MV Columbus is the latest to arrive in Alang this week. (representative image)
Due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases, summer vacation plans are in jeopardy in Europe and other countries. Cruise ships that have been idling for more than a year are once again heading to the shipbreaking yard in Alang, Gujarat state. MV Columbus is the latest to arrive in Alang this week. The 32-year-old cruise liner was built in Saint-Nazaire, France. The ship could carry up to 1,855 passengers and a crew of 700. A senior Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) official was quoted in an IE report as saying the cruise ship was purchased by NBM Iron and Steel Trading Private Limited, a shipbreaking company in Alang.
The official added that the vessel had not yet been beached and was currently at the outer anchorage of Alang. The cruise ship was recently named “MV Colus”. According to the report, this is the second cruise ship purchased by NBM Iron and Steel Trading Private Limited. Previously, “MV Ocean Dream” had been purchased by the company which was one of six cruise liners to come to Alang between November 2020 and January 2021. In January, as four luxury cruises reached Alang for being dismantled , none came year in the months of February and March.
According to Nazir Kaliwala of NBM Iron and Steel Trading, few cruise ships are currently sold as scrap. Although due to COVID-19 the cruise industry has yet to open up, cruise ship owners are reluctant to sell because it is a huge loss. Those who suffer from increasing overheads or bank loans or losses end up selling their ships for scrap. Those in a position to sustain, have continued to hold on to their ships in the hope that later this year the cruise industry will revive itself, Kaliwala added.
MV Columbus, in a later part of her voyages, was the flagship of CMV-Cruise Maritime Voyages, now defunct and operated from the home port of Tilbury-London, UK. In 2020 she was auctioned off and later bought by the Cypriot shipping company Seajets, who sold her for scrap. Developed in 1989, the cruise liner has 11 passenger decks out of a total of 13 with two swimming pools, four restaurants, eight bars, two Jacuzzis and up to 12 elevators. Its last renovation was carried out in 2017.
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