Lyubov Orlova departure delayed

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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Ship's sale finalized last week

The former Russian cruise ship Lyubov Orlova sits tied to a pier in St. John's harbour, tilted ominously to one side. - Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

The departure of the MV Lyubov Orlova may not happen before the end of the month, according to the St. John's Port Authority.

It could take six weeks for the vessel to be ready to leave St. John's harbour, according to port authority president and CEO Sean Hanrahan.

"But you don't know what you're going to find, either," he added.

The ship's departure is dependent on how well the engine and electrical system have held up over the last 17 months. Hanrahan said it is possible the ship could be towed from the harbour.

The sale of the vessel to Neptune International Shipping Inc., based in the British Virgin Islands and owned by Hussein Humayuni, was finalized last Friday, according to Hanrahan.

The ship has been docked in St. John's since Sept. 25, 2010 after it was flagged in the South Pacific Cook Islands. Its 51-member crew had not been paid in months, and creditors were owed more than $750,000 as of last November.

Approval for the vessel's $250,000 sale was made last month at a federal court in Montreal. One stipulation was that the Lyubov Orlova would leave the harbour before the end of February, but Hanrahan said the federal court's sheriff for the sale has the discretion to allow the owner to keep the vessel in St. John's beyond the end of this month if repairs are necessary.

Hanrahan confirmed the new owner is incurring berthing fees.

The new owner has a crew in place to help make the ship sea-worthy again, said Hanrahan.

Meanwhile, people walking past the ship might notice it's tilting towards the dock. Hanrahan said the Lyubov Orlova has been listing at an angle of between four and five degrees ever since the ship began its prolonged stay in St. John's.

When the port authority was looking after vessel maintenance, Hanrahan said, a professional marine engineer took care of the issue. He said if listing was considered a problem at any point, the bilge water leaking into the vessel was pumped out of the ship.

Hanrahan understands from speaking with staff that Humayuni has retained the services of the same marine consultant used by the port authority to monitor the vessel.

Hanrahan said the port authority's marine operations staff briefed Neptune International on maintenance issues as recently as Tuesday.

arobinson@thetelegram.com Twitter: TeleAndrew

Organizations: Neptune International, St. John's Port Authority

Geographic location: St. John's, British Virgin Islands, South Pacific Cook Islands Montreal

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  • Money Talks
    February 18, 2012 - 09:53

    Hussein Humayuni sounds like he is from the British Virgin Islands to me. Even better than a ship called Lyubov Orlova being from the South Pacific Cook Islands. We got to do something about these nations that are good for nothign except being a tax shelter.