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Turkish ship-breakers set fair as cruise lines struggle

Turkey’s ship dismantling industry has boomed while the global tourism industry has been going through the roughest weather because of the pandemic. As a result, redundant cruise ships have been arriving on the west coast to be scrapped.    

Five vessels are currently being dismantled in a yard at Aliaga north of Izmir and three more are expected, report news media. They have been sent from Britain, Italy and the United States. Dozens of workers are involved in scrapping walls, windows, floors and railings and it takes six months to fully dismantle a passenger cruise ship.

Cruise lines were among the earliest victims of Covid-19 as the pandemic spread around the world. Since March, no cruise vessels have set sail. Before the pandemic, Turkey’s ship-breaking yards typically handled cargo and container ships but now cruise ships are changing course towards Aliaga in a very significant way, according to a representative of the Turkish ship recycling industry body. ‘There was growth in the sector due to the crisis. When the ships couldn’t find work, they turned to dismantling,’ he tells Reuters.

The Aliaga ship-breaking facility expects to increase the volume of scrap steel generated to 1.1 million tonnes this year, up from 700 000 tonnes in 2019. Apart from the steel, much of the ships’ non-metallic items find a second home with reports that hotel operators have been visiting the yard to buy suitable materials.

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