Two men lost their lives and five other workers suffered severe burn injuries, after an explosion at the Chittagong shipbreaking area in the early morning hours of Wednesday.
At around 8:30 AM, a fire broke out onboard the crude oil tanker ‘Bunga Kelana 4’, beached at Mahinur Ship Breaking yard, also known as Premium Trade Corporation, according to data provided by NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
The flames spread from abandoned waste oil located close to the engine room where workers were torch-cutting steel parts.
One worker died instantly and another one was found dead several hours after the explosion.
Five other workers, aged 19-30, suffered severe burn injuries and are now being treated at the Chattogram Medical College Hospital. The condition of one of them is extremely critical.
Local sources report that several workers might still be missing.
Video footage from the accident shows barefoot workers without protective gear carrying the injured.
The conditions at Mahinur Ship Breaking are shocking and unfortunately telling of the overall appalling working conditions at the Bangladeshi shipbreaking yards. Workers are exposed to enormous risks because there is no infrastructure available on the beach to ensure safe working conditions and rapid emergency response.”
…stated Ingvild Jenssen – Executive Director and Founder – NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
The ship, owned by Malaysian shipping company AET Tankers, was beached at Mahinur Ship Breaking six months ago.
The explosion on the Bunga Kelana 4 follows another recent tragic event that took place in February, when two workers were killed by a fire onboard a tanker owned by Greek Polembros Shipping.
Dirty and dangerous shipbreaking in Bangladesh has been strongly criticized both by global NGOs for many years, with marine pollution, hazardous waste dumping and unsafe working conditions, as well as the illegal exploitation of child workers, being among the key areas of concern.
It is high time for the Bangladesh government to regulate their shipbreaking industry and put a halt to the systematic violations of national labour and environmental protection laws,
…added Ingvild Jenssen.