CARNIVAL FACINATION name on its AIS signal was recently changed from CENTURY HARMONY to a shorter Y HARMONY before arriving Arriving in Alang. The shipwreck yards in Alang, India have received a record number of cruise ships and passengers in the past 12 months. While none of the major cruise brands have sent one of their ships directly to India, several vessels have been sent for scrapping since November 2020 . “On average, one or two passenger ships are stranded in Alang every year,” Commander Rakesh Mishra, a port officer in Alang, told the Indian Express newspaper . “This number has increased significantly in the past 12 months, reaching levels never reached before.”
A total of 14 passenger ships have been beached in the past 12 months, but port officials expect at least one more by mid-November. According to Commander Mishra , passenger ships accounted for nearly 10% of the approximately 150 ships sent to scrapping yards in India in the past 12 months.
The largest ship to arrive so far was the KARNIKA, the only cruise ship operated by the Indian company Jalesh, which went bankrupt during the pandemic. Built by Fincantieri, the 69,845 gross tonnage cruise ship was introduced in 1990 as Princess Cruises’ Crown Princess . Designed by the Genoese architect Renzo Piano, it was in the 90s one of the largest cruise ships ever built with a design inspired by a dolphin. She spent the last decade of her career cruising from Australia for P&O as Pacific Jewel before being sold in 2019 to Jalesh Cruises.
Among the other famous cruise ships that ended up in Alang last year due to the failures of their operators is the Columbus , introduced in 1989 for Princess Cruises as the STAR PRINCESS. She was the last cruise ship built for industry pioneer Sitmar Cruises, but most recently operated for UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages , which went bankrupt during the pandemic.
The other two cruise ships of the CMV fleet also arrived in Alang after being auctioned. The MARCO POLO had started his career built in 1965 as ALEXANDR PUSHKIN, the flagship of the Soviet fleet . The MAGELLAN was marketed as a “superliner” when it entered service in 1985 as the HOLIDAY for Carnival Cruise Line.
Peace Boat of Japan sold the OCEAN DREAM, built in 1982, to Alang wreckers. The ship had started its career as the COSTA TROPICALthe first newly built cruise ship for Carnival Cruise Line. The German cruise ship ALBATROS, built in 1973 as the ROYAL VIKING SEA, also stopped in Alang in July.
Strong demand for steel was a contributing factor to the scrapping of old cruise ships. Haresh Parmar, of the Ship Recycling Industries Association, explained however that “cruise ships contain less steel than merchant ships and oil tankers arriving in Alang. Therefore, passenger ships generally receive lower prices, but as many of the ships arriving this year are from bankruptcy, they still arrive stocked with valuable spare parts. “
Other ships destined for scrapping?
Chinese buyers purchased Carnival Fascination of the Carnival Cruise Line fleet, built in 1994 as part of the Fantasy class, to use as a lodging vessel . The ship was recently relocated to anchor in Colombo, Sri Lanka, which was often the last stop before arriving in Alang. The ship’s name on its AIS signal was recently changed from CENTURY HARMONY to a shorter Y HARMONY.
Another ship also sold by the Carnival fleet, the COSTA neoROMANTICA, never entered service for her new owner Louis Group’s Celestyal Cruises. It was sold last summer when the new owners needed to raise capital. It recently departed Greece for China with an intermediate stop in Dubai, and brokers report that they believe the ship, built in 1993, was also sold for scrap. Its current name is ANTARES EXPERIENCE.
There is also speculation about the cruise ship fleet being bought by Seajet , a Greek ferry operator. It currently has three 90s vintage ships built by Fincantieri for Holland America Line, a larger cruise ship also built in the 90s for Princess Cruises and the former MAJESTY OF THE SEA acquired by Royal Caribbean. All these ships are stationary in Greece, while the company is looking for a possible charter or buyer.