A decommissioned cruise ship, which was being tracked by the Coastguard as it drifted towards Ireland, is believed to have sunk.

The ‘Lyubov Orlova’ has been drifting in international waters since the beginning of February after an operation to move it from Newfoundland in Canada to the Dominican Republic for scrapping failed.

Further efforts to tow it were also abandoned.

An emergency transponder signal unique to the vessel, which only activates on contact with water, was received by Irish authorities last Wednesday.

However, no sign of the ship was found in subsequent satellite imagery of the area.

The Coastguard has not ruled out the possibility that the transponder may have been washed overboard.

The signal was last picked up from a location 1,700km west of Valentia.

The Air Corps is being asked to monitor Irish waters in the area to ensure the ship is no longer a hazard.