April 7, 2021 5:12:21 am
As fears of a third wave of Covid-19 pandemic mount, jeopardising summer holiday plans in Europe and other countries, cruise ships idling for over a year are once more making their way to the Alang shipbreaking yard in Gujarat.
The latest to arrive at Alang this week is a 32-year-old cruise liner, ‘MV Columbus’, which was built at Saint-Nazaire in France and could carry 1,855 passengers and a crew of 700.
“The cruise vessel was bought by NBM Iron and Steel Trading Pvt Ltd, a shipbreaker at Alang. The vessel is yet to be beached and is currently at Alang’s outer anchorage,” said a senior official from Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) on Tuesday. The vessel has been recently named as ‘MV Colus’.
This is the second cruise vessel to be bought by NBM Iron and Steel Trading Pvt Ltd. Earlier, the company had bought the ‘MV Ocean Dream’, which was one of the six cruise liners to have come to Alang in three months, between November 2020 and January 2021.
While four luxury cruises reached Alang for being dismantled in January, not a single came in February and March this year. “At the moment, not many cruise ships are being sold as scrap. Though the cruise industry has still not opened up due to Covid-19, the owners of cruise ships are hesitant to sell as it is a huge loss. Those who are under a lot of pressure from mounting overheads or losses or bank loans end up selling their ships for scrap. Those who are able to sustain, have continued to hold on to the vessels in the hope that the cruise industry will revive later this year,” Nazir Kaliwala of NBM Iron and Steel Trading Pvt Ltd said.
In later part of her journeys, MV Columbus was the flagship of now defunct CMV-Cruise Maritime Voyages and operated out of homeport in Tilbury-London, UK. It was auctioned in 2020 and was later bought by Cyprus-based shipping company Seajets, which sold it for scrap.
The cruise liner built in 1989 has 11 passenger decks out of a total of 13 with four restaurants, eight bars, two swimming pools, two Jacuzzis and 12 elevators. It was last refurbished in 2017.
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