MARITIME | Bangladesh’s ‘reckless’ breaking industry kills three

Safety at Sea International | 2010.10.11

BANGLADESH’S breaking sector was called “reckless” today in reaction to the deaths of three more workers.

Abul Kalam, 20, Mohammad Faruk, 30, and Abul Bashar, 35, were crushed to death on 9 October by a falling iron plate at the Madambibir Hat yard in Chittagong, Bangladesh, owned by Sima Steel; two other workers were seriously injured.

Syeda Rizwana Hasan, executive director of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, told Fairplay today: “There have been far too many shipbreaking incidents in the past few months. The sector desperately needs regulating to curb an industry that is being run in a hazardous and reckless way.”

About one-third of the world’s condemned ships are scrapped or beached at 100-plus breaking yards on a coastal stretch in the Bay of Bengal near Chittagong in Bangladesh’s southeast.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that any condemned, Bangladesh-bound ships must be certified as free of toxics by the environment department. The accident brought the death toll in the yards to 34 in 16 separate incidents at 16 yards in the past 18 months, said Hasan, who declared: “We need laws that ensure shipbreaking does not spoil the local environment and is not dangerous to the local labour force.”

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