Turkey’s ship recycling sector has been coming to terms with two recent fatal incidents at Aliaga on the country’s west coast, the latest of which occurred at the Simsekler yard. Simsekler currently scraps redundant cruise vessels and a feature article on its activity is in the January/February issue of Recycling International.
‘What happened is very tragic,’ company owner Orbay Simsek tells Recycling International on the phone from Turkey. ‘On 4 February, one of our workers was torch-cutting a piece of steel. After he finished his final cutting point, he did not move aside and a piece of steel fell on him. We responded as quickly as possible to take our heavily injured worker to hospital but sadly, despite all the efforts, he lost his life.’
According to Simsek, the victim was an experienced worker. ‘He was fully equipped and had been doing the job for 15 years,’ he says, emphasising the incident was at Simsekler’s secondary cutting field. ‘It definitely did not take place on a vessel or any other place of work at height.’
The incident at Simsekler is the second fatality in the past six months at Aliaga, known as Turkey’s ship recycling zone and home to 22 dismantling operations. In October last year a worker died while scrapping an oil rig at the Isiksan yard. A handrail broke and fell, hitting the worker on the back of his neck.
Safety procedures investigated
‘These accidents are a sad reminder that ship recycling is a heavy and hazardous industry that exposes workers to several safety risks,’ comments Ingvild Jenssen, director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. ‘We are closely following investigations at the yards, as well as those of Turkish authorities, and expect full transparency to be maintained.’
At the Simsekler yard, meanwhile, the company says ‘everything’ is being done to prevent further accidents. ‘On the morning after the tragic event, we held a safety meeting to ensure this will never happen again,’ stresses Simsek. The company says it will ‘fully support’ investigations into the accident.
The incident at Simsekler occurred after publication of the January/February issue of Recycling International, which contains a feature on the company’s growing business in cruise vessel recycling.