Fatal Accidents in Shipbreaking Yards:



Newspaper source: The daily Azadi published on 31. 05. 1998
Name of Ship: M T C Royal
Name of yard: Rahman Ship Breaking
Location: Shitalpur, Sitakundu, Chittagong

Date of incident     : 30.05. 1998
Date of investigation: 01.06.1998

Dead : 2 (two) labourers; address not mentioned in repot
           1) Abul Kalam
           2) Abdul Alim
Injury: Not mentioned

Cause of Explosion:
The labourers were cutting the steel plate of tank, which was not certified safe for hot work with flame cutter. Then suddenly an explosion occurred and two labourers died on the spot.


Newspaper source: The Daily Azadi of 6.6.1998.
Name of Ship: M T TESHER
Name of yard: Royal Steel Ship Breaking Yard
Location: Sitalpur, Sitakundu, Chittagong.

Date of incident     : 04.06. 1998
Date of investigation: 06.06.1998

Death:  2 labourers
           1). Md. Otahar, Fitter
               C/O Md. Kawsar Mollah
               Vill: Debi, P/O: Nest khola
               PS: Lohagora, District: Norail
           2). Alhaj, Fitter
               C/O: Md. Abdul Huq
               Vill: Char Madanpur Goshal ,
               P/O: Madergonj, District: Mymensing.

Injury:  Not mentioned

Cause of Explosion:
The fitters were working in the starboard tank. They were trapped under remains of 3rd center tank & died due to suffocation.

Source: Department of Explosives, Chittagong, Bangladesh


Newspaper source: The Daily Purbokon of 15.09.1999
Name of the ship: M T VETINA
Name of the yard:  Brothers Associates Ship Breaking Yard
Location: Madam Bibir Hat, Chairmanghata, Shitakundu, Chittagong.

Date of incident     : 14.09.1999

Date of investigation: 16.09.1999


Death: 9 (nine) labourers, names & address are not mentioned on report.
Injury: not mentioned

Cause of Explosion:
The labourers were involved in hot work on center tank plate when explosion took place.
9 labourers died on the spot.

The tank was not declared safe for hot work in the Gas Free certificate given by the Explosive Department.


Newspaper source: The Daily Purbo Kone of 18.10.1999.
Name of ship: M T MEGASUA
Name of yard: Mrs. Namreen ship breaking yard
Location: Sitalpure, Sitakundu, Chittagong.

Date of incident    : 17.10.1999.
Date of investigation: 19.10. 1999.

Death: 3 labourers
1)    Didar, Cutter man
2)    Zaman, Cutter helper 
3)    Mojibor, Cutter Helper

Cause of Explosion:
The labourers were cutting plate with flame cutter, suddenly they heard the sound of an explosion & saw fire around them everywhere. They became very much scared & jumped on toxic mixture of water in a tank which was full of carbon dioxide & no Oxygen, as a result the labourers died due to suffocation.

Human entry in to that tank was declared unsafe by the explosive department.


Newspaper Source – The Daily Prothom Alo of 01.06.2000
Name of the ship: T. T DENA
Name of the yard:  M/S Z N Enterprise
Location: Madam Bibir Hat, Shitalpur, Shitakundu, Chittagong.

Date of incident: 31.05.2000

Date of investigation: 02.06.2000


Death: 16 (sixteen) labourers, names & address are not mentioned on report.
Injury: Not mentioned

Cause of Explosion:
The labourers were busy in cutting the plate of center tank during the explosion.

The tank was not declared safe for hot work in the Gas Free certificate.

Note – Probably this incidence caused maximum number of casualties so far.


Newspaper source: The Daily Ittefaq of 17.06.2000
Name of the ship: not mentioned
Name of the yard:  M/S Khaza Ship Breaking
Location: Madam Bibir Hat Shitalpur, Shitakundu, Chittagong.


Death: 2 labourers, names & address are not mentioned
Injury: Some labourers, name & number are not mentioned 

Cause of Explosion:
During hot work on an unsafe declared tank in gas free certificate the explosion took place


Newspaper source: The Daily Azadi of 28.07.2000
Name of the ship: T. T. DINA
Name of the yard:  M/S ZN Enterprise
Location: Madam Bibir Hat, Shitakundu, Chittagong.

