A mysterious shipwreck that washed up on the Californian coast last February thought to be the missing Russian 'ghost ship', Lyubov Orlova, is more likely to be the infamous mafia gambling and vice ship S.S. Monte Carlo a new documentary for The Science Channel's What on Earth series has discovered
The 4,250-ton Yugoslavian built cruise ship Lyubov Orlova – capable of carrying 110 passengers on cruises around the Antarctic in its heyday – has been missing since its towlines broke whilst it was being taken to the Dominican Republic in 2013 to be scrapped.
The crew had abandoned it in Newfoundland in 2010 due to a row over debts and the ship was seized by the authorities. The crew of the tugboat taking her to the Caribbean tried in vain to reconnect the line but failed, leaving the Lyubov Orlova a floating, but tagged, derelict in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The ship was believed to have sunk as two distress signals – which only transmit when the device is underwater – have since been received.
The Science Channel’s What on Earth documentary makers had begun an investigation into the California wreck after investigators noticed that it was 295ft long – the exact same length as the Lyubov Orlova – but further research discovered that this wreck was made of concrete – not steel as experts had previously thought – and therefore could not be the lost cruise ship.
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That led other experts to suggest that the shipwreck may be the S.S. Monte Carlo, an infamous former oil tanker obtained by the mafia and used as a floating casino, brothel and speakeasy which operated in international waters outside of the US in the 1930s.
The S.S. Monte Carlo was anchored just a few miles off the Coronado coast, with customers ferried out to gamble and drink aboard safely out of reach of US law enforcement officers….until a powerful storm set it adrift on New Year’s Day in 1937.
The ship ran aground, was buried by sand, and has become prone to re-emerging every so often during high tides.
Mystery solved? Perhaps. But all this means is that the Lyubov Orlova is still out there. Somewhere.