Cruise ships dismantled for scrap metal as coronavirus pandemic sinks industry
Cruise ships are being dismantled and sold as scrap metal due to the coronavirus pandemic all but destroying the global cruise industry.
Earlier this month, aerial footage shot by drones showed workers stripping walls, windows, floors and railings from several vessels docked in Aliaga, a town 45 kilometres north of Izmir on Turkey’s west coast.
Three more ships are set to join five already being dismantled.
Chairman of a ship recycling industrialists’ association, Kamil Onal, said before the pandemic Turkey’s ship-breaking yards typically handled cargo and container ships.
“But after the pandemic, cruise ships changed course towards Aliaga in a very significant way,” he said.
“There was growth in the sector due to the crisis. When the ships couldn’t find work, they turned to dismantling.”
The vessels have arrived for dismantling from Britain, Italy and the United States.
Cruise ships were home to the some of the earliest clusters of COVID-19 as the pandemic spread globally early this year.
In February, the Australian Government had to evacuate more than 150 Australians stuck onboard the Diamond Princess off Japan.
Weeks later, it ordered foreign-flagged cruise ships out of Australian waters — a ban recently extended until at least December 17.
The now-infamous Ruby Princess was allowed to dock in Sydney, though, with a special commission of inquiry finding the ship was linked to at least 28 deaths.
In March, US authorities issued a no-sail order for all cruise ships. It remains in place.
Mr Onal said some 2,500 people worked at the yard in teams.
He said it took about six months to dismantle a full passenger ship.
The shipyard aimed to increase the volume of reclaimed steel to 1.1 million tonnes by the end of the year, from 700,000 tonnes in January, he said.