Michele Boriel, a spokeswoman for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said in an email that the Lyubov Orlova's Emergency Position Indicating Rescue Beacon was activated Friday morning.
However, Boriel could not confirm whether the vessel was still afloat.
Typically, this type of beacon — better known as an EPIRB — is activated when it touches salt water.
The beacon's signal shows the ship is about 1,100 kilometres from St. John's, N.L, and 890 kilometres from the nearest oil rig.
The empty cruise ship was being towed from St. John's to the Dominican Republic to be scrapped when its tow line broke on Jan. 24.