Probing NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s Publication About Ship Dismantling Industry

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In this quarterly publication, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform informs about the shipbreaking industry in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. In total, 127 ships were dismantled worldwide from January until March 2024. 

Land Labor Exploitation 

A recent article in the Bangladeshi media newspaper The Daily Star sheds light on the pressing issue of environmental a land labor exploitation in Bangladesh’s shipbreaking industry. It underscores the lack of regulatory enforcement in the country, allowing ship owners, particularly from the Global North, and cash buyers to exploit the situation for their benefit. Concerns related to the use of “last-voyage packages” by ship owners and cash buyers when selling ships to South Asia as a way of disposing of toxic ships without proper scrutiny or accountability, and taking advantage of lax regulations in the country, were raised in the article. Despite the evident risks to workers and ecosystems posed by the shipbreaking industry in Chattogram and yard owners often ignoring existing regulations, little progress has been made in addressing these concerns. 

Moreover, the article points out that even though Bangladesh’s steel rerolling industry, which heavily relies on scrap steel from shipbreaking, contributes significantly to the economy, Bangladesh only receives 10% of its steel from this sector. Overall, the article highlights the urgent need for stricter regulatory measures and enforcement to protect workers’ rights and the environment from the adverse effects of the industry.

Workers Protest

On Friday 22 March, shipbreaking workers in Chattogram protested by forming a human chain to demand that yard owners pay wages and bonuses before Eid ul-Fitr, a Muslim celebration. The President of the Shipbreaking Workers Trade Union Forum, Tapan Dutta, said that the workers have been illegally deprived of their Eid bonuses for many years, despite the continuous protests. According to the Bangladesh Labour Code, shipbreaking workers are entitled to receive their bonuses, March salary, and partial salary for April by this time. The protestors told The Business Standard that “such bonuses are not mere gifts or favors from employers but are rights protected by the labor law.”. In general, shipbreaking workers’ salaries are not in compliance with the minimum wage approved by the government for the sector in 2018.

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Source: Safety4sea