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And Away They Go…Updated, Again!

Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 by

The latest batch of classic cruise ship on their final, often unpredictable journeys to the scrappers.

MV PACIFIC (ex SEA VENTURE, PACIFIC PRINCESS) at Genoa in 2010.  Photo © Peter Knego 2010.

MV PACIFIC (ex SEA VENTURE, PACIFIC PRINCESS) at Genoa in 2010. Photo © Peter Knego 2010.

Click here to read about Peter Knego’s visit to the PACIFIC at Genoa in 2012

Keep up to date with Peter Knego on Twitter by clicking here

Peter Knego’s latest video about shipbreaking in Alang, THE SANDS OF ALANG

April 4, 2013 Update: PACIFIC remains in Genoa tied up in behind-the-scenes issues that could continue delaying her departure. Meanwhile, the 1971-built VENUS (ex SOUTHWARD, SEAWING, PERLA, RIO) departed under tow from Ashdod, Israel and arrived at Aliaga on Thursday, March 28. This came as a surprise to many as there were plans for a Turkish summer charter of the ship. This sad occasion marks the first member of the purpose-built trio of “wedge” ships for NCL to be scrapped. A full report from Aliaga will be coming soon.

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MV VENUS at Aliaga. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2013.

Also, ATLANTIC STAR (ex FAIRSKY, SKY PRINCESS, etc.) is due to arrive at Aliaga today. Apparently, her Indian owners resold the ship for scrap in Turkey.

Louis Cruises’ 1967-built CALYPSO (ex CANGURO VERDE) has also just arrived at Alang under the name CALY.

Update: Although due in Turkey this week, PACIFIC is still in Genoa as of midnight March 21/22, 2013. I (Peter) just flew over the shipyard and she is at the same berth she was at during my visit last May.

A sadly synchronous procession of vintage ships is once again off to the breakers. Finally, PACIFIC (ex PACIFIC PRINCESS) is due to leave moorings at Genoa and is expected at Aliaga, Turkey, this week. Three vintage Greek ferries will be joining her. Meanwhile, the long-laid up ATLANTIC STAR (ex FAIRSKY), the last major steam-powered cruise ship, has departed Marseilles under tow with destination “Suez” listed. It would appear the troubled ship is heading to Alang. She will be followed by Louis Cruises’ CALYPSO (ex CANGURO VERDE), which was sold last month to Argo Systems, the same entity that scrapped noteworthy ships like MARIANN VI (ex AUREOL), MARIANN 9 (ex PRINCIPE PERFEITO), EXPLORER (ex GENERAL W.P. RICHARDSON) and BIG RED BOAT II (ex EUGENIO C). Further, there are reports that the former Hurtigruten liner KONG OLAV, long laid up in Burma, will be heading to Alang after attempts to preserve her were finally abandoned.

48 Responses to And Away They Go…Updated, Again!

  1. Andreas Wahl

    March 21, 2013 at 11:54 am

    The last bits of living passenger ship history falling apart. I loved Fairsky, a modern version of the popular Fairsea and Fairwind. The second, crusing as “Albatros” in the 90s, was my absolute favourite of all liners I sailed on. It is a pity that a ship built in 1984 is destined for the breakers, but on the other hand, it is no surprise that no one wanted to invest in her re-engineering. She was the most beautiful passenger ship built in the 80s.
    In case of Pacific Princess, we were already prepared for loosing her, as there were notes in the past, that she would be scrapped. I hope, her sister stays with us for at least a few more years.
    Calypso was well known on the german market between 1994 and 1998 (the first period under that name) sailing for the german cruise operator Transocean Tours. This is one of the last remaining german operators of classic cruises, currently facing growing financial difficulties. After a nice list of beautiful ships including Marco Polo (Alexandr Pushkin), Arielle (Nordic Prince) and Astoria (Astor), there is only one ship left in the fleet – Astor (ex Fedor Dostojewski). I am boarding her next week in Lisbon.
    It is a pity that a small classic like Kong Olav does not receive a resting place for preservation. What is the status of Nordstjernen which finished her service last summer? Does she face the same fate?

