Two UK cruise ships have been scrapped on an Indian beach, according to a BBC investigation.

An investigation by the File on 4 programme found that Marco Polo (pictured) and Magellan were sold at auction in November after their owner, Cruise and Maritime Voyages, went into administration last July.

The programme said ships at the end of their lives are considered hazardous waste and it is illegal to send them from the UK to developing countries.

“But months after being sold at auction to buyers outside the UK they were then sold on as scrap for double the price,” said the BBC report.

“As they were set to be used for further trading when they left UK waters, their arrival in India does not break UK law.”

Marco Polo was scheduled to take UK passengers to the Amazon and Norway this year, but its final voyage was the ship-breaking yards of Alang in India, referred to as ‘the world’s largest ship graveyard’, said the BBC.

It said the ship was bought at auction for about £2 million to be used as a floating hotel in Dubai. But two months later, it was sold as scrap for about £4 million.

The BBC said it is a similar story for Magellan, “which was meant to be used as a floating hotel in Liverpool for the 2021 Grand National”.

Shipping’s Dirty Secret is on BBC Radio 4 at 8pm on Tuesday (March 2) and later on BBC Sounds.