Bangladesh is the top dumping location for discarded ships globally, with the country scrapping the highest number of ships in the first half of the 2019, according to a report from the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
Namely, the report highlights that from the total 374 ships that were broken in the first half of 2019, 156 were broken in Bangladesh, leading to significant damages to both human health and the environment.
In fact, the number of ships broken in the first half of 2019 has increased by 67.74%, from 93 vessels last year.
What is more, between April and June, the Platform recorded three accidents that killed at least five workers on the beach of Chittagong, Bangladesh, bringing the total death-toll of the shipbreaking industry this year to at least eight workers.
In the early morning of 15 May, a fire broke out onboard the vessel Bunga Kelana 4, beached at Mahinur Ship Breaking yard, in the Chittagong shipbreaking area. Two workers were killed and four other workers suffered severe burn injuries.
Platform member organisation OSHE reported that the death of another worker was covered up in the same yard, just a few days before the tragic event. On 20 May, Md Manik died when electrocuted at Bathiari Steel. He had been tasked with the illegal construction of barge.
At least another six workers were severely injured at the Bangladeshi shipbreaking yards last quarter. Two were injured when a fire broke out on the bulk carrier ‘Compromise’ on 28 May.
All ships sold to the Chittagong, Alang and Gadani yards pass via the hands of scrap-dealers, also known as cash buyers, that most often re-register and re-flag the vessels on their final voyage typically to grey- and black-listed flags of convenience, as Comoros, Niue, Palau and St. Kitts and Nevis.
These flags are not typically used during the operational life of ships and offer ‘last voyage registration’ discounts. They are grey- and black-listed due to their poor implementation of international maritime law.
Clearly, more efforts are needed to ensure proper enforcement of current legislation on ship recycling as highest profit seems to be the only decisive factor most ship owners take into account when selling their vessels for breaking
…the Platform concluded.