Only in 2016, at least 19 shipbreaking workers were killed and another 11 severely injured in the Bangladesh shipbreaking yard. More than 600 German-owned ships have been sold for scrap in SouthEast Asia since 2008 due to insolvencies and financial problems claims NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
A worker named Shah Jahan was killed on December 04 on the spot at Arefin shipbreaking yard in Chittagong, Bangladesh, where German container ship “Viktoria Wulff” (IMO 9252101) is currently being dismantled on the beach, says NGO.
The 35-year old man, who was made to work without any safety measures, was struck on the head by a heavy iron piece.
German ship owner Wulff went bankrupt in August and the insolvency administrator is currently selling off the company’s remaining vessels.
The “Viktoria Wulff” became the youngest container ship to be sold for demolition at an age of only 10 years without a previous accident.
“The story of the ‘Viktoria Wulff’ is characteristic for the failed business practices of German KG ship owners as well as ship funds. Nearly 600 ships have been sold due to insolvencies and financial problems since 2008, many of which ended up on the South Asian beaches. The bill for the ship owners’ and investors’ greed for profit is paid by workers and the environment in destinations like Bangladesh, where ships end up without any consideration of the human and environmental costs”, says Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
Patrizia added: “It is a scandal that German liquidators, who are appointed by the courts, sell end-of-life ships to substandard breaking yards risking peoples’ lives through deals that are in clear breach of international and even domestic Bangladeshi law just to sort out the books for German ship owners”.
“Only in 2016, at least 19 shipbreaking workers were killed and another 11 severely injured in the Bangladesh yards. The accident rate remains shockingly high and is not coming down, despite the promises of the yard owners and cash buyers”, says Heidegger.
“The shipbreaking yards have to be moved away from the muddy beaches to clean and safe ship recycling facilities using quays and docks where cranes can be operated to safely move cut steel sections. Otherwise, the death count of beaching will not come to a halt”.