Record Number of Cruise Ships Arrive at Alang Shipbreaking Yard

The Covid pandemic has hit the cruise industry hard and the catastrophe could be witnessed at the shipbreaking yard of Alang, India. Rakesh Mishra, Port Officer at Alang said that every year only one or two passenger cruise vessels arrive at this shipbreaking yard, but since last year, a record number of 14 cruise vessels have beached at Alang.

Giving a better picture, Mr.Mishra said that now the cruise passenger vessels account for 10% of all the ships beached at Alang. He pointed out that gigantic vessels such as German-made MV Roger (48 years old) and Spain-registered MV Bluefort (42 years old) are waiting at the beach to be dismantled. MV Karnika, which once employed 614 crew members on board failed to resume operations after pandemic lockdown and now is the largest cruise vessel to the beach at Alang awaiting its death. Mr. Mishra reported that cruise vessels from all corners of the world have arrived for dismantling. Naming a few, he counted MV Ocean Dream that once sailed near Japan and MV Marco Polo that sailed in European waters.

Explaining the situation, the Ship Recycling Industries Association (SRIA) said that the pandemic threw multiple challenges at the cruise ship owners. They were already suffering from low-to-no business and added to that were the added expense of maintenance, loan interests, and insurance costs. The tough circumstances created by the Covid pandemic pushed the vessel owners to sell their ships and pay off the liabilities. Alang is not the only port that is witnessing a surge in cruise vessel dismantling, other shipbreaking yards such as those in Turkey are also experiencing the same.

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