The activities at Pakistan’s Gadani shipbreaking yards are set to resume following an order by the High Court of Balochistan, NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s spokesperson said.
The order was made after the Pakistan Ship Breakers Association called on federal and provincial bodies to restart the activities.
“Closing yards for a short period of time is something that we have seen before, for instance in Bangladesh. No substantial improvements of health and safety standards have taken place in the last month since the blast. We are afraid that business will continue as usual until the next accident,” the spokesperson said.
The shipbreaking yards were closed following a series of explosions at a Gadani yard aboard the oil tanker Aces, reportedly caused by gas wielding processes undertaken during the dismantling work. The incident, which occurred on November 1, claimed over twenty lives while some 60 workers were injured.
According to NGO Shipbreaking Platform, tankers’ preferred final destination is Pakistan due to extremely weak ‘gas free for men entry’ and ‘gas free for hot work’ requirements.
“It is high time for Pakistan to significantly improve its breaking practices. The accident, which was the worst in the recent history of ship breaking, should ring the alarm bell for the Pakistani Government. They have been talking about shifting the industry away from the beaches to safe industrial platforms for a while now without taking any concrete step so far,” NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s spokesperson added.
World Maritime News Staff