It’s the sad consequence of how the pandemic has had a devastating effect on the cruise industry: cruise ships sent to Indian breakers yards and stripped of their glory.
But now, we can reveal, there are millions to be made from the trade. And Greek shipping magnate Marios Iliopoulos of Seajets is reportedly one of those doing well from the trade.
According to respected maritime website Tradewinds, the owner of Seajets bought two former CMV cruise ships that he acquired at auction to India for recycling. They are well known to Australian cruisers.
The Columbus was bought at a UK auction last October for US$5.3m. But the website says VesselsValue estimates it has a scrap value of $13.5m. While she was sailing with CMV, she was estimated to be worth US$95m. The IHS Ships Register lists the status of the vessel as “to be broken up”.
She is well known to Australians as the Pacific Pearl, which sailed hundreds of journeys for P&O Australia.
The shipowner also snapped up the Magellan for $3.4m. The Magellan was since been renamed Mages and beached at Alang, India, home of the world’s biggest ship breaking industry.
According to Tradewinds, the shipping magnate still has four cruise ships bought from subsidiaries of Carnival.
There have been few happy endings in the cruise world devastated by COVID-19. The Pacific Pearl, another once well-known Australian ship was sold to an Indian cruise line. She now lies on a beach in Alang awaiting her fate.
Meanwhile, Astoria, the world’s oldest cruise ship, failed to attract any buyers at auction last week with a reserve of Euro$10 million. The Astoria, which sailed in Australian waters, is 73 – but had a major refit 20 years ago.
What happens to cruise ships once they arrive at the breakers?
Cruise journalist Peter Knego told CNN he visit Alang 16 years ago and immediately spotted “10 historic liners”.
“On the 10-mile stretch of beach, up to 200 ships can be demolished at one time, making it look like Armageddon or something out of a science fiction movie,” he said. “Tankers share the sands with cruise ships, ferries, container ships and even outmoded oil derricks.”
Once the cruise ship arrives at its final destination, everything inside must be removed, from the grand chandeliers to the toilets.
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