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Former P&O Australia Pacific Jewel to be scrapped and Pacific Dawn’s future appears uncertain?

November 3, 2020 Cruise News, Headline News No Comments

In another sad cruise story that did not come to fruition, back in August 2018, pre COVID-19 it you may recall that it appeared that a new national cruise industry was starting up, this time in India, which has a massive burgeoning middle class population with high disposable income and high interest levels in cruising.

The former P&O Australia ship Pacific Jewel, along with her sister ship, former P&O Australia ship Pacific Dawn, designed by world famous Italian architect Renzo Piano both originally Princess ships, was sold to Zen Cruises, a subsidiary of India’s Essel Group, with on 12 March 2019, she was delivered to the newly-formed Jalesh Cruises, receiving a six-week renovation to suit her Indian clientele.

On 19 April 2019, Pacific Jewel was renamed Karnika at a reportedly grand naming ceremony held at the Princess Dock of the Mumbai Port Trust, where she was christened by Shreyasi Punit Goenka, daughter-in-law of Essel and Zee TV chairman, Subhash Chandra.

Karnika was initially scheduled to homeport in Mumbai, operating cruises along the Indian coast, and in Dubai in summer 2019, before returning to Mumbai,  with Jalesh Cruises the first dedicated cruise line to offer cruises for the Indian domestic market and the plan was to secure more ships to drive an Indian cruise industry.

Sadly though Jalesh Cruises suspended operations on October 9 2020, as a result of COVID-19 and it is reported that NKD Maritime bought Karnika for US$ 11.65 million.

Reports are now circulating though that Karnika had actually been sold for scrap and while she is currently anchored off Mumbai, it is rumoured that she will be shortly taken to Alang in India where she will beached and scrapped later this year.

The future of her sister ship, former P&O Australia vessel Pacific Dawn, is rather less clear as I covered a while ago and you can read here, CLICK HERE with not Header: Former Pacific Jewel to be scrapped and former Pacific Dawn future uncertain?

In another sad story that did not come to fruition due to COVID-19, back in August 2018, pre COVID-19 it appeared that a new cruise industry was starting up, this time in India.

The former P&O Australia ship Pacific Jewel, along with her sister ship, former P&O Australia ship Pacific Dawn, designed by world famous Italian architect Renzo Piano, was sold to Zen Cruises, a subsidiary of Essel Group, with on 12 March 2019, she was delivered to the newly-formed Jalesh Cruises, receiving a six-week renovation to suit her Indian clientele.

On 19 April 2019, Pacific Jewel was renamed Karnika at her naming ceremony held at the Princess Dock of the Mumbai Port Trust, where she was christened by Shreyasi Punit Goenka, daughter-in-law of Essel and Zee TV chairman, Subhash Chandra.

Karnika was initially scheduled to homeport in Mumbai, operating cruises along the Indian coast, and in Dubai in summer 2019, before returning to Mumbai,  with Jalesh Cruises the first dedicated cruise line to offer cruises for the Indian domestic market and the plan was to secure more ships to drive an Indian cruise industry.

Sadly though Jalesh Cruises suspended operations on October 9 2020, as a result of COVID-19 and it is reported that NKD Maritime bought Karnika for US$ 11.65 million.

Reports are now circulating though that Karnika had actually been sold for scrap and while she is currently anchored off Mumbai, it is rumoured that she will be shortly taken to Alang in India where she will beached and scrapped later this year.

The future of her sister ship, former P&O Australia vessel Pacific Dawn, is rather less clear as I covered a while ago and you can read here, CLICK HERE with not much having changed.

Pacific Dawn left the P&O fleet in 2020 and was intended to be handed over to Cruise & Maritime Voyages CMV and renamed as Amy Johnson, but this never happened due to CMV going into administration.

Now, her unconfirmed “new owners” Ocean Builders claim to have bought her in October 2020, naming her Satoshi, after the presumed pseudonymous bitcoin developer Satoshi Nakamoto, claiming that from 2021 she will be a floating community, permanently anchored in the Gulf of Panama.

At the moment she remains berthed in Piraeus in Greece, and on her transponder is still called Pacific Dawn, with P&O Australia declining to comment about here ongoing ownership, but Ocean Builders claim to be auctioning their first 100 “cruise condos” from November 5, so please check out their web site CLICK HERE.

According to an article in Maritime Executive, Chad Elwartowski, COO of Ocean Builders and a key investor, the company is scheduled to take delivery of the cruise ship on November 4 in the Mediterranean and they are working with Columbia Cruise Services to take care of the management of the operations of the ship which will be renamed Satoshi. the name used for the smallest unit of bitcoin.

Marine Executive says that Elwartowski, an American bitcoin entrepreneur, is also known for being a pioneer in a movement called Seasteading, the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea outside the territory claimed by government. In 2019, he and his Thai girlfriend ran afoul of the Thai government which seized his floating home that had been 12 miles off the coast of Thailand. The government accused the couple of violating the country’s sovereignty.

They added that talking about his new project Elwartowski says, “We look forward to creating a hub for technology and innovation here in Panama.”  “Our goal is to figure out how to live sustainably on the sea and chart new waters in this new frontier.”

He says the goal is to be a technology incubator hub for entrepreneurs, expats, digital nomads, and cryptocurrency companies that want to test their technology in a controlled environment. In addition, to residents, Ocean Builders says vacation rentals will be made available on the ship and they will offer areas for research and office space.

Also being referred to as “The Crypto Cruise Ship,” Ocean Builders plans to begin auctioning of cabins on November 5, the day after they take ownership of the former Pacific Dawn. Starting with the staterooms on Deck 10, they plan to sell them in “a similar fashion to a condo.”

Marine Executive says that buyers will acquire full, indefinite ownership of their cabin paying a monthly fee to cover operating expenses and subject to condo-style rules.

The first sale is to consist of 200 cabins in auctions scheduled to run from November 5 to 28, tentatively being priced at between $25,000 and $50,000, with a total of 777 cabins available for a total occupancy of 2,020 people.

Marine Executive says that the plan is to offer cabins for sale one deck at a time moving down the ship’s decks as they sell out on one deck, with according to Elwartowski, “Our idea for families with children is to buy a balcony or ocean view room for the parents and purchase a cheaper interior room across the hall for the children.”  “We would like to think of your cabin as your bedroom while your living room is the rest of the ship.” People buying adjacent cabins would be permitted to add doors or join two cabins, “as long as there is no bulkhead between them.”

He says residents will also have access to all of the ship’s amenities ranging from the restaurants to bars, lounges, and casinos as well as the fitness center., with the commercial space operated by individual companies and Ocean Builders is hoping to attract business owners to operate those spaces while living aboard.

Residents will either pay as you go for services or Ocean Builders plan to offer meal plans, because the cabins will not be retrofitted into apartments with kitchens, residents will be eligible for a 20 percent discount at all the restaurants. In keeping with the crypto-spirit and technology incubator, they say they will accept bitcoin for all purchases on board.

Ocean Builders says they are taking advantage of the current downturn in the cruise industry to expand its operations in Panama. They report that they recently began construction on their residential community on the Caribbean side of Panama and they plan to use a portion of the ship’s former crew cabins to house employees as the company expands operations to the Pacific coast of Panama.

The Crypto Cruise Ship is being prepared to set sail from the Mediterranean and will anchor in the Gulf of Panama. It will be a 30-minute ferry ride from the ship to reach Panama City. Ship operations will be run by a spinoff company called Viva Vivas.

According to the current plan, the Satoshi would be available for residency early in 2021.

Wow, we shall just have to wait and see.

A report by John Alwyn-Jones

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