  2. Shawn Dake

    March 21, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Really appreciate the updates Peter. It is sad, but not surprising to learn the final fate of the one-time PACIFIC PRINCESS. Extremely disappointing to hear that the former FAIRSKY will also likely end up on the beach. Despite her mechanical problems in recent years, this was a wonderful ship when built in 1984 and not only the last steamship but the last to be fully completed while Sitmar Cruises still existed. As the SKY PRINCESS I made her last voyage across the Pacific from San Francisco to Australia in 2000. I had hoped that her new owners, STX France shipyard at St. Nazaire, would re-engine her and give her a future as a mid-size ship available for charter, but it appears that is not to be. KONG OLAV was another petite beauty as well. The good ships I loved are now nearly all gone.

  3. Numbers65

    March 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I am so saddened by the news. Sitmar was my all time favorite cruise line and Fairwind, Fairsea, and Fairsky were all beautifully built as ships with a warmth and class that cruise lines todays don’t come close to. When you were on them you felt as if you were on a ship not a land resort. You could look over the rail and see water without being 14 decks up. You could swim and be surronded by royal blue and sea air on 3 sides. Farewell also to Pacific Princess. Farewell to an age that passed us by. I was really hoping Fairsky would reemerge so I could sail her again…

  4. Karina Robins

    March 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Spent most of my 10 years at sea either on the Sky Princess or the Pacific Princess – ‘happy happy days’. The stories that could be told ….! Farewell to both, how sad.

  5. TomDE

    March 21, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Although it was over 35 years and 75 sailings ago, my 14 day cruise on Pacific Princess from Los Angeles to Alaska still ranks among my top 10. In those day Princess was top rated and still had European style service in the dining room. I remember the fetucine Alfredo made tableside. The ship was a perfect size, and very comfortable, with friendly staff and great service.
    I also agree with the comments about Sitmar. I think Sitmar’s food and service were even better than Princess back then (1976-77) Then Princess swallowed up Sitmar and eventually became another mass market cruise line. I have never been on a ship that sailed as well as Fairwind with her deep ocean liner hull.
    You have to pay Oceania and above prices today to get anything like the ships and service that was so common in the 70’s. Progress???

  6. Steve

    March 22, 2013 at 6:55 am

    It’s a sad morning to wake up to this. All ships eventually get to this point, but I was Cruise Director on both Pacific Princes and Sky Princess (Fairsky) between 1991 – 1994.

    I met my wife on Sky Princess (Plumber …call 220!), and this year we celebrate our 21st wedding Anniversary, and we pay off our mortgage.

    Great memories (and not so great ones) from both vessels. God, those nights in the Pirate’s Cove!

  7. Rob

    March 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    What did the Pacific in was likely the partially complete renovation. Nobody wants to buy someone else’s unfinished project, be it an old car or an old ship, especially when the underlying structure is less than sound to begin with. Had Fairsky been re-engined 10 or 15 years ago, it would be sailing right now. The ship was young enough and valuable enough back then for that much work to have been worthwhile, today, closing in on 30 years old with maybe a 40-45 year maximum lifespan to begin with, it just doesn’t make financial sense. Especially not with the economy as bad as it is, particularly in the European markets where a smaller, balcony-less ship can still be somewhat competitive.

  8. Nelson Blanchfield

    March 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    So is it the same company from Turkey that paid the big deposit before that’s buying the Love boat?? If so there must of been some legal procedures going on? Too bad she is not going to be saved.

  9. Dan

    March 23, 2013 at 12:44 am

    @Rob: Imagine if the SS Oceanic, SS Norway, and SS Maxim Gorkiy were completely re-engined with diesels in the late 1970’s. I would think that all three would still be with us today.

