Cruise ship dismantling business booming in Turkey due to COVID-19 pandemic

   October 4, 2020 ,   Cruise Industry

Business is currently booming at a sea dock in Turkey, where 5 cruise liners are being dismantled for scrap metal after the pandemic nearly destroyed the cruise shipping industry.

Cruise vessels were home to some of the earliest clusters of Coronavirus as the pandemic spread globally in March 2020. The March-issued "no-sail" order is still in place.

On Friday, October 2, dozens of workers stripped windows, floors, walls and railings from several ships in Aliaga - a small town with a seaside shipbreaking yard located ~45 km north of Port Izmir (western Turkey). Three more vessels will soon join the already being dismantled ones.

Prior to the pandemic, Turkey’s shipbreaking yards received mainly cargo carriers and container ships (boxships). According to Kamil Onal, chairman of a ship recycling industrialists’ association, after the Coronavirus pandemic, cruise ships had changed course towards Aliaga in a significant way, and there had been growth in the sector because of the ongoing crisis. When the ships could not find work, they turned to dismantling for scrap metal sale.

Onal added that ~2500 people worked at the yard in teams that took ~6 months to dismantle a passenger ship (cruiser of large ferry). The ships arrived from Italy, UK and the USA.

The Aliaga Shipyard aims to increase the volume of dismantled steel to 1,1 million tons by the end of 2020, from ~700,000 tons in January 2020.

Even the vessels’ non-metal fittings don't go to waste as hotel operators come to the yard to buy useful products and materials.