An announcement has been made by local authorities that the death toll for the shipbreaking disaster in Gadani has been raised to 20, sparking international concern about shipbreaking yard safety.
According to GeoTV news, there have been at least four people suspected to be responsible for the fire, which was caused by multiple explosions on a tanker being dismantled by over 100 people.
The suspects include Chaudhry Ghafoor, Muhammad Hafeez, Contractor Jalal and Farooq Bangali. Only one suspect named Hafeez has been taken into police custody.
The day after PTI reported the death toll had reached 17, with 30 people still reported missing and over 50 seriously injured, the Indian Ministry of Shipping announced that it will be reviewing the safety of its shipbreaking workers.
The shipbreaking industry in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is growing, due to the low cost of labour and the high price of steel, however there is little to know concern for the safety of workers and serious injury and preventable death are extremely common.
The statement by the Indian Ministry of Shipping reads as follows:
“As part of its Coastal Community Development Programme under Sagarmala, the Ministry of Shipping has sanctioned Rupees 10 Crore as part of the first instalment to the Gujarat Maritime Board for capacity building and safety training of 20,000 workers involved in the ship recycling activities at Alanag- Sosiya recycling yard in Bhavnagar district in Gujarat. The total project cost is estimated to be Rupees 30 Crore over a period of 3 years.
“The initiative has been identified in the National Perspective Plan (NPP) of Sagarmala for the upliftment of the coastal community and aims to provide health and safety training to the skilled and semi-skilled workers which is required while performing their work at ship recycling yards.
“Due to the accident-prone nature of the ship breaking activity, Gujarat Maritime Board has been running an indigenous Safety Training and Labour Welfare Institute at Alang and has trained about 1.10 lakh labours over the last 12 years.”
Maersk has admitted duplicity in its handling of the scrapping of vessels on the Indian and Bangladeshi coast in 2014, having both publicised against it whilst also participating in and encouraging another company to partake in it.
Source: port technology. 03 Nov 2016