Date of incident: 27.07.2000
Date of investigation: 29.07.2000

Death: 2 (two) labourers, names & address are not mentioned on report.
Injury: not mentioned

Cause of Accident:
The labourers were climbing to hook the upper part of a half cut plate to pull it down. During the course of work they accidentally fall down on the extreme hot fresh cut plate. They were burn severely & ultimately died.


Newspaper Source:  The Daily Azadi published on 18.01.2001
Name of ship: M V ALLEGRA
Name of yard: M/S Ziri Subedar Steel re-rolling Mills Ship Breaking yard
Location: Sitalpur, Sitakundu, Chittagong

Date of incident: 15.01.2001.     
Date of investigation: 19.01. 2001

Death: 1 person, Md. Didarul Alam, Cutting helper
Injury: none

Causes of incident:
The labourer was doing hot work & accidentally fell inside the oil tank & died due to lack of oxygen

(Source: All above are from Department of Explosives, Chittagong, Bangladesh; Collected by Dr. Tridib Ghose)


Newspaper source: The Daily Ittefaq of 04.01.2002
Name of the yard:  Brothers Associates Ship Breaking Yard
Name of the ship: MT Maya
Location: Jamanabad, Shitakundu, Chittagong.

Date of incident:

Date of investigation:

Death: 3 labourers,
1. Azahar Mia, Cutterman
2. Rashed, Cutting Helper
3. Jashim, Cutting Helper

Injury: not mentioned

Cause of Explosion:
Explosion occurred during cutting of plate of the cargo tank with flame cutter.
Unfortunate labourers fall inside the tank from the top & burnt to death.

The tank was not declared safe for hot work in the Gas Free certificate


3 killed, 5 hurt in blast at Sitakunda scrapyard: Death tolls may rise

At least 3 people died and five others received burns injury, one critically, in a fire fed by a gas explosion during scrapping of an old ship at a shipbreaking yard at Sitakunda yesterday, police and local sources said.

Unconfirmed sources, however, put deaths in the accident at five. Local sources claimed that 'a few' workers have remained unaccounted for since then and that the death toll may rise.

The dead are -
     Fitting foreman Sekander, 40, of Tulatoli of Sitakunda, and
     Majnu, 27, of Mathbaria in Pirojpur and
     Kajal, 22, of Habiganj.

The injured were rushed to Chittagong Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) and the local health complex.

Critically injured Bidhan Das alias Bidhu, 33, of Guyanpanchak under Boirag union of Anwara in the district was admitted into the CMCH.

Scrapping of MV Ocean was going on at the shipyard, owned by ZN Enterprise at Madambibirhat under the upazila, at around 2:00pm when the incident happened, according to the police and witnesses.

Witnesses said that the workers were trapped inside the vessel after the explosion.

Fire brigade personnel and police aided by local people launched rescue operations after the blaze was doused at around 4:30pm.

They recovered charred bodies of the three and rescued the injured, sources said.

Bidhu told The Daily Star at CMCH yesterday evening that they were cutting an oil pipe of the vessel when the blast occurred. He could not say what happened later.

Police and fire service sources said the ship caught fire due to a gas explosion.
The vessel was brought for scrapping to the shipbreaking yard around six months ago and a part of it was already cut after its arrival. Scrapping resumed yesterday after it remained suspended for around 5 months, sources said.  

Source: The Daily Star. 10 November 2004

Record from explosive department about the incident above:

Newspaper source: The Daily Azadi of 10.11.2004
Name of the ship: M. T. PRASAD
Name of the yard:  M/S SN Corporation
Location: Bhatiary, Shitakundu, Chittagong.

Date of incident: 9.11.2004

Date of investigation: 11.11.2004


Death: 3 (three) labourers, names & address are not mentioned on report.
Injury: not mentioned

Cause of Explosions:

The labourers were doing hot work & trying to remove the generator from the ship. Fire spread all over the ship & an explosion took place.


Three shipbreaking workers die from gas poisoning:

Three workers died from inhaling poisonous gas trapped inside a scrap vessel at Sagorika shipbreaking yard in Sitakunda upazila under the district on Saturday night.

