A series of accidents at Bangladesh’s shipbreaking beach killed five workers in August, drastically raising the annual death toll, NGO Shipbreaking Platform confirmed. Two workers also died in an accident earlier this month in Aliaga, Turkey.
The Platform said five workers died and three were seriously injured in seven separate accidents in Chattogram, Bangladesh (formerly called Chittagong) in August, as a result of explosions, falls from height, falling steel plates and exposure to toxic fumes during dismantling operations.
According to the Platform, the sequence of accidents not only demonstrates the lack of responsibility of shipping companies, which continue to sell their end-of-life vessels to be dismantled in knowingly dangerous conditions, but also the lack of action by the Bangladesh government to regulate the industry…..
“The Bangladeshi authorities must assume their responsibility to protect the rights of their citizens and ensure effective law enforcement,” said Sara Rita da Costa, project officer of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “Corporate profits can no longer be privileged at the expense of human lives. Urgent action must be taken against the industry at both national and international levels to stop the relentless violation of basic human rights and environmental laws on Chattogram’s beach…”
Meanwhile, in Aliaga, Turkey, two workers lost their lives earlier this month when a rope broke during dismantling operations at the Metas ship recycling yard, where another fatal accident killed two workers while working on a former Carnival cruise ship in July. Metas is owned by the EU-listed Ege Çelik ship recycling yard a few meters away.
“The death of the now four workers at the Metas ship recycling yard raises serious concerns that vital occupational safety measures have been neglected. Operations at the shipyard must stop immediately to allow for a full investigation and to prevent further accidents and loss of life,” said Ingvild Jenssen, Executive Director and Founder of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
The Shipbreaking NGO Platform’s second quarterly report shows that 258 ships were scrapped worldwide in the second quarter of 2021, of which 197 were sold to South Asian shipyards in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, where shipyards continue to use the controversial “beaching” method for dismantling end-of-life vessels. A further 204 ships were scrapped in the first quarter of 2021, of which 155 were sold to South Asian shipyards.