MV Columbus first luxury cruise to reach Alang in Gujarat after two month hiatus; details
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 over a year are heading again to the Alang shipbreaking yard in Gujarat state. The MV Columbus is the latest to arrive in Alang this week. The 32-year-old cruise liner was built in Saint-Nazaire in France. The ship could carry up to 1,855 passengers and 700 crew. A senior Gujarat Maritime Council (GMB) official was quoted in an IE report as saying the cruise ship was purchased by NBM Iron and Steel Trading Private Limited, a shipwrecker. in Alang.
The official added that the vessel has not yet been beached and is 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, the “MV Ocean Dream” had been bought by the company which was one of six cruise ships to visit Alang between November 2020 and January 2021. In January, when four luxury cruises reached Alang for having been dismantled, none came this year in February and March.
According to Nazir Kaliwala of NBM Iron and Steel Trading, few cruise ships are currently sold for 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 who are able to survive have continued to hold onto their ships in the hope that later this year the cruise industry will revive, Kaliwala added.
The MV Columbus, in a later part of her voyages, was the flagship of CMV-Cruise Maritime Voyages, now defunct and operated from her home port in Tilbury-London, UK. In 2020 she was auctioned off and later bought by the Cyprus-based 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 dates from 2017.