The dead are Siddique Ahmad, 40, son of Abdul Baten of Mymensing, Mohammad Kalam, 35, son of Munshi Mia of Barisal, and Mohammad Rafiq, 33, son of Abdul Wahab of Jamalpur.

Cutter Siddique got inside the scrap vessel MV Star but as he did not come out till 10:00pm, his fellow workers, Kalam and Rafiq, went to know his condition but all the three became victims of poisonous gas inhalation by 10:30pm, witnesses said.

Other workers recovered the bodies after the trapped gas was cleared out.

The bodies of the dead workers were sent to their village homes after autopsy.

Source: The Daily Star. 5 December 2005

Shipbreaking worker killed in accident:
Incident date: 18 September 2011

Chittagong, Sep 18: A worker was killed when a huge iron-plate fell on him at a shipbreaking yard at Kumira in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong in the early hours of Sunday.

Md Eskandar, 26 years, son of Salahuddin of Banshbaria of Sitakunda upazila, injured seriously when the heavy iron-plate fell on him, reports our Chittagong correspondent quoting Jahid Iqbal, director of the shipbreaking yard.

He was rushed to Chittagong Medical College Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries around 5:00am, the director added.

Eskandar along with other workers was dismantling a ship at Fortune Shipbreaking Yard around 12:15am.

Nur Mohammad, officer-in-charge of Sitakunda Police Station, confirmed the incident.

With this, 8 people have so far died in 5 separate accidents in 4 shipbreaking yards this year (2011).

4 workers were killed at Mak Corporation Shipbreaking Yard on January 18, one at Mahin Enterprise Shipbreaking Yard on March 15, one at Fortune Shipbreaking Yard on September 17 and one at Peninsula Super Ship Yard on August 20.

Source: The Daily Star. 18 September 2011

Bangladesh shipbreaking workers die after inhaling gas:
Incident date: 16 October 2012

4 Bangladeshi workers have died 2 two others are ill after inhaling toxic gas while dismantling a vessel at a shipbreaking yard, police say.

The workers were inside a scrapped vessel at a yard in the Chittagong region on Sunday evening.

Their deaths come just days after 2 other labourers were killed in a similar incident at another yard.

Environmentalists say Bangladesh has become a dumping ground for ageing ships with hazardous materials.

Vessels being dismantled often contain dangerous gases or asbestos. Many yards are poorly equipped and have inadequate safety standards, campaigners say.

"All 6 fell unconscious while working inside a compartment of a scrap vessel which was brought into the yard about a week ago," senior police official Nur Muhammad Bepari told the BBC from the town of Sitakunda.

The workers were rushed to Chittagong Medical College hospital on Sunday night but doctors declared 4 of them dead. The other 2 are still undergoing treatment.

"We are investigating and will be filing a case today. The relatives of those killed are not willing to register a complaint fearing that they will not get any compensation," Mr. Bepari said.

Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) Executive Director Syeda Rizwana Hasan said that shipbreaking yards continue to violate rules by "importing old ships without pre-cleaning and removing toxic gases".

"That's why accidents continue to happen," he said.

It is estimated that more than 80 workers have been killed and hundreds injured - mostly due to gas explosions on oil tankers they were breaking - since 2006.

The High Court in Dhaka earlier this year lifted a ban on the import of ships but ordered the owners to comply with strict environmental regulations.

A spokesman for the Bangladesh Ship Breaking Association said that they were investigating the latest incident, which "looked like an accident".

Shipbreakers say steel from recycled ships supplies around 60% of Bangladesh's total steel demands, while the $1.5bn ship scrap industry also provides jobs to thousands of people.

Source: BBC. By Anbarasan Ethirajan. 17 October 2011

Death of 4 - Probe begins - Shipbreaking yard in Chittagong fined, sued:

A day after the death of 4 workers from toxic gas at the Jiri Subedar Steel Re-rolling Mills of Sitakunda, the Department of Environment (DoE) yesterday fined it Tk 25 lakh for not having proper safety measures in its shipbreaking yard.

