A fatal accident recently took place at the ship recycling yards of Aliağa, Turkey. On 12 July, two workers were onboard the cruise ship Carnival Inspiration when they were suddenly caught by flames.
ne worker died on the spot, while the other one succumbed due to severe burns three days later at a nearby hospital.
The exact circumstances of the accident are still unclear, but the fire supposedly broke out in the engine room. An investigation led by local authorities is ongoing and is expected to be finalised soon.
According to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, the demand for better scrapping practices than those available at the South Asian shipbreaking beaches has led to a sharp increase of larger tonnage reaching Aliağa. There, prices offered to ship owners are higher than what ship recycling facilities located in the EU are able to pay.
The heaping up of ships in Aliağa must not compromise OHS management. Cruise ships are notoriously complex structures full of compartments and potentially deadly hazards that require a skilled workforce and time to take apart. To reduce the current pressure on Aliağa, the EU needs to boost additional capacity in the EU in line with the European Green Deal. There are many ships to scrap in the coming years and those seeking sustainable solutions need more options
Ingvild Jenssen – Executive Director and Founder – NGO Shipbreaking Platform, stated.
In the last ten months, the Turkish ship recycling industry has been hit by other serious accidents. Two workers lost their lives at two separate yards that are included in the EU List of approved ship recycling facilities. These recent accidents have prompted increased concerns about the conditions in Aliağa, including the management of hazardous wastes downstream and the lack of transparency on occupational diseases that sicken the workers.
The causes of the accidents have sadly remained the same over the last 30 years. Workers, however, also fall sick and die of occupational diseases many years after being exposed to toxics. Cancer rates in Aliağa are much higher than the Turkish average. Yet, industry stakeholders continue to claim that there are no occupational diseases at the shipbreaking yards
concluded Asli Odman – Academic and Volunteer – Istanbul Health and Safety Labour Watch.