Cruise ships are being dismantled and sold as scrap metal due to the coronavirus pandemic all but destroying the global cruise industry.

Earlier this month, aerial footage shot by drones showed workers stripping walls, windows, floors and railings from several vessels docked in Aliaga, a town 45 kilometres north of Izmir on Turkey’s west coast.

Three more ships are set to join five already being dismantled.

Chairman of a ship recycling industrialists’ association, Kamil Onal, said before the pandemic Turkey’s ship-breaking yards typically handled cargo and container ships.

“But after the pandemic, cruise ships changed course towards Aliaga in a very significant way,” he said.

The vessels have arrived for dismantling from Britain, Italy and the United States.

the hull of cruise ships docked together are ripped open as workers work to dismantle them
As many as 2,500 people work at the facility to dismantle ships.(Reuters: Umit Bektas)

Cruise ships were home to the some of the earliest clusters of COVID-19 as the pandemic spread globally early this year.

In February, the Australian Government had to evacuate more than 150 Australians stuck onboard the Diamond Princess off Japan.

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