Local police the same day filed a case against 4 of its officials, including its owner Lokman Hakim, under the penal code. Others accused in the case, lodged by Sub-inspector Aminul Islam, are its Director Abu Sayed, shift-in-charge Md. Lokman and foreman Altaf Hossain.

Meanwhile, the government yesterday formed a 3-member investigation committee, headed by additional secretary of the industries ministry ABM Khorshed Alam, to look into the matter.

The probe body has 2 representatives -- from Bangladesh Marine Academy and 1 from the Bureau Veritas, Bangladesh -- and is given 7 days to submit a report.

The 4 labourers died and 2 others fell sick while dismantling scrap ship MV Bharata Bhum at the yard, adjacent to the mill, in Sonaichhari area of Sitakunda on Sunday.

A DoE team led by Director (Chittagong) Zafar Alam ordered the fines for cutting the old ship without permission from the government body, releasing toxic gas and not having precautionary measures in place, a DoE press release says.

The team found that the scrap ship had 61 cylinders, containing carbon dioxide gas, kept in its store-room carelessly. The statement also said the workers died due to toxic gas release when they were working in the ship.

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. 18 October 2011


Worker dies at shipbreaking yard in Chittagong:
Incident date: 28 February 2012

A young worker was killed at a Sitakunda shipbreaking yard allegedly after falling from a ship while working.

The deceased, identified as Mohammad Forkan, 22, was working as a cutter-helper at S Trading. One Mohammad Shafi owns the yard at Madambibir Hat in the upazila.

Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Sitakunda Police Station Nur Mohammad said Forkan fell down from a ship while working there in the afternoon and died on the spot.

None noticed the accident at that time. It was revealed when everyone was searching for Forkan while leaving the yard after completing work in the evening, said the OC quoting workers at the yard.

The body was sent to Chittagong Medical College morgue for an autopsy.

Source: The Daily Star. 29 February 2012

Death again at ship-scrap yard: Worker dies falling from scrap ship
Incident date: 2 May 2012

A worker died after being crushed by a ship's hydraulic door at a shipbreaking yard in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong yesterday morning.

The deceased, identified as Md Mansur Ali, 32, of Naogaon, was working at Seema Ship Breaking Yard located at Madambibir Hat in the upazila.

At about 10:20am, foreman Mansur tried to enter the ship's engine room through its heavy hydraulic door. As Mansur was entering the room, the opened door swung back crushing him against the ship's wall and killing him instantly, said Nur Mohammad, officer-in-charge of Sitakunda Police Station, quoting staff of the yard.

Another worker was killed in an accident at the same shipbreaking yard on February 28 this year.

At least 38 workers were killed and many others injured in accidents at shipbreaking yards in the last 44 months.

Most of these accidents have been attributed to lack of adequate safety precautions in shipbreaking yards and the country's apex court had on several occasions asked the government to frame rules and enforce them to ensure safety of the workers.

Though the shipbreaking sector has been declared an industry recently, the court's directive regarding the safety measures are yet to be implemented.

Source: The Daily Star. 3 May 2012

Worker dies at shipbreaking yard in Chittagong:
Incident date: 3 May 2012

A worker was killed when a huge iron plate fell on him at a shipbreaking yard in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong on Thursday (3 May).

The deceased was identified as Babu Mia, 22, of Naogaon, reports our Chittagong Correspondent.

Police said a huge steel plate fell on Babu when he along with other workers was dismantling a ship at Faizun shipyard around 7:30pm.

Babu was rushed to Chittagong Medical College and Hospital in a critical condition where he succumbed to his injuries around 8:00am.

Source: the daily star. 4 May 2012

16-Year-Old Boy Crushed to Death at Shipbreaking Yard in Bangladesh:
Incident Date: 17 July 2012

16-year-old Khorshed Alam was crushed to death at 3:30 am on July 17 when a huge metal plate fell on him.

This was Khorshed Alam’s first job.  He left school to help support his family.  He lied about his age, claiming he was 20 years old in order to be hired at the SRS shipbreaking yard in Chittagong, Bangladesh.  Supervisors always put the kids on the night shift, knowing no one will ever inspect the yards at night.

Sixteen-year-old Khorshed Alam worked a 12-hour shift, from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.  This is the season of the monsoon rains in Bangladesh.  There was constant driving rain and strong wind gusts.  Often the workers went barefoot walking in six inches or more of mud.

