30 September 2011

Call Of The Torch:

In the aftermath of SOLAS 2010, classic passenger ships have gone from endangered to practically extinct. Alang is still claiming what it can of the few that remain, including what is the probably the most important surviving ocean liner in the world (aside from the preserved QUEEN MARY in Long Beach and ROTTERDAM in Rotterdam).

Sources in Manila and India confirm that the 1952-built MS PHILIPPINES (ex AUGUSTUS) has left under tow for Alang. The ship was reportedly stripped of fittings and furnishings prior to departing her Manila moorings and is in an undisclosed location awaiting the arrival of a second tug for the 4,000 nautical mile journey to the breaker’s beach. The former AUGUSTUS, which was sold to her last owners in 1975, was berthed at the Manila Hotel and used as an occasional venue for weddings and parties between 1999 and 2011 but the venture was not a success and the historic ship was finally sold for scrapping earlier this year.

From above the saucer: MV DISCOVERY SUN outbound from Fort Lauderdale
Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2008.

Discovery Cruise Line’s DISCOVERY SUN (ex FREEPORT, FREEPORT I, CARIBE, SVEA STAR, CARIBE BREMEN, SCANDINAVIAN SUN, BALANGA QUEEN) was one of Miami’s pioneering “modern” cruise ships when she entered service as Bahama Cruise Line’s FREEPORT in 1968. Her futuristic, saucer-topped funnel was a trademark of designer Knud Hansen and used on a series of cruise ships and ferries that followed, including the 1974-built ODESSA (ex COPENHAGEN — scrapped at Alang in 2006/7). 

The ship wrapped up her final Ft. Lauderdale to Freeport day cruise on September 6 and has since sailed off to Freeport before embarking upon what will be a very long, eastbound journey. The mechanically-troubled, worn vessel’s next reported destination is Recife, which indicates she will be going via the Cape. She’s been sold to Dubai-based buyers but her ultimate destination is most likely the beach of Alang.

The recently-sold, still very rakish Canadian ferries JOSEPH AND CLARA SMALLWOOD (1989) and CARIBOU (1987) are also reportedly en route to Alang, having already transited Suez. Both ships are due at Bombay on October 5 (unless they stop at Alang first).

Source: Maritime Matters. By Peter Knego. 28 September 2011

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