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Worker dies at Bangladesh shipbreaking yard

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10 June, 2022One worker died and one was seriously injured while dismantling the tanks of ship at the Sagarika shipbreaking Yard in Chattogram, Bangladesh on 8 June.

Both worked as cutter men at the yard and were cutting the steel plate of a tank at the time of the accident. After cutting a section of the tank, the workers fell from a height of around eight metres along with the detached steel plate. Sadekul Islam Bulbul (37) was killed and Mohammed Harun (40) was rushed to hospital for treatment of his injuries. The workers had not been provided with safety harnesses, and the proper safety measures were not followed.

A. M. Nazimuddin, Bangladesh Metal Workers Federation (BMF) president, says:

“The wounds from the recent disaster in Sitakunda, where at least 49 people were killed and more than 450 others were injured, had not yet healed when news of another accident in the district arrived. This time it happened in a shipbreaking yard.

“The district has become a death trap, with migrant workers getting killed due to the hazardous working conditions and criminal negligence on the part of employers, who fail to maintain workplace safety. We demand full compensation for all workers killed in these accidents, as well as prompt and quality treatment for all injured workers."

IndustriALL Global Union affiliates BMF and the Bangladesh Metal, Chemical, Garment and Tailor Workers Federation (BMCGTWF) have continuously raised the issue of unsafe working conditions at the shipbreaking yards.
This year alone, there has been more than 20 accidents, five with a fatal outcome. There are around 100 shipbreaking yards in Bangladesh but only one has been issued a compliance certificate under the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships: PHP Shipbreaking and Recycling. But despite the certification, accidents have still occurred at the PHP yard, demonstrating a lack of effective workplace safety mechanisms.

IndustriALL sector director Walton Pantland said:

“Shipbreaking must be made safe and sustainable. The way to do this is to combine ratification of the Hong Kong Convention with strong unions that can ensure safety measures are followed properly.
“Employers and the government must act urgently take to prevent further accidents. The government of Bangladesh must ratify the Hong Kong Convention.”

Photo: Shipbreaking yard in Bangladesh