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Where Do Retired Ships Go?

Will it be scrapped? Or is it simply left to rust?

In addition, since ships require a lot of labor to construct, their value remains high even after retirement, provided that they are still seaworthy. It's because of this that most ships are given a fresh lease of life when they're retired from their original purpose of service. No matter what type of vessel it is—cruise liners, warships, or freighters—there is almost always a buyer. The sale of warships from World War II to other countries for use as naval vessels is a good example of this phenomenon.

Ships are Repurposed

In addition, many ancient cruise ships are passed down from one firm to another. They wind up being used for low-budget purposes or as overnight vehicle ferries, among other things. It's not uncommon for outdated spacecraft to be transformed into something else entirely. Some ancient commercial ships were converted into aircraft carriers in the first part of the 20th century, for example. In fact, several winds up permanently moored as hotels, meeting centers, or restaurants because they're effectively gigantic floating resorts.

One of the most famous examples is the old Cunard RMS Queen Mary retired in 1967 she now sits in Long Beach California and serves as a tourist attraction featuring restaurants, a museum, and a hotel. She is also occasionally used as a movie set such as in the 1972 disaster movie "The Poseidon Adventure".

Other ships have been converted into floating museums. As a result, warships such as the USS Yorktown, the HMS Belfast, and Brunel's SS Great Britain are now museums.

They may have been decommissioned, but they might still serve a purpose. Large ships can be sunk to create artificial reefs that can be utilized for target practice or as a submarine defense barrier. For Example, Scuba divers flock to Fiji to see the Salamanda, a once-proud cruise liner that was sunk and is now covered with anemones and coral.

Sold for Scrap

When a ship is no longer seaworthy, it can be sold for scrap. Despite the fact that they are no longer seaworthy, they may still be valuable as raw materials. When they are no longer useful to anyone, they are sold to scrap yards in places like India, Bangladesh, or Pakistan.


This is especially true for ships that are involved in catastrophic incidents, such as running aground and being unable to be recovered or towed safely. The cruise ship MS World Discoverer is a good example of a ship of this type. To prevent sinking, the captain was able to bring the ship into The Roderick Bay, where it was run aground to avoid hitting an uncharted rock off the Solomon Islands in 2000.

The ship was declared a total loss and has remained in Roderick Bay ever since. You can still find her rusting carcass there to this very day.

Perhaps, the saddest end for a ship is simply to be left to rust and fall apart and many famous ships have met this fate around the world.


The SS United States, a famous cruise ship, is a great example. In 1952, she broke the trans-Atlantic speed record, and she withdrew from racing in 1970. From 1970 to 1990 a succession of successive owners failed to make her viable and sold off what they could before abandoning her at the shipyard. The ship was eventually scrapped. Her body is currently submerged in the Delaware River in Philadelphia, where she was last seen. Olenya Bay in Russia and Nouadhibou Bay in Mauritania are two such ship graveyards across the world.

Many old warships, cargo vessels, and tugboats are left to rot in these locations.

A sad end to some of engineering's greatest feasts.

Source: Interesting Engineering

About the Writers:

Maina Zaina, Writer and a Virtual Assistant at AVCreativity Studio. She enjoys media entertainment and is an avid fan of "K-Wave". She loves her job because she is exposed to different types of entertainment. She also believes in the saying "If you want to be successful, don't seek success - seek competence, empowerment; do nothing short of the best that you can do" by Jaggi Vasudev

Pamela Elizabeth, Editor-in-Chief at AVCreativity Studio. Earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Secondary Education Major in English. She loves going on little adventures alongside reading good books. She is enthusiastic about her work and ensures that her clients receive the finest service possible.

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