  10. Peter Knego

    March 23, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Different breaker this time, apparently. Now, let’s see if they pay the full price…

  11. Mal

    March 23, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Having grown up with these ships….I have a few questions!
    Is there anywhere I can trace the history of some of these ships mentioned?
    When they go for scrap…are they still complete with the fittings?
    When laid up, are they self sufficient?
    Where are they……how can i track them on their final voyages?

    Sorry to be a pain…I know we are all busy…but having been on some of these ships and families emigrating to far flung places, a few of these names have been in our family history. Plus we never missed the love boat!

  12. Dirk Steffen

    March 23, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Click here


    and scroll down a bit to see ATLANTIC STAR depart under tow. She has been renamed ANTIC for her final voyage. This is so sad, I don’t know how to really describe it.

  13. Judy Snee

    March 23, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Met and married my husband whilst we both worked on the PP. Celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary this year. We were holding out hope someone would purchase her and turn her into a floating hotel/maritime museum as a salute to the real birth of the cruising industry.

  14. Andreas Wahl

    March 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Thank you for the link. The text claims that she is being towed to Jeddah to be converted into a floating hotel. Is there any other source claiming that she is not going for Alang?

    “mais sa destination finale serait Jeddah pour servir d’hôtel flottant”

  15. Kenenth Eden

    March 25, 2013 at 6:07 am

    When one of the ships we love has the bone yard as its final destination, it is a sad event for many people that for whatever the reason, becomes a sad occasion.

    The list that Peter has presented above is lengthy, and caps the end of another past era that can never be replaced.

    These grand old gals have had long careers. They have enjoyed years of sailing, with new owners or charteres, and hopefully thousands of passengers have enjoyed them. These old gals have seen many refits, redos and ports of call. Their lives at sea should be enviable.

    Much like aging actresses, once belles of the ball, beauties in their heyday, all comes to an end eventually. No amount of face lifting, new decor or refit will do. Gone are the roles of a top earner, no cameos, and no whistles from the dock wolves. It is time to let them go.

    What could be worse, lay-up rusting and rotting? A Norma Desmond end?

    Seems the ships did not get small, they got bigger.

  16. Dirk Steffen

    March 25, 2013 at 6:41 am

    I don’t believe that Floating hote stuff for a second. You miss a portside turn nd *oops* sit on an Indian beach.

    By the way, opposed to VERONICA ex-KUNGSHOLM, ATLANTIC STAR has way too many insides to be suitable as a Hotel. Lots of dead unusable spaces.

  17. Corey Abelove

    March 27, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Lets not forget the S.S. United States, which is reaching yet another crucial financial juncture. There are a few viable proposals to preserve her in a sustainable manner. Currently funding is needed to pay mooring, maintenance, and insurance fees.


  18. Nelson Blanchfield

    March 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    S S United States will soon be following the Love Boat on a one way trip. The Conservancy is going to find it very difficult to raise 80 grand per month for ship expenses? How much longer do we have to hear a plan is in the works?

  19. Peter Knego

    March 28, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Jeez, some of you are very tough. People give their all and then some to make a good thing happen and others sit back and disparage the effort. — Peter

  20. Kenenth Eden

    March 28, 2013 at 5:44 am

    It seeems that this is as good as any place for this…..

    There are some here that must put their two cents worth in for scrapping, if they deem a ship is not worth the salt water it once sailed on, too expensive —-there are a legion of reasons, it seems…..

    And, this new ship looks like a condo (do some of you actually know what a condo is? Not all are high rises with balconies). Would the GREAT EASTERN be the model of excellence to copy today?

    And my favorite, blame everything that can do and will go wrong on the shipyard…ever heard of human error?

    Can not blame the shipyard – well, blame the cruise line. Why not, land based CEO’s and COO’s surely must be to blame for what happens, right?

    Maybe sharing your experiences with the ships actually sailed in might help us cruise/shipaholics see why so much venomn is expelled by a few.

