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ROSE Rounds Africa

Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2010 by

SAGA ROSE at Piraeus. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2009.

After Saga Holiday’s recently retired MV SAGA ROSE (ex SAGAFJORD) was last reported bound for Walvis Bay, Namibia, she disappeared from AIS detection shortly after passing Mauritania off the western coast of Africa.  The ship did not turn up in Walvis Bay, however, and is now well south of Cape Town and listed on AIS as “on sea trials” with a destination of Port Elizabeth.  With thanks to the forum Cruising Talk for the update.

Saga Holidays remains silent about where the ship is headed and has not released any sort of official statement about the ship’s possible charter or sale.  Originally, the vessel was to have been sold to West African interests to become an accommodation ship following her retirement last December.  Since that deal fell through, there were rumors of another operator purchasing or chartering the ship and the ever-present possibility that she would be sold for scrap.  At present, there is no confirmation of her purchase by any shipbreaking entities based at Alang.

28 Responses to ROSE Rounds Africa

  1. Patricia

    April 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Poor little Rosie. :(

  2. Darren

    April 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Hello there Love ur website,could u please tell me if they salvaged the “Princess of the Stars” which sank in Philippines,or if they have moved the vessel,much appreciated, Thankyou. Darren

  3. Patrick

    April 23, 2010 at 12:42 am

    Hey Darren. The latest news is that, a complete salvage of the wreck is underway, and will be completed before the end of the summer.

  4. Brett Moore

    April 23, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Saga Rose ETA Port Elizabeth South Africa 10h00 tomorrow, Sat 24 April ETD 17h00 same day. Calling for bunkers only……

  5. David

    April 23, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Great Ship !!!! Let’s hope someone will breathe new life into her and wilol continue for another 5-10 years

  6. Heinu Schütte

    April 23, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Where is she headed after PE? If Alang why didn’t they just send her through the Suez canal? Australia perhaps and long way round in fear of pirates?

    Darren, apparently the wreck has not been moved or salvaged.

  7. Brett Moore

    April 25, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Hi Heinu..yes…from anchorage off Gibraltar to round the Cape, pop in to PE for bunkers….we all know where she’sheaded….pity but that’s life !
    p.s. If I find out anymore I will post it.

  8. Peter Knego

    April 25, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    But interestingly, her next destination is Richard’s Bay, SA. I did a Google on it and found that they will be hosting World Cup athletes there for training purposes starting mid-May. It may only be a temporary reprieve from Alang but it looks like she may be stopping there for a while to serve as accommodation. Of course, nothing has been announced and this is purely conjecture but the ship is still not expected at Alang anytime in the immediate future. I don’t get why Saga just can’t reveal what is going on here — it gives the impression that they are trying to hide something.

  9. Corey

    April 27, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Saga rose is such a grand ship and what i think a cruiseship should look like. I hope someone saves her as a hotelship . This past five years watching all my favorite ships being scrapped is sad. Thankyou to maritime matters and Peter knego for showing me ur travels and great ships

  10. Brett Moore

    April 27, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Yes Peter you are correct. She is in Richard’s Bay today…will try to establish more info and post it.

  11. Brett Moore

    April 27, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Upon further investigating, herewith latest update from local reporter, Terry Hutsom of http://www.ports.co.za …..hope I don’t get onto trouble as this was a private email…
    Hi Brett
    Saga Rose is DUE in Richards Bay today. After having arrived off Durban at 06h30 today, she has just left the Durban area covered by the AIS that we utilise, and is doing 11.9 knots bound for R Bay. This gives her an ETA of early evening today.
    As to why she is calling at Richards Bay, the official line is to load heavy fuel. Why it was necessary to call at PE for light fuel and again at RB for the heavy is not known, but I personally think it highly speculative on the part of Peter Knego to suggest she will now become an accommodation ship at the Zululand port.
    As you may be aware the Nigerians (I think) will be staying at the Richards Hotel for several weeks in training and the early part of the FIFA cup. There is enough other accommodation in Richards Bay and Empangeni to handle the few fans expected – the local tourist bodies would certainly have something strong to say about a ship being brought in at short (and secret) notice, as would Match, the official FIFA tour organisers. For comparative purposes, the two Holland America ships coming to Durban and PE are less that 50% occupied – suggesting that one hardly needs another ship at this late stage.
    But that doesn’t answer the Saga Rose’s unusual movements, or her final destination which is still believed to be Singapore. Or why she requires a crew of 60 for the current voyage. Time only may have the answers. Meanwhile we all keep watching.
    kind regards

  12. Peter Knego

    April 27, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Hi Brett,

    Thanks for the legwork and continued updates. Appreciate the info as the mystery continues to unravel. I removed Mr. Hutsom’s contact information from your post to protect his privacy. As for speculating, it’s pretty hard not to do, considering the circumstances. That’s why I said in my post that it was conjecture (ie “speculation”). :)

    All the best,


  13. Brett Moore

    April 27, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Hi Peter, grateful for your efforts.
    Herewith latest…
    The saga of Saga Rose’s mystery voyage

    Saga Rose, the mystery continues. Picture by Terry Hutson

    The mystery surrounding the voyage of the cruise ship SAGA ROSE continues to intrigue ship watchers across the world, puzzled by the direction the aging vessel has taken and still guessing her ultimate destination.

