NGO Shipbreaking Platform: 24 Deaths Recorded at Beaching Yards in South Asia

ShipbreakingImage Courtesy: NGO Shipbreaking Platform

So far this year, 24 deaths and 9 injuries were recorded at beaching yards in South Asia, NGO Shipbreaking Platform said citing data from its sources.

Between July and September, three workers lost their lives when breaking ships in Alang, India.

According to trade unions, a worker lost his life on August 27 while working at Shri Gaitam Ship Breaking yard, located on the beach of Alang, India. Four days later, two more workers died at Alang yard Honey Ship Breaking, owned by RKB Group, the platform said in a quarterly update.

“While cutting the cruise ship Ocean Gala, formerly known as MS Scandinavia and MS Island Escape, they both fell and died on the spot. In 2018, after spending several months laid up in Dubai Khalifa, the Ocean Gala sailed to Alang, where it was beached on April 4,” the quarterly report reads.

There have been no severe accidents reported in Bangladesh and Pakistan during the period, while there has been a significant decrease in scrapping activities in Chittagong, due to the monsoon season and increased pressure for safe working conditions from unions following the disastrous accident record of the first half of 2018.

In July a fire broke out in Gadani on the German-owned tanker ADA beached at plot 116. The rescue team evacuated all the workers from the ship and there were no casualties reported.

“Activities at Gadani continue to take place in breach of decent working and environmental standards. This type of incident could have been avoided if the ban on dismantling oil tankers, which was placed following a series of accidents in 2016 and 2017, had not been lifted in April 2018,” the platform said.

79 Ships Sold for Beaching

There were a total of 113 ships broken in the third quarter of 2018. Of these, 79 ships were sold to the beaches of South Asia for breaking.

US, Greek and Indian ship owners sold the most ships to South Asian yards with 10 vessels beached each, followed by German and Singaporean owners, data from the report shows.

NGO Shipbreaking Platform said that Norwegian ship owners continue to sell ships for scrapping in South Asia.

As informed, the eight ships sold in June by Nordic American Tankers for USD 80 million were beached. Three of these vessels ended up on the beach of Alang for breaking – five reached the beach of Chittagong.

“According to local sources in Bangladesh, the cutting operations of most of these ships have started without the required permission of the Department of Explosives and other relevant authorities. The Nordic Saturn was delivered to Bangladeshi SNT Shipbreaking Yard, where one worker died last December. The Nordic Jupiter and the Nordic Fighter were also bought by yards with a particularly poor track record,” the report said.

No ship had a European flag when it was beached

More than half of the ships sold to South Asia this quarter changed flag to grey- and black-listed flags of convenience. All ships sold to the Chittagong, Alang and Gadani yards pass via the hands of scrap-dealers, also known as cash-buyers.

“The high number of flag changes should induce serious concerns with regards to the effectiveness of legislation based on flag state jurisdiction only. These flags are not typically used during the operational life of ships and offer ‘last voyage registration’ discounts,” the platform concludes.

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