06 March 2012

Russian ship to leave St. John's for the scrap heap:

The Lyubov Orlova, which has accrued more than $200,000 in unpaid berthing fees, lists badly. (John Rieti/CBC)
A Russian ship that's been tied up in St. John's for more than a year and a half will be in Newfoundland for a little while longer as its new owners prepare it for its last trip.

The Lyubov Orlova was finally sold last month but the vessel, which has operated as a cruise ship and a research vessel in both the Arctic and the Antarctic, will not be carrying passengers again.

The 35-year-old ship is destined for the Dominican Republic where it will be broken up and sold as scrap.

Its new owner Hussein Humayuni – who hopes the Orlova will ready to leave in mid-March — said he took a chance when he paid $275,000 for the ship.

"Gambling, you know, If the price of scrap comes up, we can get some profit, If it goes down, we are losers... this is my business…for 45 years," said the Iranian man, who is now living in Toronto.

Many people, especially St. John’s Port Authority officials, will be glad to see the Orlova stern limp out The Narrows.

The Lyubov Orlova was seized by Canadian authorities in 2010. Since then, the ship has accrued more than $200,000 in unpaid berthing fees and deteriorated into a rust bucket that lists badly.

The ship was arrested in St. John's in Sept. 2010 after a creditor put a lien on the vessel. A Russian company, Locso Shipping, owned the 90-metre Orlova.

At the time of the ship's arrest, the Russian-based company owed Cruise North Expeditions $250,000. The Russian company also owed 51 crewmembers on the vessel more than $300,000 in wages.

Before it was seized, the Lyubov Orlova was used for adventure tourism trips to northern Labrador. No passengers were on the ship when it was seized.

Source: CBC News. By Mark Quinn. 5 March 2012

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