Satoshi Floating Community on Former Cruise Ship Sold for Scrap

cruise ship sold for scrap
Concept image from marketing materials - Ocean Builders

Published Dec 19, 2020 4:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

Saying that they were unable to obtain insurance for the concept of a community living aboard a former cruise ship, the organizers of the project have sold the former P&O cruise ship, the Pacific Dawn, for scrap. Renamed the Satoshi, they had planned to anchor the 1991-built cruise ship full-time off Panama.

In an announcement sent to potential investors, Ocean Builder’s CEO Grant Romundt wrote, “We will not be able to proceed because of archaic big insurance companies that cannot adapt to innovative new ideas.” He said that no protection and indemnity insurance company will insure the Satoshi. Without insurance it cannot have a crew, which means the ship would lose its class rating and flag and any possibility of running any of the onboard businesses.

"Assuming it would be easy to get insurance to use the ship as a stationary residential cruise ship was incorrect,” wrote Romundt.

The Satoshi, which is currently sailing from Gibraltar, where it had been overhauled, to Panama was sold for scrap on December 18. The ship will reach Panama next week where it will fuel and be supplied before continuing to a scrapyard in India.

Ocean Builders, which is also developing “floating, off-grid seapod homes,” announced the launch of the former cruise ship community at the beginning of October and took delivery of the Pacific Dawn on November 5. The company had begun an auction process to sell the staterooms as residences saying it would become a technology and innovation hub for entrepreneurs, expats, digital nomads, and cryptocurrency companies that want to test their technology in a controlled environment. Besides the residences, Ocean Builders said vacation rentals would be made available on the ship and they were seeking businesses to run dining, entertainment, and other services aboard the ship. The plan was to anchor in the Gulf of Panama and start receiving the first residents as early as January 2021.

Built in 1991, at the time she entered service she was one of the largest cruise ships in the world. She had been ordered by the Vlasov Group for its Sitmar Cruises and was built by Fincantieri along with a sister ship. Before the ship was completed, Sitmar was acquired by P&O and merged into the California-based Princess Cruises. She entered service as the Regal Princess along with her sister ship the Crown Princess.

Beyond their size, the two ships were notable for their unique external style that was developed by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano. Responsible for many famous designs, including the Pompidou Center in Paris, Piano gave the ships a curved shape and a domed lounge above the bridge that was said to be inspired by a dolphin swimming through the water.

As the Regal Princess, she sailed for Princess Cruises till 2007 when she went to P&O Cruises Australia as the Pacific Dawn. She cruised in the South Pacific operating alongside her sister ship which joined her sailing from Australia starting in 2009 as the Pacific Jewel.

In an odd twist of fate, the sister ships will end their careers at the same time both on the beaches of Alang, India. The Pacific Jewel was sold and in 2019 became the Karnika sailing for the startup company Jalesh Cruises in India. Blaming the pandemic, Jalesh went out of business earlier this fall and the Karnika recently arrived in India to be scrapped.