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Bangladesh’s dangerous shipbreaking yards claim two more lives

23 September, 2021In just a week, two more workers have been killed and three have been injured due to the deplorable lack of safety in Chittagong’s shipbreaking yards. IndustriALL affiliates BMF and BMCGTWF have repeatedly brought up the issue of health and safety with both Bangladesh’s government and the ship owners, but to no avail.

The safety crisis at Bangladesh’s shipbreaking yards continue. The fatal accidents that have taken place during a week in September shows the terrifying results of not addressing dangerous working conditions.

35-year old Md. Ali Najim was killed on 14 September when oxygen cylinders fell off a badly loaded truck at a shipbreaking yard in Kumira.

On 18 September, Liton Paul, 30, was cutting the upper portion of a ship at J L Shipbreaking in the Tentultal area, when he slipped. Without a safety belt he fell from a great height and was seriously injured. Liton Paul was taken to hospital, but declared dead on arrival.

And on 20 September, Babul, 22, Pias, 26 and Russel, 25, received severe burns when cutting a fuel tank at Marine/Mars Shipbreaking Yard in the Joramtal area. The tank had not been inspected by the relevant safety authorities to ensure that there were no chemical substances left and caught fire, injuring the three workers.

According to IndustriALL’s accident survey, at least ten shipbreaking workers have been killed and 23 have been injured in Bangladesh’s shipbreaking yards since January 2021. Most of the victims have been young, precarious workers without proper safety equipment.

Kan Matsuzaki, IndustriALL assistant general secretary, says:

“That many accidents in merely a week is shocking. The employers’ negligence continues. This is completely unacceptable and makes it all the more urgent that the government of Bangladesh take immediate steps to address the issue, including ratification of the Hong Kong Convention.”