Digital zoom and mist combine to reveal a pixelated blur of PLATINUM II (ex INDEPENDENCE) off Gopnath, India. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2010.
April 2: Almost every plot here (at Alang, India) is occupied, some with two ships. REGAL EMPRESS (ex OLYMPIA, CARIBE I) is completely gone. Her berth is now occupied by another ship that is three weeks into the demolition process. In the neighboring plot, DALMACIJA is missing her bow and a large portion of superstructure. She sat for almost two months after her early January beaching “in line” for the torch as a prior ship was finished off. GLORY (ex ANNA NERY, CONSTELLATION, SALAMIS GLORY, etc.) is being broken in an unusual manner that has left a narrow strip of the center portion of her superstructure intact, so while at least half the ship is gone, her funnel and mast still exist. Recently beached WINNER 5 (ex AUSONIA) is still quite far out but is being winched in with the tide and will succumb to the torches late this month as various clearances are awaited. She lies in the shadows of the massive supertanker MONT (ex KNOCK NEVIS, JAHRE VIKING, etc.), which is disappearing relatively quickly, considering the ship’s size. The first 500 feet of MONT’s hull is gone and cutters are working at her stern and superstructure, as well. Off Gopnath, some 30 miles south of Alang, the PLATINUM II (ex INDEPENDENCE, etc.) is stuck in the mud some four miles off the coast. The hotly-controversial ship is manned by local police and government authorities who are on the lookout for anyone trying to access the vessel for any purpose. No one, even the local Gopnath authorities and fishermen are allowed anywhere near the liner, which has broken its back and appears from distant images to be down by the starboard bow. Once legal issues are settled, the ship will be broken up on site. Meanwhile, MAESTRO (the former RENAISSANCE, WORLD RENAISSANCE, etc.) is slowly sputtering along on her way to Port Said after stopping for emergency turbocharger repairs in Crete yesterday as she heads toward South Asia. There are some rumors of her being sold to Papua, New Guinea-interests who plan to refit the vessel for further service but if these plans fall through, it is likely she will join the Alang armada in the next couple weeks.
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
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