24 November 2011

Bangladesh Shipbreaking: Lack of safety gears claim yet another

A worker of a Sitakunda shipbreaking yard in Chittagong died yesterday morning after falling into a 50-feet elevator shaft of a scrap ship. It is the 16th casualty of workers in the current year despite court's directions for taking proper safety measures.

Moinul Hossain, 28, son of Sabed Mia, from Manda upazila of Naogaon, was a worker of Jahanabad Shipbreakers, a yard of Prime Group in Kadam Rasul area of Jahanabad under the upazila.

Officer-in-Charge (OC) Nur Mohammad of Sitakunda Police Station confirmed the accident.

Moinul, working inside a scrap ship, slipped and fell into an elevator shaft around 11:30am, Tapan Datta, convenor of Ship Breaking Workers Trade Union Forum, told The Daily Star.

Seriously injured, Moinul was brought to Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) at 1:00pm where the doctors declared him dead.

One of his co-workers, preferring anonymity, said the lift was removed earlier and the space was empty. “It was quite dark there and there was no cautionary sign to pass the area,” he said.

With yesterday's accident, 16 workers have so far died in 8 separate accidents in 8 shipbreaking yards in Sitakunda this year. Of the deceased, 6 died in October due to toxic gas poisoning.

Shipbreaking yards in the coastal region have been conducting operations without adequate safeguards for years, disregarding repeated accidents and Supreme Court directives to ensure security of the workers' lives.

Source: The Daily Star. 22 November 2011

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