Two workers lost their lives at the Chittagong shipbreaking yards in the last two weeks, bringing the total death toll this year to six workers, reports NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
On 6 May, 26-year-old Shahinoor died at Jamuna Shipbreaking yard. He fell from a great height when he was breaking the Hanjin Rome, which was the first vessel arrested after the collapse of one of the largest container ship companies last year – the Korean company Hanjin Shipping.
The Hanjin Rome was put up for auction by the High Court
in Singapore to be sold to the highest bidder early this year. Unsurprisingly, the highest bids for buying ships for scrap come from cash buyers that sell to the South Asian beaching yards who can offer higher steel prices with minimal disposal and labour costs and safeguards.
This is not the first time that courts, in deciding on bankruptcy cases, completely ignore the environmental and human repercussions of selling shipping assets to beaches, with the sole purpose of sorting out failed companies’ balance books. Deaths on the beaches have also been a direct consequence from bankruptcy cases in Germany, such as the sale of the King Justus to Alang and the Viktoria Wulff to Chittagong.
On 9 May, winch operator Ishaq
was smashed by the wire cable and died on the spot at KR Steel. This is the second fatal accident this year at the plot – another fatal accident happened in February at BBC Shipbreaking yard which is under the same ownership as KR Steel.
According to local sources, KR Steel was dismantling the vessels Sea Zenith and Kota Wisata when Ishaq was killed. The former was owned by the Thai shipping group Sang Thai & Sinsimon.
The latter was owned by Singapore-based Pacific International Lines
(PIL), one of the top containership operators in the world. PIL sent nine end-of-life vessels to the beaches of South Asia in the last four years. Six ended up in the worst yards on the shores of Chittagong.