Booming Business of Recycling Cruise Ships

Jake Heronema

11.03.2020

A demolition yard in Aliaga, Turkey where old cargo ships, tankers, research vessels and now, cruise ships retired during the Covid-19 pandemic get torn apart and broken into pieces. In this case, they’re not being broken in half to get upgraded and stitched back together. Instead, circling the Fantasy’s partially deconstructed innards are buyers from all sorts of industries, looking for rock bottom deals on everything from artwork and kitchenware’s to electrical wires and stainless-steel sinks.

For the cruise company, it’s an opportunity to recoup at least some value from an asset that’s currently acting as dead weight; while its value has declined with age, the Fantasy was originally built for about $225 million. For the recycling companies that buy the vessel for cash and take on the hazardous task of emptying its valuables. If, for instance, the Carnival Fantasy superstructure contains 15,000 tons of steel, the scrap may sell for upward of $4.7 million, based on current global market prices though other factors also come into play, such as local prices and demand. Along with the risk of market fluctuation, the buyer also takes on the uncertainty of just how much metal can be salvaged. Pre-1990s ships tend to have more steel in their hulls and underwater plating; those built in the ’90s and thereafter can contain lighter, stronger alloys. Either way, steel and metal scraps will travel to a smelter to make rebar for construction projects around the world. Steel from some other dismantled ships can find its way to Turkey’s large car-manufacturing industry, where it might contribute to parts for Toyotas or Fords.
Aluminum, copper, and stainless steel are also salvaged and resold, along with valuable commodities that mostly remain in Turkey. The ripped-out teak decks on Fantasy may end up in local shops, restaurants, and homes. Theater scenery and lighting may find its way into show productions. Even the tackiest artwork has some value and can end up in restaurants throughout the country. “The longer the pandemic rages on in the world, the more cruise ships will end up in scrapyards and my guess is at an increasingly younger age,” says ManWo Ng, a maritime management professor at Virginia’s Old Dominion University. “Even if a vaccine becomes available, how many of us will be comfortable jumping right back on cruise ships?”

Old cargo ships, tankers, research vessels and now, cruise ships are being sailed to Aliaga, Turkey, the ship breaking capital of the world.

Buyers from all sorts of industries, looking for rock bottom deals for artwork and kitchenware to electrical wires and stainless-steel sinks.

Opportunity for cruise companies to recoup at least some value from an asset currently acting as dead weight

Carnival Corp. said it plans to sell 18 ships in 2020. 12% reduction

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-29/the-messy-booming-business-of-recycling-cruise-ships-in-turkey