May 9, 2021

The outbreak of COVID saw the world’s cruising fleet issued with a no sail order. The impact was immediate and catastrophic. More than 334,000 jobs were lost and $50 billion wiped off the industry’s earnings.

In Turkey though, as well as India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, it created a booming new business for shipbreaking.

Shipbreaking is essentially the dismantling of giant ships for their parts. Traditionally, this has been focused on cargo and container ships.

When cruise ships are decommissioned, they have commonly been refurbished and sold to smaller operators, but with no cruising, there have been no customers.

Tens of thousands of people are now employed breaking the ships down. The steel and other valuable metals recovered are smelted and sold to carmakers and others.

This new industry has a cost though. Ship breakers can earn $450 a tonne in less developed markets, but the value collapses to $150 in Europe.

The reason: Labour costs are higher and some countries pay closer attention to environmental rules than others.

In this fascinating video, Oovvuu partner Cheddar visits the Turkish ship breaking yard at Aliaga to learn more.

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