A new business is booming this year in Turkey, on the Aegean coast, specifically in the Aliaga Shipyard, in the west of the transcontinental country, whose main activity is not the construction of boats but their scrapping. Now, after the COVID-19 pandemic is nearly destroying the once profitable cruise industry over the order issued last March banning US carriers from sailing that control the largest share of the world market, a new line of activity has been added: the huge cruise ships are being dismantled for scrap and many of their interior parts and cabins are being sold to hotels.
He Massive COVID-19 outbreak aboard cruise ships has destroyed much of this once-lucrative industry, after the US authorities issued the no-sail order for all cruise ships based in US ports, which has been extended for the last time until October 31.
Dozens of workers are currently stripping walls, windows, floors and railings of several ships at the Aliaga dock. Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, Turkey’s shipbreaking yards used to handle cargo ships and containers. The pandemic and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) no-sail order brought the booming business of cruising cruise ships to Izmir.
CDC They estimate that as of September 29 there have been at least 3,689 cases “of diseases similar to COVID-19 or COVID on cruise ships in US waters, in addition to at least 41 reported deaths.”
COVID-19 burdens an industry
A spokesman for the Turkish shipyard said that u2,500 people work at the shipyard on teams that take around six months to dismantle a complete passenger ship. The ships came from Great Britain, Italy and the United States.
The yard aims to increase the volume of steel dismantled to 1.1mt by year-end, from 700,000t in January. Even non-metallic boat accessories are not wasted, as hotel operators they have come to the shipyard to buy useful materials, he added.
Some emblem ships
On March 14, 2020, Carnival announced the suspension of service for all its ships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequently, it reported that the service would resume on April 10, but the suspension was extended until October 1, 2020. On July 23, 2020, the world’s largest cruise corporation announced the sale of Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Inspiration which were stranded in Aliağa for scrap on July 29, 2020. A report from August 26, 2020 indicated that the scrapping process had begun.
Another ship that followed a similar journey is the Monarch. After several days anchored off the port of Aliaga, the Pullmantur Monarch ship, formerly Monarch of the Seas, made its arrival at the scrapping beach at a speed of 5 knots, where it will be cut section by section, recycling some of its parts, according to the YouTube channel ElRicondelTripulante.
* Pullmantur Cruises, in bankruptcy and processing an ERE
Monarch was listed on a ship broker’s website for $ 125 million. Shortly after being listed, the ship was seen in Naples and Malta unloading heavy equipment while the interior was being dismantled. This is usually the step that immediately precedes the shipment of a ship for scrapping.
And so, there are almost a score of ships that were once launched into the sea in pompous ceremonies with luxurious godmothers and now they will be scrapped and sold for parts.
He Ship recycling in Turkey takes place in an industrial zone that is state-owned and leased to private companies. The shipyards are located in Aliaga, about 50 km north of Izmir, in an area that is home to a large group of heavy industries.
The Ship Recycling Zone was first established by a government decree in 1976. The Turkish ship recycling yards apply the so-called landing method. The bow of the boat is anchored to the ground while the stern is still afloat. Then, cranes lift blocks to a drained and watertight work area. The Poor conditions for the health of workers and the environment of this method was the subject of complaints groups such as Greenpeace and international critics that were silenced by the Turkish government with the introduction of new procedures for hazardous waste management.
For about 10 years, the Turkish ship recyclers and the Government have continued to improve practices in Aliaga, both in environmental and social standards, at the same time as have applied a smart open-door policy to independent researchers, consultants and experts. Several have joined the International Ship Recyclers Association (ISRA) and, since 2018, some they were audited and included in the European Union list of approved ship recycling facilities.