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PHOTOS: Cruise ships broken up in Turkish port show COVID-19 impact

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PHOTOS: Cruise ships broken up in Turkish port show COVID-19 impact 2

  • Photos show rows of deluxe cruise ships waiting to be dismantled in a sea dock in Turkey as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sink the industry. 
  • Around 2,5000 scrapyard workers are currently working to pull apart five cruise ships for scrap metal sales.
  • Among them was the Carnival Fantasy, a newly-refurbished cruise ship that was recently sold by Carnival Cruise Line.
  • “We are trying to change the crisis into an opportunity,” Kamil Onal, chairman of a ship recycling industrialists’ association told Reuters.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

British, American, and Italian cruise ships are being dismantled in a sea dock in Turkey as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sink the industry. 

Five hulking cruise ships are currently being pulled apart for scrap metal in the port of Aliaga, a town 30 miles north of the Turkish city Izmir.

Among them was the Carnival Fantasy, a newly-refurbished cruise ship recently sold by Carnival Cruise Line after it reported a loss of $4.4 billion in the second quarter of 2020.

Three more ships are set to join, according to Kamil Onal, chairman of a ship recycling industrialists’ association. 

cruise ships turkey

Decommissioned cruise ships are being dismantled at Aliaga ship-breaking yard in the Aegean port city of Izmir, western Turkey, October 2, 2020.

REUTERS/Umit Bektas


Before the pandemic, the Turkish ship-breaking yard handled cargo and container ships, Onal told Reuters

“But after the pandemic, cruise ships changed course towards Aliaga in a very significant way,” Onal said, according to Reuters. “There was growth in the sector due to the crisis. When the ships couldn’t find work, they turned to dismantling.”

Around 2,5000 scrapyard workers are currently working to dismantle the ships, stripping their walls, windows, and railings, according to Onal. It takes approximately six months to take apart a full passenger ship.

Hotel operators have also visited the site to collect some non-metal fittings, so they do not go to waste, Onal said.

The Turkish shipyard is trying to increase the volume of deconstructed steel from 700,000 tonnes in January to 1.1 million tonnes by the end of the year.

“We are trying to change the crisis into an opportunity,” Onal said, according to Reuters.

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the cruise ship industry after multiple outbreaks occurred at sea and ports worldwide.

Across the industry, by March 25 there had been coronavirus outbreaks on 36 cruise ships, as Business Insider reported

Ongoing pandemic restrictions, including travel bans and social distancing rules, are still in place, leaving cruise ships empty, off coasts, or laid-up in docks.

Carnival Cruises, which includes P&O, Princess Cruises, and Cunard, has laid off workers and slashed salaries in recent months while Norwegian Cruises said it has “significant doubt” about its finances.

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