the ship? If somebody were to find the derelict vessel today and step aboard, what sight would their eyes behold? Probably a horrific one, with gnawed rat bones everywhere on the blood-soaked decks; with a few of the rats still alive and feeding. But these survivors might be very different to the rats we're used to. Rats reproduce at a rapid rate, this is what makes them ideal for genetic experimentation; but it also makes them highly adaptive. Evolutionary transformation that would take several centuries in humans can occur in rats within months. How would the rats on the ship evolve? Firstly they'll be a lot bigger than your average rat because natural selection would favour large size when it comes to internecine predation; as opposed to their natural habitat in which the smaller rat wins, able to squeeze itself through the smaller cracks in dustbin lids etc. How big would the rats on board the ship be? Also they will by now be far more behaviourally accustomed to being predators; as I said, rats are highly intelligent and adapt quickly. Are we looking at a nightmare scenario of giant rats, like in the horror book by James Herbert, see: Well, that might be something of an exaggeration, but the rats might have become of a size, and have the inclination, to be able to attack humans. If the ship is eventually located and salvaged, then perhaps whoever first steps aboard should be armed and wear protective clothing. Of course the next question that springs to mind is what would happen if the ship did flounder off a coast. Would these mega-rats survive? As I said, rats are excellent swimmers; a normal rat can easily paddle from a ship in harbour to the dockside. They are also good climbers who can shinny down mooring lines or water pipes. Suppose the ship did crash ashore on the western seaboard of Ireland; the rats might be able to swim to land. In this case these extra-large predatory rats would speedily multiply. This could create an ecological disaster and even endanger human life. Rats are very similar to an epidemic... except you can wipe out a disease; an established population of rats over a large enough area is virtually indestructible. To begin with I was asking myself about this issue and wondering: Is that the idea? I've spoken before about how there is a plan to depopulate the planet and engineer Earth's entire biosphere into a new form, see: and: Could this whole incident with the rogue ship be part of that? Giant rats infecting the globe may be the preferred method they will use for their dastardly plan; instead of, or more likely along with, viruses, pseudolife and chemtrails etc. But that doesn't make sense; if they wanted to carry out the plan that way, then why go to the trouble of wrecking a ship? Why not just breed the mega-rats in a laboratory at Porton Down or Plum Island or somewhere? Nevertheless I still think we should be concerned if a mega-rat infestation happens by accident. It might put ideas in their heads! Therefore I recommend that the hulk of MV Lyubov Orlova be found, if it's still afloat. This would involve a massive naval operation, probably involving more than one country scouring the whole Atlantic Ocean from top to bottom with maritime surveillance aircraft and satellites. When the ship is located she should be sunk in deep water, too far from shore for the rats, even mega-rats, to swim. It might be necessary to tow the hulk to a safe place before breaching the hull with explosives, a torpedo or missile, and letting it flood. The owners might object because the vessel is worth over a million pounds as scrap; but they let her go in the first place, and they didn't help find her afterwards. The operation to find the ship in the open ocean will be very costly so maybe the governments involved should sue the owners.

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