The realities of life inside one of the world's most dangerous jobs has been laid bare.
For decades, ship-breaking has been has been seen as a controversial industry.
Giant cruise ships at their end of their lifespan – as well as large sea vessels – are sent to countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey or India to be systematically torn apart and sold for scrap.
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But the industry is largely unregulated and sees, on average, one person seriously injured every day while one person dies every single week.
And while information about pay varies, it is commonly agreed that it is below what anyone would call a decent wage.
Investigative reporter Perter Hornung recently reported that a yard in Alang, Gujarat, India, saw one die and two injured while dismantling a vessel belonging to Norwegian company BW Offshore.
The incident happened when a “pressurised unit was cut contrary to regulations”.
And, according to news.com.au, Glenn Thompson, the assistant national secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Union, visited the Chittagong scrapyard in Bangladesh in 2015.
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He said: “There is just crap laying everywhere.
“Workers without basic protective gear.
“No gloves or shoes despite dealing with deadly chemicals and gas.
“Men working with oxy acetylene torches high on the superstructure of hulks with no safety barriers to stop them slipping and falling.
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“I was picking off lumps of asbestos.”
According to the Shipbreaking Platform NGO, at least 10 workers lost their lives when breaking apart vessels on the beach of Chattogram, Bangladesh, and another 33 were severely injured in 2022.
Local sources also reported three deaths in Alang, India, and three injuries in Gadani, Pakistan.
They also shed further light on the shear size of the ship-breaking operation, as they found that 443 ocean-going commercial ships and floating offshore units were sold to the scrap yards in 2022.
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Of these, 292 of the largest tankers, bulkers, floating platforms, cargo and passenger ships ended up on the beaches of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, amounting to more than 80% of the gross tonnage dismantled globally.
Executive director and founder of the NGO Ingvild Jenssen said: “We have been witnessing this environmental and human rights scandal for too long.
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“All ship owners are aware of the dire situation at the beaching yards and the lack of capacity to safely handle the many toxic materials onboard vessels.
“Yet, with the help of scrap dealers, the vast majority choose to scrap their end-of-life fleet in South Asia as that is where they can make the highest profits.”
And a BBC investigation in 2021 found that 13 ships from the UK were sent to the death trap yards.
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