Cruise ships and COVID-19: Incredible photos show giant cruise ships being scrapped

Take a look at the ships being scrapped in the photo gallery above.

This is Aliaga, a port in Turkey, some 45km north of Izmir. Normally this dock would be where old cargo and container ships are dismantled for scrap metal. But 2020 is not a normal year, and these drone images show the striking effects of coronavirus on the travel industry.

With the global pandemic pushing the multi-billion dollar cruise industry into crisis, some operators have been forced to cut losses and retire ships earlier than planned.

Lined up in the floating graveyard are five cruise ships, among them the Carnival Fantasy which underwent a massive refit just last year.

Three more cruise ships will soon be joining them to be stripped bare.

Carnival Corp, the largest cruise company in the world, recently announced it would sell off 18 cruise ships. These included the Sun Princess and Sea Princess, both of which were due to cruise Australian waters in 2021. Fifty-five Australia-based cruises have been cancelled as a result, with 14 international cruises also cancelled. 

Carnival Corp has states those two ships have been sold but have not disclosed the buyer.

But as one industry suffers, another one benefits.

The crisis has bolstered the intake of ships at the Aliaga ship recycling port with business up 30 per cent on the previous year, reports Getty.

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Kamil Onal, chairman of a ship recycling industrialists' association, told Reuters that the port doesn't normally handle cruise ships.

"But after the pandemic, cruise ships changed course towards Aliaga in a very significant way," said Onal. "There was growth in the sector due to the crisis. When the ships couldn't find work, they turned to dismantling."

It can take about six months to dismantle a ship.

The cruise industry has been decimated by COVID-19. Early in the pandemic, several ships became hotbeds for the virus. Even recently, as cruise lines tested the waters on new safety protocols, outbreaks have occurred.

The pandemic has been a rude shock to an industry which has boomed over the last decade.

In 2019, more than 30 million passengers were carried worldwide, bringing in $US150 billion and 1.2 million jobs.

The Australian government banned international cruise ships in March following several outbreaks of COVID-19 on board vessels around the world. The ban has been extended several times and is now set to end on December 17.

CLIA warned earlier this year that suspension of cruising into the summer peak season could cost thousands of jobs and billions to the economy.

It says cruise tourism is worth $5.2 billion a year to the Australian economy and supports more than 18,000 jobs.

with Stuff.co.nz

See also: Australian cruises cancelled as ships sold off

See also: Thousands flock to see 'ghost fleet' of giant, empty cruise ships up close

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