  21. Hank

    March 28, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I’m tired people disparaging the effort. I’ve been donating as much to the SSUSC as I can. And in case the plan to save the ship fails (Which I don’t make any predictions because the liner world is unpredictable enough), I have bought some furniture to remember it by. I swear though. I really think the SSUSC has put more heart and effort into this than a lot of people would have cared to. I read so man comments on the Huffington post saying sink that ship. And that was on a non-maritime news site. Now I come to a maritime news site to hear the same dumb thing. I highly doubt the naysayers have rallied behind this at all, and if they have, then shame on you for cutting down the organization that AT LEAST saved the ship long enough to see the 60th anniversary. Are you grateful for that? Is anybody grateful for that? It’s just the same as when somebody goes to the QUEEN MARY and tries to find something wrong so they can protest, an old carpet, a disrepaired floor, an old bathtub, etc. I wish those people would take a look at their own houses and see if there is anything broken. lest somebody comes to their door and protest about the indignities to their own house. You will find something wrong with every historical monument if you look hard enough. You fail to bother to notice that the managers of the QM have really been taking better care of her in the last few years. You just rant and rant and rant about the indignities. Lets hypothetically say that the QM was gone tomorrow. Would you have good memories, or did you spend your whole time bashing it and being miserable? Same with the KUNGSHOLM, and same with ATLANTIC. Just travel all around the world bashing ships, then if you wake up and realize they are gone, you feel bad because you never bothered to enjoy them. What is the point? I rarely, if ever get upset about something like this, but this makes me very upset. If the SSUS plan succeeds, are you going to be embarrassed for not doing more? If it fails, are you going to be embarrassed that you didn’t do enough? The ROTTERDAM was preserved against incredible odds (although the interiors were intact), did you bash that? The Netherlands, a tiny nation, saved a ship. What that shows is that they care more about their ships than people in the US do.

  22. Hank

    March 28, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Actually, scratch those last few sentences. I don’t feel they were very accurate. In fact, scratch the whole paragraph. WAY TOO emotional :(

  23. Corey Abelove

    March 28, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    It has been my experience that when it comes to scrap ships, or ones that may be scrapped, that there are trolls on the web looking to bait, and even threaten people who work towards preservation. I know this from my environmental activism work related to the former S.S. Independence. I was personally threatened with a lawsuit for “defaming the Indian shipbreaking industry”, while others that I worked with even received death threats. As gut wrenching as the scrapping of classic and/or historic ships can be, I do not begrudge all Indian ship recyclers, or ship recyclers in general for that matter. However, the fact remains that there is a lot of money to be made in the aforementioned industry. There are bad players out there, in many of the major centers of ship recycling. Some will do all that is possible, regardless of ethics.

  24. Clive Harvey

    March 29, 2013 at 3:04 am

    No, we should not “scratch those last few sentences” of Hank’s posting – it is in those that he comes right to the point. Rotterdam was saved because she was intact and to a very great extent unchanged from when she first entered service in 1959. She remained in service for almost 40 years so there are lots of people around who know what it was like to sail on her. People could see and could remember what was being saved. Rotterdam had only been in service for 10 years when the United States was withdrawn from service. While she remained wholly intact for many years after that there were few that got to see inside her then. A great part of what made up the excitement and glamour of the United States was misguidedly sold off and then, later still, virtually every last vestige of her interiors were gutted. So now, after all of these years, what people are seeing is a rusted, faded, gutted hulk of a once truly fabulous liner. We, liner enthusiasts, can look at her and easily restore the gleaming paintwork, the davits and the lifeboats. We have the brochures, the deck plans, the books (and some people even have some of the furniture and fittings) so in our imagination we can see her as she ought to be, as we’d like her to be. But I am sure that for the majority all that they can see is the rust and decay and they will wonder why anyone would want to save that old wreck and, more to the point, why they should donate their dollars to what looks like a totally lost cause. We feel saddened to remember that great chunks of the interiors of the Queen Mary were ripped out and discarded. Her grand former First Class public rooms look odd and off-balance because they have been stripped of their original furniture but at least with the Queen Mary there is something of the original there. Throw millions of dollars at the United States and save her and what have you got? A beautiful shell with nothing in it. Please, don’t give me the “oh but it’s a blank canvas stripped of all the asbestos” line again, I’m tired of hearing that one. Lots of empty space that gets turned into, shops, apartments, restaurants etc. But that would not be the United States, that would just be stuff created inside a space that long ago was once the United States.

