A derelict Russian cruise ship that left St. John's this week for the scrapyard is drifting in open seas.

The Lyubov Orlova finally left St. John's Harbour on Wednesday afternoon after being tied up for nearly two-and-a-half years.

It was being towed to the Dominican Republic to be scrapped when the Coast Guard was notified on Thursday that the tow line had snapped.

It happened about 12 kilometres east of Cape Race.

No one was on board the Orlova at the time.

There were high winds in the area Thursday evening, with five- to six-metre waves, causing more issues for the ship – though a spokesperson for the Coast Guard said those winds should diminish overnight.

The crew of the tug boat Charlene Hunt was trying to reconnect the line. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard vessel Cape Roger is en route to monitor the situation.

The Coast Guard is advising mariners to be cautious if travelling through the area.