216 shipbreaking workers die in 15yrs: YPSA

Staff Correspondent . Chattogram | Published at 01:41am on December 11, 2020

At least 216 workers died in workplace accidents in the country’s ship breaking yards in last 15 years, while at least seven workers died in the yards last year.

The number of deaths and serious injuries cannot be reduced unless the government take stern actions, said rights activists at the launch of a report on workplace casualties in ship breaking yards in Chattogram on Thursday.

The report was lunched at a press conference titled ‘ensure safety rights in ship breaking sector’ organised by Young Power in Social Action at Chattogram Press Club marking the International Human Rights Day.

The report also said that the poor use of safety equipment and the lack of safety training of workers and employers were two major reasons behind the caualty.

YPSA coordinator Mohamamd Ali Shahin said that in the country there is only one green ship breaking yard though the number of green ship breaking yards had multiplied in India in recent years.

‘Though in our country some yards are trying to modernise their yards, workers’ deaths continue which is the main hurdle of this sector. It hampers the image of ship breaking sector in international arena,’ he added.

After analysing yard accidents over the years, it has been found that workers mostly die from explosions, after coming into contact with toxic materials from ships, inhaling dangerous substances like carbon monoxide or falling from dizzying heights with no safety harness, he said.

YPSA senior programme officer Omar Shahed Hero,  ELMA executive director Jesmin Sultana Paru, Sangshaptak executive director Liton Chowdhjury, Swapnil Bangladesh Foundation executive director Ali Sikder were also present at the press conference.

Later, the activists also lit candles in front of Chattogram Press Club to commemorate the workers, who have died in ship breaking yards of Bangladesh.