The scrapping of old cruise ships continues full steam ahead as it became clear today another iconic cruise ship will be scrapped in the coming weeks and months.
With fuel prices at an all-time high, available crew in short supply, and the world entering a worrying financial period, many cruise ship owners are taking the step to sell their ships as scrap metal.
On Saturday, the former Fred Olsen Cruise Line ship Black Watch was beached at the shipbreaking yard in Alang, India. However, her arrival here is not to the liking of her former owners.
A sales contract clause called for the green scrapping of the vessel once it reached the end of its life—something which in Alang is questionable at best.
Black Watch Beached In Alang
After the High Court of Gujarat lifted the arrest warrant that Fred Olsen Cruise Line placed on the Black Watch, or Odin as she has been named recently, the iconic cruise ship was beached at the shipbreaking yard in Alang, India.
So comes to an end an illustrious history for a cruise ship that has been synonymous with the elegance and history of cruising.
Built by Royal Viking Line as Royal Viking Star, she entered service in 1972 as the first ship sailing for the world-famous cruise line. Her sister ships, the Royal Viking Sea and Royal Viking Sky, were scrapped in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
From 1972 through 1991, the 28,600 gross ton Royal Viking Star sailed for her original owners, after which she was transferred to Norwegian Cruise Line, where she sailed under the name Westward between 1992 and 1994.
After a short two year stint as Star Odyssey, she sailed the next 26 years for Fred Olsen Cruise Line as Black Watch.
On August 21, 2020, Fred Olsen sold Black Watch to a Turkish buyer intending to use her as an accommodation ship for workers. However, it seems that the sales contract was not handled as Fred Olsen would have liked.
Fred Olsen Loses Court Cases To Halt Beaching of Black Watch
During the sale of Black Watch, Fred Olsen Cruise Line negotiated with the Turkish buyers that the vessel would be scrapped with care for the environment. This included being scrapped according to the Hong Kong Convention at a certified Turkish ship recycling plant.
However, the vessel has changed hands several times since then, primarily through shell companies and cash buyers. The cruise line responded to Tradewinds:
“We have taken steps behind the scenes to enforce the terms of the sale in 2020 to Turkish buyers, which requires the vessel to be recycled at the end of her trading life in accordance with the Hong Kong Convention at a fully certified Turkish ship recycling facility able to perform proper green ship recycling.”
“While we do not have a full picture of what has happened to the vessel since the sale, we understand that the vessel has since changed hands. Unfortunately, we have not received a full picture from the Turkish buyers.”
Despite the best efforts of Fred Olsen, on Saturday a judge in India lifted the arrest warrant the vessel was under since the start of June 2022. As soon as the arrest warrant was lifted, the new owners beached the ship at the Alang-based shipbreaking yard, GGSBY Industries.
The beaching of Black Watch follows several other ships which sailed to their final destination in the last few weeks, including the former Holland America Line cruise ship Westerdam and a former Norwegian Cruise Line ship.