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Bangladesh: 7 hurt by bullets allegedly fired by guards of Kabir Steel Ltd, ship owners & bank linked

Seven people were hit by bullets allegedly from security guards of Kabir Steel Ltd over the death of a factory worker in a road crash at the entrance to the factory in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong. Incensed at the death of Md Sumon, locals blocked the Dhaka-Chittagong highway. The youth from South Sonaichari village in the upazila died on the spot. The driver, however, managed to escape. Hearing the news, locals along with the victim's relatives staged a demonstration in front of the factory. Sumon's relative Shahnaz Akhter said, “The factory authorities took the body inside and did not hand it over to us. They tried to cover up the fact that Sumon was run over by their vehicle.” Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Kabir Steel Limited to respond, response included here. 

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Company non-response
6 July 2016

CMB Group did not respond

Company non-response
6 July 2016

Kanellakis Group did not respond

6 July 2016

Ship owners and bank linked to Kabir Steel ship breaking yard, says NGO

Author: The Shipbreaking Platform

Standard Chartered Bank, Belgian ship owner CMB / Bocimar as well as the Greek Kanellakis Group are linked to Kabir Steel, a Bangladeshi shipbreaking yard and re-rolling mill with a particularly bad accident record where private security guards shot at locals protesting the death of worker Sumon on 28 March ... major European shipping companies are linked to the dangerous and dirty shipbreaking practices at Kabir Steel. The end-of life vessels currently being scrapped on the beach of Kabir Steel shipbreaking are the ALPHA FRIENDSHIP and the MINERAL WATER. The ALPHA FRIENDSHIP’s was sold to Kabir Steel for scrapping by Greek Kanellakis Group ... The MINERAL WATER was sold to Kabir Steel by Belgian ship owner CMB N.V. S.A. and its wholly-owned Belgian subsidiary Bocimar International.

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Company response
6 July 2016

Standard Chartered response to Shipbreaking Platform

Author: Standard Chartered

I am sure you will appreciate that as a bank, for both regulatory and legal reasons we cannot discuss specific companies, even to confirm or deny they are a client. However, we do work with both clients and civil society to promote and encourage responsible behaviour.

We do recognise that there are many environmental and social challenges in the ship-breaking industry in Bangladesh, including hazardous environments for workers and the generation of hazardous wastes. We engage with our clients to address these and other issues through our position statements, including those on ship breaking and human rights. 

We have a relationship with a small number of selected companies in the ship-breaking sector.  We advocate and promote alignment with industry guidance including the UNEP/Basel Convention‘s “Technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of the full and partial dismantling of ships” and the ILO’s “Safety and health in shipbreaking: Guidelines for Asian countries”.

We believe that we can and should remain engaged in the sector to support continued progress towards alignment with international standards, and our ongoing dialogue and engagement with clients enables us to monitor such progress. 

2 May 2016

Kabir Steel Limited's response to Rejoinder by NGO Shipbreaking Platform

Author: Kabir Shipbreaking Limited

We the managemnet of Kabir Ship Breaking Limited would liek to issue register our furstation on the rejoinder write-up from the platform. The incident had nothing to do with the core activiteis of Kabir Ship Breaking itself which are related to recycling of ships...We do not have any reservation whatsoever for any investigation beign carried out by the Platform to clear their doubt.

Download the full document here

NGO rejoinder
25 April 2016

NGO Shipbreaking Platform's response to Kabir Steel Limited's statement

Author: NGO Shipbreaking Platform

...The explanation behind the gathering, the protest and the anger of the locals is that the families of workers who have either been killed or seriously injured in the shipbreaking yards have to fight for the legal compensation to be paid...The yard management claims that the protest had turned violent with people trying to break the gate and to set fire to a fuel tank. The question of whether the protest turned violent before the yard’s security personnel started shooting or whether it was once the yard security resorted to violence, has to be clarified by an independent and impartial police report...The NGO Shipbreaking Platform demands an independent and impartial policy investigation into the shooting and asks the authorities to ensure that the people responsible will be held accountable.

Download the full document here

Company response
20 April 2016

Kabir Steel Limited Response

Author: Kabir Steel Limited

We would like to strongly protest and highlight the numerous factual inaccuracies in the report published by The Daily Star, titled “7 hurt as 'factory guards' open fire on protesters’. We would like to thank you for offering us the opportunity to respond to the libelous accusations leveled against our company in the report in question

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28 March 2016

7 hurt as 'factory guards' open fire on protesters

Author: Daily Star

Seven people were hit by bullets allegedly from security guards of Kabir Steel Ltd over the death of a factory worker in a road crash at the entrance to the factory in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong. Incensed at the death of Md Sumon, locals blocked the Dhaka-Chittagong highway..The 28-year-old was run over by a long vehicle when he was entering the factory at the ship-breaking yard at Gamartol around 8:00am, said Saleh Ahmed Pathan, officer-in-charge of Barowalia Highway Police Station. The factory gate is around 50 feet away from the highway....As the protesters tried to vandalise the factory, security guards opened fire on them, leaving the agitators wounded, witnesses said....MA Karim Dulal, director of Kabir Steel Ltd, said they have 75 security staff at the ship-breaking yard. One of them uses a licensed gun...Md Gias, security officer of the factory, fired blank shots when the agitators tried to set a fuel storage tank on fire, claimed Karim. Gias is one the seven officials detained by police...The director stated that local lawmaker Didarul Alam owns the vehicle which was involved in the accident. The company uses it on rent, he added.

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