Maritime Industry and Human Rights: Shipbreaking

Naquib Hossain (cc-by-2.0)

Shipbreaking is one the world's most dirty and dangerous industries. The vast majority of world's end-of-life ships are broken down - by hand - on the shores of South Asia.

On the one hand, workers, often exploited migrants, suffer loss of life, accidents, and occupational diseases due to unsafe working conditions and exposure to toxic fumes and materials. On the other hand, coastal ecosystems and the local communities depending on them are devastated by toxic spills and other types of pollution from breaking vessels on beaches. As such, the negative consequences of shipbreaking are real and felt by many.

Safer and cleaner methods of ship recycling already exist but until the global community shows leadership and forces toxic ships off the beach, the shipping and shipbreaking industries will continue their race to the bottom.

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