Worker Dies at Bangladeshi Shipbreaking Yard

Image Courtesy: NGO Shipbreaking Yard

A worker died while dismantling German container ship Viktoria Wulff at Arefin shipbreaking yard in Chittagong, Bangladesh, on December 4, 2016, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform said.

The 35-year old Shah Jahan was struck on the head by a heavy iron piece.

In an attempt to hide the accident, the yard management kept the body of Shah Jahan inside the premises, but fellow workers and locals rushed to the site and started demonstrating, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform said. The body was consequently sent to the morgue of the Chittagong Medical College Hospital, the organization added.

In Bangladesh, fatal accidents in the shipbreaking industry remain very frequent, a situation that is widely known but largely ignored by the shipping industry.

The tragic event comes months after a fatality occurred at Bangladeshi shipbreaking yard K.R Ship Yard, killing one worker. The 30-year old man died after he was struck by a falling steel plate on August 29 while he was working under a large iron plate in the yard.

Earlier this year, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform released a report which showed that there was an increase in fatal accidents at demolition yards in Bangladesh as at least five shipbreaking workers had been killed and five more severely injured in only a month.

Only in 2016, at least 19 shipbreaking workers were killed and another 11 severely injured in the Bangladesh yards. The accident rate remains shockingly high and is not coming down, despite the promises of the yard owners and cash buyers,” Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, said.

The shipbreaking yards have to be moved away from the muddy beaches to clean and safe ship recycling facilities using quays and docks where cranes can be operated to safely move cut steel sections. Otherwise, the death count of beaching will not come to a halt,” Heidegger added.

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