The senior “cutter man” was using his blow torch to cut apart a huge metal plate which had been dragged from the dismantled ship.  Khorshed was on the other side of metal plate.  It was 3:00 a.m. on July 17, when a heavy gust of wind toppled the iron slab, which fell on Khorshed, crushing him to death.  It took half an hour for his co-workers to finally lift the slab off his body. They raced him to the Chittagong Medical College Hospital, but he was declared dead on arrival.

Khorshed Alam was paid just 25 cents an hour, and $2.75 a day.  He and his co-workers toiled an 11-hour, all-night shift, doing one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, dismantling huge cargo ships with their bare hands.  The senior “cutter men,” who use their blow torches to cut apart the ships, earn just 40 cents an hour and $4.45 for the 11 hours of work.

Sixteen-year-old Khorshed Alam was so slight and young, that all the shipbreakers did everything they could to protect this child, but he was still killed.

Khorshed’s life was worth just $244, at least according to the owner of the SRS Shipbreaking Yard, Mr. Abdullah Al Mamun.  Mr. Mamun is the son of a local member of Bangladesh’s parliament, Mr. ABM Abul Qasem, who is himself a wealthy shipyard owner. Everything about this and other shipbreaking yards is blatantly illegal.  Under Bangladeshi law, no one under 18 years of age is permitted to work in unsafe or hazardous working conditions.  Nor are children allowed to work the night shift.  But that is exactly where the children are placed, on the night shift, when inspectors never visit the shipbreaking yards.

Workers at the SRS yard have no ID cards, no work contracts, no employment appointment letter.  It is as if these workers are hourly and daily contract laborers who have absolutely no benefits or legal rights.

The only thing the workers get from the shipyard owner is a pair of cheap gloves every 15 days.  The workers could use boots, but they never get them.  The drinking water in the yard is heavily polluted.  There is no place in the shipyard to eat.  A doctor is available for just four hours during the day shift.  There is no ambulance in the yard for workers who are badly injured and need to be raced to a hospital.

When the Daily Star newspaper in Bangladesh called Mr. Abdullah Al Mamum, the owner of the SRS Shipbreaking Yard, he responded that he knew nothing about the accident.  In fact he was in the capital of Dhaka and not in Chittagong.  He said “no one worked during such ungodly hours at his yard.”  If he were telling the truth, the 16-yrad-old boy would not be dead.

There are approximately 170 workers at the SRS Shipbreaking Yard which operates around the clock, with back to back day and night shifts.

The ship Khorshed and the other workers were cutting apart was the Kang Hua cargo ship (IMO 8128092) which was built in 1983 in Ulsan, South Korea, by Hyundai.  The 24,000-ton ship appears to have been owned by Dragon Wealth Shipping Ltd. in Fujian, China. 

Source: Global Lanour Rights. 19 July 2012

Worker killed in Chittagong shipbreaking yard:
Incident date: 12 September 2012

A shipbreaking worker was killed after falling from the ship at Bhatiary in Chittagong on Wednesday (12 September 2012) afternoon.

The deceased was identified as Ershadul Huq, of Kurigram.

Officer-in-Charge Samiul Alam of Sitakunda Police Station said Ershadul all of a sudden fell down to the platform while he was working at Sayed Steel Ship Breaking Yard around 4:30pm.

Critically injured Ershad was rushed to Chittagong Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead, the OC added.

This year, 8 such accidents have recurred in shipbreaking yards, in which eight people have died.

While last year, 11 workers had died in similar accidents, sources said.

Source: The Daily Star. 14 September 2012

Five labourers killed after blast in oil tanker at Alang:

Five labourers were today killed and two others seriously injured after a blast in an oil tanker at Alang shipbreaking yard in Bhavnagar, police said.

"Labourers were working on the tanker when the blast took place. Soon, the tanker caught fire that killed five labourers and their bodies were charred. Two persons, who were seriously injured in the incident, were admitted to a local hospital," Bhavnagar SP Mahendrasinh Pawar told PTI.

The cause of the blast was yet to be established and officials of the Forensic Science Laboratory had started their investigations, he said.