  25. Kenenth Eden

    March 29, 2013 at 9:21 am

    The ghosting of the SS UNITED STATES is one of surreal images, interiors conjured up from imagination, since so few people alive today may actually have sailed her, and if there are indeed some, many today may not be up to sharing or, perhaps, are unaware of the effort to save the ship.

    Peter Knego has posted some beautiful interior pictures of the ship and should be seen by one and all, the curious and the dedicated.

    The interiors if strictly replicated for her museaum stint, if indeed there is one, would be quite awful I would think for todays tastes. Extensive use of fiberglass materials, no cotton, silks, and other natural fabrics graced her furnishings. Draperies were also fiberglass. Man made and synthetic fibers were very uncommon back in the early 1950’s. Yeah. nylon, banlon and rayon were around.

    Carpeting, I can not give a clue, except, perhaps much of her flooring was steel decking covered by linseed based linoleum, perhaps ugly, but by todays standards, quite green.

    Her very decks were steel, no teak, her pianos stainless steel, much metal, aluminum. Even the pencils were metal protraction ones.

    A total lack of wood and anything that could burn was forbidden on board. I often have wondered what sheets were made of, was polyester around then?

    Of course, these fittings could be copied using materials from todays world, and still give a look and feel of the BIG U’s interior design.

    OR—the ship could be of any look and reconstruction, if a suitable buyer so wishes.

    These are only things that are common knowledge, as available in books and from lectures by competent maritime historians, surely not mine.

    This ship is in desperate straights, in need of $500,000.00 to continue her dockage, the fees are around $80,000.00 per month. Time is going, the Wicked Witch of the Bone Yrad is holding the ruby sand-hour glass.


    Hank, your post is quite dear, keep thinking as you do, do not change a thing.

  26. Griff Carey

    March 29, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Great post, Clive.
    The SS UNITED STATES as an Ocean Liner is long gone.
    We still have an exterior shell, but no interiors, no working engine, no bridge, no money.

  27. Michael Ryan

    March 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Correction on your great comments on SSUS, Kenneth Eden:

    United States’ pianos weren’t made of stainless steel, but of a fireproofed mahogany… one of the concessions to wood WF Gibbs allowed on board the ship. Originally ordered in steel, Gibbs gave in when Steinway representatives offered to douse a sample of their ‘fireproof’ design in gasoline to test its merits!

  28. Corey Abelove

    March 31, 2013 at 2:21 am

    I wanted to add a little something regarding bad apple in the ship breaking business:


    Again, i’m not saying that all breakers are bad. But, there is a heavy criminal influence amongst them.

  29. Hank

    April 1, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Un-scratch everything. I like my post now!

  30. Nelson Blanchfield

    April 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I see nothing wrong with saving the SS United States. It’s the 80 grand per month in moorage fee’s that’s going to eventually do her in. Unless the new owner has a one thousand foot dock somewhere. I can’t see anyone wanting that kind of monthly overhead??

  31. dirk

    April 2, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Somewhere I read that the mv Pacific is on it’s way to Alang? Can you confirm that, Peter?

    Your’s sincerely,

    Dirk Janssen

  32. Peter Knego

    April 3, 2013 at 1:52 am

    She was on her way to Aliaga (not Alang, although they have expressed interest), but once again, she remains in Genoa. Something is going on with the authorities, who do not seem to want her to leave. Peter

  33. Hank

    April 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    The plan is to get the ship away from that dock. Somewhere in New York perhaps. They’ve raised $25,000 in the first few days.

