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Luxury vessels left to rot in cruise ship ‘graveyard’ amid COVID-19

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A cruise ship graveyard is growing off the coast of Turkey as the multi-billion-dollar industry grapples with the impact of COVID-19.

A cruise ship graveyard is growing off the coast of Turkey as the multi-billion-dollar industry grapples with the impact of COVID-19.

Cruise ships were notoriously involved in the spread of the deadly virus around the world – including the Ruby Princess in Sydney.

Now, cruise lines are dumping unneeded ships off Turkey's east coast, where the luxury liners are stripped for spare parts and left to rust.

Tourism operators in Australia are hoping to get back out to sea soon, to avoid the same fate.

Cruises have returned to Europe, but with many safety measures.

In Italy, he MSC Grandiosa was the first cruise liner to return to the Mediterranean following the global shutdown.

The voyage was characterised by COVID-19 testing, social distancing, hand sanitising and temperature checks

MSC Cruises wouldn't confirm exact numbers, but the Grandiosa was operating at about 60 per cent of its 6300 passenger capacity.

For the cruise industry, the stakes are incredibly high.

In the past decade, cruising experienced a major boom, with 30 million passengers in 2019, creating a demand for bigger, better, grander ships and a US$150 billion ($208.5 billion) industry that sustains 1.2 million jobs.

That exponential growth was already causing image problems amid concerns about over tourism and environmental impact.

Then came the PR disaster of coronavirus, with cruise ships branded high risk for COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic after several significant outbreaks left ships scrambling for safe port and crews stranded at sea.

The challenge now facing cruise operators around the world is how to recover safely and effectively while convincing travellers to return.

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"We know that for every 1 per cent drop in cruising that occurs worldwide, up to 9100 jobs can be lost," Bari Golin-Blaugrund, a spokeswoman for industry body Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), said.

Ms Golin-Blaugrund says CLIA is confident that cruising will recover as demand is already being seen for 2021 vacations and beyond, but, she says, with most cruise operations still suspended, that means up to 2500 jobs being lost per day.

"By the end of September, the worldwide impact will be US$77 billion ($107 billion), 518,000 jobs and US$23 billion ($32 billion) in wages lost," she said.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/coronavirus-cruise-ship-vessels-dumped-in-graveyard-off-turkey/6c8623ea-e128-4778-91f5-7d75686690be

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