Deteriorating Russian cruise ship's future unclear
Lyubov Orlova has been tied up in St. John's since 2010
There are conflicting reports about the future of a former Russian cruise ship that has been tied up in St. John's harbour since late 2010.
One of the new owners of the Lyubov Orlova said the 35-year-old ship was destined for scrap in the Dominican Republic, but another owner told CBC News this week that there are other plans for the vessel.
Mir Shoaiby said the ship could be used for humanitarian purposes.
"We are talking to the people that have a non-profit organization and they want to get that one for a children's hospital or a hotel for people in Haiti," he said.
Shoaiby said the vessel is scheduled to leave St. John’s within two weeks.
The Lyubov Orlova was sold in February.
Last month one of its new owners, Hussein Humayuni, told CBC that he took a chance when he paid $275,000 for the ship, which has operated as a cruise ship and a research vessel in both the Arctic and the Antarctic.
"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's stern limp out through The Narrows. Canadian authorities seized the Lyubov Orlova in 2010. Since then, the ship has accrued more than $200,000 in unpaid berthing fees.
The port authority said the new owners have been paying berthing fees for the Orlova since they bought it.
The ship was arrested in St. John's in September 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 crew on the vessel more than $300,000 in wages.
Port authority officials say the vessel's debts were never paid.