  34. Joseph Sturges

    April 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    The economics of passenger ships dictate that no matter how well loved a ship is, if she’s beyond economic repair, or bringing her into compliance with SOLAS, she’s a goner. To think that PACIFIC PRINCESS is headed for the beach at Alang is hard to believe…but then I’m 65 and not 30 anymore. Peter, you do a splendid job of keep us up to date on ships all around our world. The thought that the General Richardson, after numerous names and iterations, is going under the breaker’s torch, definitely reminds me how many years have passed. the almighty buck rules the world, Amen. Thanks be to God that AMERICA (USL), my favorite ship, let the sea take her and missed the ignominy of the torch.

  35. alan dumelow

    April 4, 2013 at 5:16 am

    AND AWAY THEY GO…and more.
    Sad to report that “Venus” ex “Rio” ex MyShip “Seawing” arrived at Aliaga last Thursday 28th March. One by one, the 1st Generations are
    on their way out. Anyone want to wager on the next one? My bet’s on the “Ocean Star Pacific”.

  36. dirk

    April 4, 2013 at 7:52 am

  37. alan dumelow

    April 4, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Alan > Dirk: No, not “Pacific”…I mean “Ocean Star Pacific” sitting at Mazatlan for over a year with fire damage.

  38. D.

    April 4, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Where are my posts?


  39. Johnny

    April 5, 2013 at 4:06 am

    I am also glad the old girl America, decided it was her time and gave up the ghost. Much more dignified then being scrapped. SS America forever ♥.

  40. Bob and Julia Knowles

    April 24, 2013 at 1:33 am

    I spent two great years working as a bedroom steward on Pacific Princess – from 1978 to 1980. I met my wife of 31 years on board the ship and we now have two ‘grown up’ off spring. Julia nee’ Hines was an Assistant Purser or A/P. We are both very sad to see P.P. take a bow as she was a lovely ship and she will always stay very close to our hearts. Hello to anybody who remembers – us and we hope you are as happy as we are. Farewell old friend. Bob and Julia Knowles.

  41. Darren Simons

    April 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    A real shame, (Southward) I worked with some of the best entertainment staff out there in the 1990’s when she sailed as the Seawing for Airtours Sun Cruises. I guess the world of cruising has changed so much over the past decade with much bigger cruise ships, its about making as much onboard revenue as possible… Shame…

  42. Gavin Rashbrook

    April 28, 2013 at 8:08 am

    so sad to see the end of the poor old Seawing as was. We had a great time on board her back in 2004 the small ship feel cant be beaten in my eyes the atmosphere was great and the food was good. I look at these floating steel boxes these days and the appeal is not there . when looking for a cruise we always look at the ship size before booking and we find we are fast running out of smaller ships to sail on,R.I.P Southward,seawing ,Perla Rio Venus. Many names and Many Captains but many happy memories.

  43. Lasse K

    July 21, 2013 at 4:16 am

    She’s still in Genoa, seen in June:



    I hope she can find a new home…far too nice a vessel to end up on the beach :(

  44. Lasse K

    July 31, 2013 at 4:20 am

  45. Rob jenkins

    August 3, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Any new pics of the Atlantic Star (antic, sky princess, etc) from Aliaga? I sailed on her years ago as a crew member, very sad to see her end her life like this!

  46. alan dumelow

    August 4, 2013 at 2:11 am

    Rob: you REALLY don’t want to see the latest pics of Atlantic Star at Aliaga. They will have you in tears. Remember her as she was.

    Lasse: I am informed that Pacific is now, at last, en route to Aliaga, having extricated herself from the grips of Genoa’s legal
    and financial claims. At least parts of her live on aboard Discovery.

  47. Rob Jenkins

    August 13, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks Alan – My memories of her will last forever, but the pictures of her at the breakers have a dark magnetism for me – I want to look away, but cannot. Like I want to be there until the very end! I even tried emailing the ship breakers in Aliaga, to see if I could procure a small piece of my history, but alas, have received no response :-(

  48. Michael Dawson

    February 22, 2014 at 8:48 am

    I worked on Sky Princess right through till she was laid up as Atlantic star keeping the boilers going

    Have lots of photos including some cool ones with the sky wonder and atlantic star name visible at same time

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