Just a month after Spain’s Pullmantur Cruises announced its insolvency, two of its cruise ships have arrived at the scrapyards of Turkey, victims of the global pandemic. The 32-year old Sovereign and her slightly younger sister ship, the Monarch, both of which had been popular and successful ships until the onset of the pandemic, were also historic cruise ships holding a significant place in the development of the modern cruise industry.
Introduced in 1988 as Royal Caribbean International’s Sovereign of the Seas, the 74,000 gross ton ship at the time was not only the largest purpose-built cruise ship but also the first of the new generation of mega cruise ships. She was nearly twice the size of Royal Caribbean’s previous cruise ships, and she ushered in a new era in cruising.
While many in the cruise industry had long believed in the economies of scale and the opportunities available with a big ship, in many ways it fell to the Sovereign of the Seas to become the proof of concept for the modern cruise industry. Eight years prior, Knut Kloster’s Norwegian Caribbean Lines (today Norwegian Cruise Line) had introduced the idea of the mega cruise ship converting the trans-Atlantic liner, the France, into the first mega cruise ship the Norway. She had instantly become the ship that everyone in cruising was talking about and the one everyone wanted to book for a cruise. Royal Caribbean responded by ordering its mega cruise ship from the famed Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in France, at the time the only shipbuilder with experience with building large passenger ships.
Whereas the structure of the Atlantic liner had placed some limits on the amenities the Norway could offer, Royal Caribbean building a new ship could incorporate the latest features making their cruise ship look like a modern hotel. Passengers embarked into a five-story atrium complete with glass-enclosed elevators. There were acres of outdoor deck spaces, two large pools, multiple bars, lounges, and dining rooms to appeal to the more than 2,600 passengers sailing on the Sovereign of the Seas.
The Sovereign of the Seas operated year-round seven-day cruises from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean and proved the potential of the large cruise ship. In the early 1990s, she would be joined by two sister ships, the Monarch of Seas and the Majesty of the Seas. The success of the Sovereign of the Seas would also launch multiple competitions in the cruise industry with Carnival Cruise Line responding with its own 70,000 gross ton cruise ship with an even taller interior atrium. While the Sovereign of the Seas did not have many of the amenities that are today popular in the cruise industry, she in many ways set in motion all that was to follow. Thirty years later, Royal Caribbean International would again be introducing the world’s largest cruise ships, but this time they were 228,000 gross tons, accommodating as many as 6,600 passengers.
Outclassed in the industry she had helped to create, the Sovereign of the Seas in 2008 transfer from Royal Caribbean to Pullmantur Cruises, which at the time Royal Caribbean owned and operated focusing on the Spanish-speaking market. Pullmantur refurbished the ship and with an onboard operation focused on the Spanish lifestyle now renamed Sovereign, she was equally as popular. Five years later she was joined by her sister ship which was renamed Monarch and together they helped Pullmantur grow its operations.
The sister ships had been laid up as the pandemic forced the suspension of the cruise industry. By June reports were surfacing that they were being stripped of valuable fittings and just days later Pullmantur announced it had filed for reorganization under Spain’s insolvency laws. Royal Caribbean, which continued to be an investor in Pullmantur took control of the ships, and immediately reports began to surface that they were destined for the scrapyard.
The Monarch dropped anchor in Aliaga Bay, Turkey near the “ship recyclers” on July 14. The Sovereign lingered briefly off Malta awaiting orders before also sailing east and arriving earlier this week off Turkey. The Sovereign sits out in the deeper waters off Aliaga waiting for her final orders while cruise ship aficionados and historians have taken to social media to mark the end of one of the most significant ships in the development of the modern cruise industry.
In June, a UK Royal Navy destroyer and Dutch Royal Navy ship safely moored in Odessa, Ukraine, were spoofed to locations off-shore of a Russian naval base on Crimea. One week later, it was a US Navy ship moored in the same port that was spoofed (above). These are interesting cases in several ways. First, how […]
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
The First DP2, Twin-Hulled SOV in the World, NB72 Groene Wind met the Sea on September 29. 2020 in Yalova, Turkey. The Groene Wind will be directly chartered to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy for the maintenance of the Rentel and Mermaid & Seastar (known as SeaMade) offshore wind farms in Belgium. This is the first DP2, […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
The naval forces of the US and Bahrain recently staged a joint force training exercise which showcased the interoperability between coalition warships operating I the Arabian Gulf. Coalition Task Force Sentinel executed combined exercise Sentinel Shield supporting Sentry and Sentinel patrols in the coalition’s area of operations. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]
Global commercial aviation charter company Albion Aviation Group is reporting that it is seeing a considerable uptake in its professional cargo broker training courses from the current global pandemic crisis and surge in charter demand. “We have completed a number webinar courses for a whole of host of companies, looking to manage their own cargo […]