All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 1998, 2013 unless otherwise noted.
Sources at the Istanbul Teknik University have shared with MaritimeMatters that the 1955-built MV AKDENIZ, which has served as a student training ship at the Tuzla-based campus since 1997, is currently being prepared for disposal. The ship is due to depart within the next two weeks for the shipbreakers’ yard of Aliaga, where she will be demolished.
Named for the Aegean Sea, AKDENIZ was built at the AG Weser shipyard in Bremen for Turkish Maritime Line’s Istanbul and Izmir to Black Sea service. She and her sister KARADENIZ, which was scrapped in 1987, were the largest, grandest Turkish passenger ships of their day. Their interiors were fitted with beautiful hardwoods and the unique, hand-wrought craftsmanship typical of the mid-20th Century era.
In her latter active years, the AKDENIZ enjoyed charter cruise service with German-based Phoenix Seereisen before stringent new SOLAS standards forced her retirement in 1997, when she was officially handed over to ITU for use as a training ship.
Too large and difficult to maintain for official training purposes, she has occasionally served as a classroom and dormitory. In recent years, attempts to find a new role for the ship as a floating hotel and/or museum have yielded no takers.
According to our source, one of her masts may be removed and preserved on the campus. The AKDENIZ is among the last largely original classic ocean liners left and her demolition will be a sad blow to all who appreciate the ships, marine architecture and decor of the mid-1950s era.
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."