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Death toll mounts at Bangladeshi ship-breaking yards

Campaigners against the breaking of ships in unsophisticated and often illegal yards in Bangladesh say they have recorded the worst quarter in terms of accidents on the beach at Chattogram. 

The Shipbreaking Platform NGO has previously reported seven separate incidents in which five workers were killed. Now it says there have been two more fatalities at separate yards. On 18 September, a 26-year-old man fell from the Oro Singa during cutting operations and on 29 September a falling iron plate on the Medan killed a 36-year-old.

Shipbreaking Platform says the Ora Singa was sold by an Indonesian company, Selebes Sarana, for more than US$ 9 million (EUR 7.7 million) in Batam, Indonesia. Before reaching Chattogram, the NGO claims, the vessel was reflagged to Comoros and renamed Singapura.

‘According to shipping databases, the cash buyer involved in the sale was GMS, one of the most well-known dealers of end-of-life ships,’ Shipbreaking Platform asserts. ‘GMS, which is behind a significant share of the total tonnage beached in the Indian subcontinent every year, praises itself as a sustainable leader of the sector. Yet, it keeps dealing with the worst ship-breaking destinations on the planet.’

GMS has also been linked to shipping practices which are currently being investigated by enforcement authorities in the UK and Iceland.

Recycling International has asked GMS to comment on the claims.

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