Reports and video footage is emerging showing that cruise liners are being taken to Turkey to be scrapped in record numbers as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the cruise industry around the globe.
The news comes after the chairman of the ship recycling industrialists’ association, Kamil Onal made a public announcement that cruise liners were being brought to turkey to be decommissioned and scrapped in record numbers.
The town of Aliaga on Turkey’s west coast is home to one of the largest ship decommissioning and recycling centres in the world, and has been overwhelmed with cruise ships in recent months.
Drone footage also emerged earlier this month of the grave yard in Aliaga, where five cruise liners were being actively scrapped, with another three being added to the list from the United States, Italy and the U.K.
Chairman of the ship recycling industrialists’ association, Kamil Onal has said that “after the pandemic, cruise ships changed course towards Aliaga in a very significant way.”
“There was growth in the sector due to the crisis,” he said in reference to the scrapping and recycling sector. “When the ships couldn’t find work, they turned to dismantling,” he added.
Mr Onal said that the team of 2,500 workers in Aliaga is able to fully decommission a large passenger cruise liner in around six-months, and aims to increase its ability to process reclaimed steel from 700,000 tonnes per year to 1.1 million tonnes.
Onal concluded by saying that the team was “trying to turn the crisis into an opportunity.”
Reports state that beyond scrap metal, “hotel operators have come to the yard to buy useful materials,” decorations and fitting for their own operations.
The cruise liner industry has been one of the worst hit by the pandemic, after governments world wide issued no-sail orders for recreational trips that buckled the industry. They were one of the first industries to be either shut down or restricted in the early stages of the pandemic, as they present a risk of accelerating the spread of the COVID-19 virus while passengers are onboard, as well as spreading the virus geographically while stopping in cities.