a BBC investigation accuses the former company Cruise and Maritime Voyages, which went into receivership last November.
“Two British cruise ships – says the BBC – were scrapped on an Indian beach.
Ships at the end of their life are considered hazardous waste and it is illegal to ship them from the UK to developing countries.
Months after being auctioned to buyers outside the UK, these ships were then sold as scrap for double the price.
The Marco Polo and Magellan were auctioned off in November after their owner, Cruise and Maritime Voyages , went into receivership.
An investigation by the File on 4 program found that at least 13 other ships, mostly merchant ships, linked to the UK have arrived on the scrapping beaches of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh since the beginning of 2020”.
The Marco Polo was built in the 1960s and was one of the last longest-running ocean cruise ships in the world. In 2021, UK passengers were expected to be transported to the Amazon and Norway, but his final journey was to Alang, India.
Alang’s breaking yards dominate a stretch of muddy beach in northwest India, listed as the largest ship graveyard in the world.
The vessel was bought at auction for around £ 2 million by offshore company Highseas Ltd.
After the sale, it was released from UK waters on the condition that it was used for ‘further trade’.
HighSeas Ltd initially said the cruise ship would be used as a floating hotel in Dubai . But two months after buying the Marco Polo, the ship was sold as scrap for around £ 4 million.
The director of HighSeas Ltd, Rishi Arggawal, said in an interview that “it was always the company’s intention to sell the Marco Polo to new owners, but unfortunately the intended buyers in Dubai refused to take delivery of the ship.”
It’s a similar story to that of the Magellan , which was to be used as a floating hotel in Liverpool for the Grand National 2021.
“The ship – says the BBC – was bought at auction by a Greek shipowner. Brokers say it was sold for scrapping after no new buyer was found ”.
Each year around 800 ships reach the end of their lives and have to be dismantled and recycled.
Although this work can be done in the UK and other EU approved shipbreaking yards, around 70% of the world’s ships end up on the beaches of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh because these yards offer much higher prices for scrap.
The Ship-breaking Platform organization has documented the deaths of over 400 workers on these beaches since 2009.
Fatal accidents have been reported due to workers falling from a height and gas explosions, as well as long-term illnesses from exposure to toxic materials such as asbestos .