Where do decommissioned cruise ships live out their last days?

Where do decommissioned cruise ships live out their last days?

A few decent ships were able to profitably acquire other operators, but most were sold for scrap and went on their last journey to cruise cemeteries.

For decommissioned cruise ships in the world there are two specialized landfills. The largest is Alang, located in India's Khambhat Bay, where more than half of the world's retired cruise ships are recycled. The second largest ship cemetery — Aliaga in Turkey.

Usually ships arrive at the cemetery under their own power, but sometimes they are brought in tow — if, for example, the engines no longer want or cannot run. In front of the shore, they are deliberately dispersed and thereby put aground, deeper into the sand.  

Ship repair workers with the help of equipment pull them further onto the sand and then proceed to dismantling.

The dismantling process in both places looks the same: the ships are pulled ashore and gradually cut into pieces to pieces.

In Alang, this is done by cutting out huge pieces of the structure and dropping them down onto the beach. Then these fragments are divided into smaller pieces the size of a plate, and they are already transported by trucks to steel mills.

In Aliaga, the cut pieces of metadl are removed from the side by large cranes, and then brought to the condition — crush — on the shore.

Tides play a big role in this simple process.

In Alang “landing” beginners are usually made at high tide to raise the ship as high as possible. Then, when the tide recedes, the workers board the ship and do their jobs.

At Aliaga, workers are transported to the ship by cranes with cage-like gondola baskets, while at Alang, workers climb aboard using a ladder .

The dismantling process is slow at first, as it is necessary to remove the remaining fuel and dismantle all the furniture on the ship, remove fittings and fixtures, even toilets, which can be salvaged and sold. Once this first stage is fully completed, workers cut the hull down to the core with astonishing speed. Scrap metal is sold or sent for recycling.

There are strict environmental protection measures in place. They must be observed to avoid leakage of fuel and other toxic chemicals that can contaminate the water and harm marine life. Despite the fact that landfills are managed by professionals, pollution occurs from time to time.

Asbestos used to be a problem, but its use was banned in the 80s, and now most of the ships that are scrapped are passed the era of asbestos. But other carcinogens, oil, fuel residue, paint and other contaminants are still on board most ships and can cause damage if not disposed of properly. Well, the main enemy — plastics that emit toxic fumes when burned and create other problems in landfills.

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