To a question regarding fire-safety measures on the tanker that was being broken down, Pawar said, "As of now, we have no idea whether the labourers had a safety kit with them or not.

"We also do not know about the fire-safety measures inside the oil tanker. But, if any criminal negligence is found on the part of the owner who had purchased the tanker, we will take necessary action," Pawar said.

The tanker was of Portuguese make and brought here by a local company.

The deceased have been identified as Hiralal Chaudhary (28), Ajay Chaudhary (22), Ram Prasad (35), Sanjay Yadav (28) and Subhash Yadav (28), all hailing from Uttar Pradesh, while the injured are Ram Chandra (25) and Dharmendra (37).

Alang, which is the largest shipbreaking yard in the world, has often generated controversy about poor working conditions and the impact of shipbreaking on the environment.  

Source: Business Standard. 6 October 2012

An explosion and subsequent fire on-board a beached tanker at the Alang-Sosiya Ship Recycling Yard in India killed five workers and severely injured two others on Saturday, according to Indian officials. The fire broke out at 12.45 pm on the 163-metre-long MT Union Brave, a tank-ship purchased recently by Bhavnagar-based Kiran Shipbreaking Co. for recycling. The vessel was beached at plot 82.

Witnesses said the fire appears to have broken out after workers used blow torches to cut open a compartment near the pump-room towards the rear part of the ship. Workers in other parts of the yard did much of the rescue work and cut open more parts to pull out their trapped co-workers. They apparently found two workers on a higher part of the ship and pulled them out, but could not enter deep enough to rescue five others who were trapped in the inferno. The fire was brought under control and emergency responses wrapped up around 6 pm, said a witness. More than half of the tank-ship had already been cut apart as part of the recycling process.

Source: officer of the watch. 7 October 2012

3 labourers die in accident at Gadani shipbreaking yard

At least 3 labourers were killed when heavy iron rubble fell on them from a ship’s deck in the Gadani shipbreaking yard, world’s third largest shipbreaking yard located at Balochistan coast.

Sources said that the incident occurred when heavy iron rubble fell on the labourers — busy in their work the breaking yard about 50 kilometres northwest of Karachi — killing three of them on the spot and injuring several others. “The labourers were immediately shifted to Karachi,” they added.

Fires and accidents are common in the yard where workers extract metals, steel pipes and valves, electricity cables, machinery from creaky ships.

Source: The News Tribe. By Asad Farooq. 19 October 2012

Worker dies at Chittagong shipbreaking yard:
Incident date: 18 October 2012
A worker died after falling from a ship at a shipbreaking yard at Sitakunda in Chittagong Thursday evening.
Yousuf Ali, 63, was pronounced dead at 7:50pm after he was admitted to Chittagong Medical College Hospital, reports our Chittagong correspondent.
The accident took place while Yousuf was working at Kadamrasul Ship Breaking Yard at Bhatiari Union.

Source: The daily Star. 18 October 2012


A worker has been killed and three others have been sustained burn injuries in a cylinder blast at a ship breaking yard at Shitalpur area of Sitakunda upazila in Chittagong district.

The deceased was identified as Md Iliash, 30, son of Sheikh Sagin Uddin, hailing from Ratanpur under Kaliganj upazila of Satkhira district, said Sub-Inspector (SI) Md Saifullah of Sitakunda police station.

The injured, Md Safiqul, 35, Julhas Uddin, 36, and Md Ismail, 36, were received primary treatment from the Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH), the SI added.

Quoting the witnesses, SI Saifullah said the incident took place at one SN Corporation, a ship breaking yard, in Dakkhin Sitalpur area under Sonaichari union of the upazila at around 9:30am on Tuesday.

A gas cylinder set off while Iliash was cutting the iron sheets inside the factory using the gas cylinder, leaving the four injured, said the SI.

The coworkers took the four at CMCH where the on duty doctors declared Iliash dead, said the SI.

Nayek Hamidur Rahman of CMCH police outpost said Iliash, who sustained critical burn injuries was announced dead after whisking off at the hospital.

A case was filed in this connection with Sitakunda police station, said SI Saifullah.

Source: Dhaka Tribune. 25 August 2015

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