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Shipbreaking in Pakistan: 33 workers killed in three months

Pakistan – Five workers have been killed in yet another accident at a shipbreaking yard in Gadani, Pakistan, after a fire broke out on board the beached vessel Gazfountain owing to a ‘€˜chemical foam’€™ that should have been removed.

The incident follows an explosion in November last year at another Gadani yard involving an oil tanker beached for recycling and in which 27 workers were killed. Furthermore, a man died recently in an incident at another yard.

‘We wonder how many lives must be lost before the government cracks down on the appalling working conditions,’ comments Patrizia Heidegger, executive director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. ‘It is shameful for both the ship owner and the cash buyer to benefit from a situation in which workers’ lives are risked to maximise profits. We ask ship owners to ensure that their end-of-life ships are dismantled in clean and safe ship recycling facilities off the beach.’

After the November disaster, Pakistan’s government halted work at shipbreaking yards and several key industry figures were arrested. However, the yards were soon allowed to return to business.

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