A worker died at a Bangladeshi ship-breaking yard in Sitakunda Upazila in the Chittagong District, in the morning hours of January 19 as he was hit by an iron bar falling from a ship, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform confirmed to World Maritime News.
The deceased has been identified as a 50-year-old resident of Chauddagram upazila of Comilla, Md Ali Akkas.
The worker was employed on dismantling a ship at Asadi Steel Shipyard, Madam Bibir Hat, when the accident occurred.
NGO Shipbreaking Platform said that the body was sent to Chittagong Medical College Hospital.
“Unfortunately, this is a very common kind of accident: workers are often killed by falling iron rods, steel plates or other parts toppled from the vessels. The shipbreaking yards in Bangladesh cannot use cranes in the primary cutting zone of the vessels as they are beached and cut down on an intertidal mudflat. This working environment is highly hazardous and does not allow for the proper use of heavy lifting equipment,” Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of NGO Shipbreaking Platform, said.
“Moreover, workers mostly do not wear proper personal protective equipment – many are barefoot or only wear plastic sandals. However, nothing can save a worker when heavy steel parts crush down – this is very poor practice and has killed many workers in recent years,” NGO Shipbreaking Platform said.
According to the Ship Breaking Workers Trade Union Forum, 13 workers were killed in accidents in ship-breaking yards in Chittagong during 2015, while 7 were injured.
In the last six years, over 60 workers lost their lives and 125 sustained injuries in ship-breaking yards in Bangladesh.
Based on the 2015 documented figures from NGO Shipbreaking Platform, the number of incidents is much higher, namely, 15 deaths and 21 severe injuries were recorded in the Bangladeshi ship-breaking yards.
World Maritime News Staff