After a long campaign to bring the former KUNGSHOLM of 1966 (K4) to Sweden as a floating hotel and museum, the ship, now named VERONICA, has departed Duqm today under tow for scrapping at Alang.
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THE SANDS OF ALANG: The latest DVD about shipbreaking in Alang, India
MV KUNGSHOLM rendering. Peter Knego collection
Sadly, it appears that hope for saving the former MS KUNGSHOLM of 1966, which last served as the floating hotel VERONICA at Duqm, has finally faded away.
MV VERONICA at Duqm, Oman. Photo courtesy of Johnny Sid.
After much effort to have the ship returned to Sweden as a floating hotel or even much-needed temporary housing for Syrian refugees, the VERONICA departed Duqm today under tow of the MV KAMARINA for Alang, where she is expected in a few days. Short of some miraculous intervention from Swedish interests, the ship will be beached, stripped and cut down for scrap a few months short of her 50th birthday in April of 2016.
For the past two years, Finnish entrepreneur Johnny Sid has led a campaign to bring the former KUNGSHOLM to either Gothenburg or Stockholm but despite his valiant efforts, neither city could or would provide a berth.
Swedish American Line postcard of the “new” KUNGSHOLM. Peter Knego collection.
In her original configuration with two funnels, the KUNGSHOLM of 1966 is considered one of the most perfect-looking liners ever built. The fourth ship to bear the name, she was constructed for Swedish American Line (SAL) by the John Brown Shipyard at Clydebank, Scotland and her cost overruns are often cited as having led to the demise of the yard, which would go on to complete the QE2 a couple years later.
The KUNGSHOLM is shown in Flagship Cruises’ colors.
After SAL folded its passenger services in 1975, the KUNGSHOLM was purchased by Norwegian-owned Flagship Cruises. She continued in their cruise service until 1978, when purchased by P & O Cruises and rebuilt with her forward funnel cut down, her aft funnel heightened and her afterdecks expanded.
The SEA PRINCESS is shown arriving at San Diego. Image and copyright Peter Knego 1993.
Although her “perfect” profile was diminished, she was still an extraordinary ship and served P&O and their then Princess Cruises subsidiary well as the SEA PRINCESS and later as P&O’s VICTORIA.
I had the pleasure of taking VICTORIA on her final cruise from Southampton to Civitavecchia in 2003. With her beautiful wood paneled interiors, she was one of the very last ships of her kind operating for a major cruise line.
MV OCEANIC II at Rhodes. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2007.
VICTORIA would go on to sail as the MONA LISA, SCHOLARSHIP and OCEANIC II before being sold to Oman-based Daewoo Industries who transformed her into the floating hotel VERONICA at Duqm, where she opened in 2011. The hotel was closed in 2013 and the ship was finally put on the market in recent months, the only viable buyers, of course, being scrap merchants.
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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