A small cruise ship docked in the port of St. John's since 2010 is getting ready for its last voyage to a scrap heap in the Dominican Republic.


Reza Shoeybi will tow the Lyubov Orlova to the Dominican Republic. (CBC )

Reza Shoeybi, owner of a tugboat from Boston moored just up the harbour from the Lyubov Orlova, said his job will be to tow the Orlova south as early as next week.

"As soon as we get it prepped and we find a good window to leave, we'll be out of here," said Shoeybi.

Crew working on ship

Rumours that the Lyubov Orlova was finally getting ready to make a move started circulating a few days ago.

A crew has been working to make the vessel seaworthy again, taking care of a leaky valve that caused the ship to list as it was moored to the St. John's waterfront.

But Shoeybi said the state of the ship's engine and electrical system are not an issue for him. 

"For what we're doing, it doesn't make much sense to have it up and running," said Shoeybi.

Owners could not pay bills

The Lyubov Orlova was seized because its owners couldn't pay the bills, including the wages for its mostly Russian crew.

The Orlova's former owners owe more than $1 million in unpaid bills, including $100,000 to the St. John's Port Authority.

Shoeybi said towing the ship down south should take about 23 days, but in the meantime, he said he's willing to sell some equipment from the Lyubov Orlova locally, including a Zodiac and some unused life rafts.