World’s Largest Shipbreaking Yard Observes Record Number Of Cruise Ship Arrivals In A Year
Almost 14 cruise vessels, during a phase in history were highly popular for revelers and outlandish decor, landed on Gujarat’s Alang yard last year waiting to get dismantled. Owing to the pandemic, their arrivals are equal to the total cruise ships, which have reached Alang from 2011 to 2020.
Rakesh Mishra, the Port Officer at Alang, said in a news report that every year, one to two passenger cruise ships are typically observed to be beached at Alang’s yard. During the last year, cruise ships came in significant numbers. The 14 cruise ships that came between November last year and October this year are the highest to be recorded within a year.
Captain Mishra said that the numbers have gone high, where ships now account for 10% of 150 vessels that are beached at Alang over the last year. He reported that the passenger cruise ships MV Roger and MV Bluefort reached the yard in the first three weeks of October all empty. The gigantic vessel MV Bluefort (now 42 years old) was manufactured in Germany while the MV Roger, currently 48 years old, is registered with Spain. Almost all the vessels have been major employers with 400 staff members.
The captain also added that in the last year and a half, when cruise tourism encountered a massive hit, the cruise ships in absence of regular clientele were unable to clear up the due salaries of crew members. They did not have sufficient money to even take care of the vessels.
MV Karnika was the largest cruise ship that arrived at Alang in the previous year. It weighed about 31,046 LDT. With almost 614 members on board, it failed to resume operations after the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown. It was the first vessel that arrived at Alang in the middle of the pandemic.
There were four more cruise ships, including MV Ocean Dream that kept on routes close to Japan, MV Columbus and MV Marco Polo plied on some European routes and all of these reached during January 2021.
The Ship Recycling Industries Association (SRIA) of India has said that the pandemic has compelled owners to sell the vessels. With maritime tourism coming to a halt, cruise owners have encountered bankruptcy. They were incapable of coping with loan interests, insurance costs, maintenance, and anchorage charges levied on parked ships.
Haresh Parmar, the honorary secretary of SRIA of India, has said that over the last year, the cruise ships are gradually trickling into Gujarat’s Alang. Around Diwali, another cruise vessel can also arrive. This, however, might be the last one of 2021 as the tourism industry is gradually starting to pick up.