Lives at Risk
EU safety rules for recycling yards could save hundreds from injury and poisoning but pose dangers for south Asian economies.
Bangladeshi workers risk lives in shipbreaking yards
By John Vidal, The Guardian
When the rusty, old supertanker Lara 1 reached Bangladesh two weeks ago, the captain stoked up its engines for the last time and rammed it as far up the beach at Chittagong as possible. The 70-metre tall, 400-metre long iron colossus now squats in the mud in the Rising Steel ship breaking yard, waiting to be picked over by an army of young men risking their lives for little more than £1 a day.
The Lara 1 is one of the largest corpses in the world’s biggest graveyard of ships. A half-dismembered bulk carrier lies on one side, the remains of a European car ferry on the other.
Beyond it, stretched along 12 miles of what just a decade ago was a pristine sandy beach, ore carriers, container ships, gas tankers, cruise liners and cargo ships of every size and description are being dismantled by hand in 140 similar yards. Every year more than 250 redundant ships, many from Britain and Europe, come here to be broken up.
It will take gangs of oxyacetylene cutters nearly six months to dismember the 42,000-tonne Lara 1. In the first week, say its owners, oils, toxic sludges and other waste will be pumped out, parts of the bow and some bulkheads will be removed and the recycling will start. The cable, the steel, the generators, funnels, propellers, lifeboats, companionways, sinks, toilets, even the………[access full article]
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See also: Spare a Thought
Titled ”Iron Crows”, this 90 minute documentary examines the harsh conditions that workers in the Chittagong ship breaking yard in Bangladesh are subjected to. The average pay is US$2 a day and on average 20 workers die in the Chittagong yards every year while dismantling ships from all over the world.
The trailer is high-quality thus view the astounding scenes in full screen mode………………and spare a thought for the poor souls working there dismantling vessels that once serviced our requirements.
Access the video here
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