The story of one of the world’s most celebrated cruise ships, long since forgotten and disgraced, comes to a near-harrowing end.
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THE SANDS OF ALANG: Peter Knego’s new DVD about shipbreaking in Alang, India
At the end of her rope. The ex PACIFIC PRINCESS, shown at Genoa in May 2012, barely made it to the Turkish scrapyard at Aliaga, where she was beached on August 6. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2012.
Having finally left Genoa under tow on July 27 by the tug IZMIR BULL, ACIF (ex SEA VENTURE, PACIFIC PRINCESS, PACIFIC) began taking on water in the Aegean Sea shortly before being beached for scrapping at Aliaga on August 6. With a pronounced starboard list, the vessel was aided by two additional tugs and dragged into a position alongside ROCHDALE ONE (ex AYVAZOVSKY, CARINA, PRIMEXPRESS ISLAND) and near the torn remains of her onetime Princess Cruises fleetmate, ANTIC (ex FAIRSKY, SKY PRINCESS, PACIFIC SKY, SKY WONDER, ATLANTIC STAR). A few plots away, the last bits of VENUS (ex SOUTHWARD, SEAWING, PERLA, RIO) were being scraped off the beach.
The historic ACIF, built in Germany in 1971 as Flagship Cruises 20,636 gt SEA VENTURE, was sold to then P&O-owned Princess Cruises in 1975. As the PACIFIC PRINCESS, she rose to worldwide fame as the backdrop of the hit television series “The Love Boat” between 1977 and 1986. The ship is largely credited as the first to sport an atrium in the form of her stylish, double deck purser’s lobby, often featured on the television show, and helped transform cruising into the popular pastime it is today.
PACIFIC PRINCESS was sold to Spanish-based Pullmantur Cruises in 2002 and renamed PACIFIC. She last sailed for another Spanish operator, Quail Cruises, in 2008 before heading to Genoa’s San Giorgio del Porto shipyard for a major refit and overdue repairs to corroded steelwork. The project went awry and the owners walked away with half of the work yet to be done. In 2010, PACIFIC was listed for sale but there were no interested buyers. In 2012, a Turkish scrapper had to forfeit a 500,000 Euro deposit as he could not take delivery when local authorities demanded expensive hull repairs to be completed before allowing the ship to be towed. Repairs were subsequently made and some of the ship’s parts were salvaged for use on board twin sister, DISCOVERY (ex ISLAND VENTURE, ISLAND PRINCESS, HYUNDAI PUNGAK, PLATINUM), now sailing for Voyages of Discovery/Cruise and Maritime Voyages, which was refitted at the yard earlier this year.
Peter Knego spent a day documenting the PACIFIC at Genoa in May of 2012. Click here to see what PACIFIC was like in her final days.
Video from “Aşk Gemisi artık hurda” of former PACIFIC PRINCESS arriving at Aliaga, Turkey.
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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