Where Cruise Ships Are Sent to Die

Along the meandering industrial peninsula of Aliaga on Turkey’s Aegean coast, the contents of gutted vessels lay strewn on the dusty roadside, scattered among clusters of orange lifeboats that tower so high they obscure the dramatic scene unfolding in the shipyard below.There, five mammoth cruise ships sit crammed into a muddied cove, as hundreds of workers chip away at their hulls and bows, exposing the intricate anatomies of the boats that once carried thousands of people around the world. Now, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate the cruise industry, companies are downsizing their fleets and selling the ships for scrap.“We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Kamil Onal, chairman of the Ship Recyclers’ Association of Turkey. “Before the pandemic we mainly dismantled cargo ships, but now this has become the fate for cruise ships after months of sitting idle without passengers.”
Among the ships being recycled at Aliaga, are three Carnival cruise liners — Inspiration, Imagination and Fantasy, which had just been refurbished in 2019. The world’s largest cruise company reported a loss of $2.9 billion in the quarter ending on Aug. 31 and announced that it would remove 13 of its older, less efficient ships from its global fleet.

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