Tag Archives: safety

Bangladesh shipbreaking sector sees highest quarterly death toll

What happens to ships that nobody wants anymore?

The lifetime of a ship is roughly 20 years, before it is no longer economical to repair it. And technology advances may make a ship obsolete before that. So when no one wants it, what happens?

Used ships are sold to salvage brokers, who arrange for them to be disposed of for the value of steel they contain. As you probably know, used steel is an important additive to make new steel. And some of the plates and members have some use in other projects. Shipbreakers take on theships from the brokers, and cut them up.

In the US and EU, this is done in dry docks, with careful supervision. But another way to do it is to drive the ship onshore in Bangladesh, where a horde of workers armed with torches and so on cuts it up. Accidents are likely to happen.

Last quarter lots of accidents happened. Read the article.

The NGO tracking the deaths thinks the ship broker shold stop dealing with Bangladeshi operations that are not properly regulated. Perhaps that broker should be boycotted by those selling ships.

Another view is that Bangladesh is a poor country and this type of operation provides work and income for people who otherwise would have no jobs. But that doesn’t make the job safe.

Adis Ajdin October 7, 2021

Bangladesh shipbreaking sector sees highest quarterly death toll – Splash247