    Saga Rose departed Gibraltar bound for South Africa, with initial reports suggesting the vessel would call at Walvis Bay. Rumours among the ship watching fraternity suggested that the vessel would become a floating hotel in Cape Town during the forthcoming FIFA Soccer World Cup, now little more than 6 weeks away.

    However on Friday the vessel bypassed Cape Town heading for Port Elizabeth, where she was due to load diesel fuel before heading along the eastern South African seaboard for the port of Richards Bay to load heavy fuel.

    This raised further questions – why two port calls when both fuels could have been loaded at either Cape Town or Durban.

    Whatever the reason, and notwithstanding the comments of cruise specialists in various parts of the world, Saga Rose reached Richards Bay on Tuesday (27 April) and crossed the entrance into harbour at 14h30, berthing at the coal terminal.

    At this stage there is no indication where the ship will be sailing to once she leaves the Zululand port. Even at this late stage of her voyage to South Africa rumours, based on little more than speculation, have suggested she will become a floating hotel, this time at Richards Bay. This arose when someone learned that one of the teams would base themselves at Richards Bay for the early part of the tournament (Nigeria).

    However the announcement of the Nigerian team relocating to Richards Bay from Ballito on the KZN North Coast was made after the ship had sailed from Gibraltar, which appears to kick that theory firmly into touch. And if, as expected the ship sails today, ship watchers will again turn to the prospect of the ship going to the breakers, or perhaps…

  14. Heinu Schütte

    April 28, 2010 at 11:46 am

    If she was sold to “West African Interests” it makes sense if they sent her to Richards Bay to house the Nigerian soccer team.

    Hopefully it’s perhaps…

  15. Brett Moore

    April 30, 2010 at 1:12 am

    She sailed from Richard’s Bay yesterday (29th April 2010) just before 18h00……….
    Anybody know where …….the breakers ?

  16. Brett Moore

    April 30, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Latest news according to the local ship’s agent in Richard’s Bay she sailed for a Chinese port – apparently a new buyer….

  17. Ken Malcolm

    April 30, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Having sailed from Richards Bay on 29-04, her next desination reported as Maputo, Mozambique.

  18. Peter Knego

    May 1, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Again, pure speculation since we have nothing firm from either Saga or the entity that is buying her, she is supposedly heading to Singapore after Maputo, then China for use as a gambling ship. Since most of the Chinese gambling ships are being retired, this doesn’t make much sense. Sounding more like she is going to the breakers in China like the SEAWIND CROWN did a few years ago under similar pretenses of becoming a gambling ship.

  19. Corey

    May 3, 2010 at 2:00 am

    Why are everyone so secretive . Why don’t people don’t straight out say hey we are scrapping her. Why hide the info ? Does anyone know if s.sunited states was sold for three million

  20. Donald

    May 13, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Does anyone have any further news? Has this beautiful ship just disappeared? Has she made Maputo?

  21. Gok Wan

    May 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Now at Jiangyin. There’s a scrapyard there!

  22. Peter Knego

    May 29, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Yes, we’ve been continuing this thread on the general scrap updates. Doesn’t look good for the ROSE.

  23. Ken Malcolm

    May 29, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    As she is close to Shanghai (last I saw), is it possible she could be used as an accommodation ship for the World Trade Expo?

  24. David Walker

    May 30, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Her last AIS position showed her well up river from Shanghai at the industrial city of Jiangyin, known for it’s scrap metal and ship breaking, a similar path taken by the Seawind Crown upon her demise as mentioned above by Peter . If she was being used for the World Expo wouldn’t she be docked in Shanghai and not 110 miles away? Wouldn’t there have been news of this somewhere? Also cruise ships typically dock near downtown at the cruise terminal actually in Shanghai which lies on the tributary river of Huangpu which brances off the main Chang River. Most indicators point to this being her final voyage to the scrapyard.

  25. Geo. Hale

    June 4, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    The Saga Rose is truely a beautiful ship. It is a darned shame if she is being sent off to the scrappers, which it appears she is. Its a tragedy, a bloody tragedy. I know all about SOLAS, but there must be an alternative to putting classy ships like the Saga Rose to the torch???

  26. LenKinap

    June 26, 2010 at 2:09 am


    Saga Rose has been officially quoted “To Be Broken Up” since 08-06-2010.

    Source: Equasis

    IMO number : 6416043
    Name of ship : SAGA ROSE (since 01-05-1997)
    Call Sign : C6ZU
    MMSI : 308264000
    Gross tonnage : 24528 (during 1998)
    DWT : 6353
    Type of ship : Passenger (Cruise) Ship (during 1965)
    Year of build : 1965
    Flag : Bahamas (before 1980)
    Status of ship : To Be Broken Up (since 08-06-2010)
    Last update : 15-06-2010
    Edit/Delete Message

  27. Aleksi Lindström

    August 3, 2010 at 1:47 am

    To sum up, the Greek shipbroker company Cotzias reported in their July 2010 marker review that the SAGA ROSE was sold for scrap to China in July 2010 for an undisclosed price.

  28. Harry Crossley

    August 8, 2010 at 3:09 am

    I made twp cruises on Saga Rose during 2009 and after may enquiries by me (and many others) there was no information forthcoming as to her actual destination upon her retirement, although it was admitted she was being taken out of service by the end of that year. She was- is? a beautiful ship unlike the many ugly vessels roaming the high seas today, just floating blocks of flats. Many people in the shipping world have been baffled by the secrecy surrounding her fate almost up to the present day. I wonder if the truth will out eventually as to why.

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