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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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Related stories and components

Article
13 June 2013

Press Release – Shipping Industry’s Beach Dumping of Toxic Ships Revealed in New Online Database [Bangladesh, India, & Pakistan]

Author: NGO Shipbreaking Platform

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform today launches a data-driven website which lists all the ships that have been sent for breaking on the beaches of South Asia since 2009. On the website, more than 1,000 shipping companies that commercially benefited from...

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Story
27 June 2013

European Council sets stricter standards for shipbreaking, but falls short of banning social & environmentally harmful practice amid pressure from South Asian govts.

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Article
20 August 2013

[video] Maritime Labour Convention

Author: ILO

ILO marked the coming into force of its historic Maritime Labour Convention on 20 August 2013, with a special event bringing together representatives of seafarers, ship-owners and port authorities.

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Article
22 October 2013

Press Release – EU Bans Breaking of Ships on Beaches

Author: NGO Shipbreaking Platform

[T]he European Parliament voted in favour of the new EU Ship Recycling Regulation that bans the breaking of EU ships on beaches...The NGO [Shipbreaking Platform] coalition warns however that the Regulation will fail to change the current state of play...

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Story
28 October 2013

Report released on shipbreaking industry in Pakistan

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Article
17 November 2013

Grave yards [Bangladesh]

Author: Srestha Banerjee, Down to earth

…[T]he ship-breaking hub of Bangladesh, does not give an impression that only a few years ago the apex court of the country had intervened to clean up the hazardous industry following years of campaign by environmental and human rights groups...The...

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Article
27 November 2013

Civil society organizations in Asia call for a global ban on asbestos, highlight dangers in shipbreaking [India, Bangladesh & Pakistan]

Author: NGO shipbreaking Platform

During the annual Asia Ban Asbestos Network meeting, Bangladeshi civil society organisations launched the Bangladesh Ban Asbestos Network (B-BAN) under the auspices…of Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation, a member...

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Article
13 December 2013

Bangladesh shipbreaking still dirty and dangerous with at least 20 deaths in 2013 [Bangladesh]

Author: NGO Shipbreaking Platform

Bangladeshi member organisations of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a global coalition of human rights, labour rights and environmental organisations seeking to prevent hazardous shipbreaking practices, called upon the business and government...

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Article
17 January 2014

Laid-off workers of Bulgarian Burgas shipyard protest again

Author: Sofia News Agency

Laid-off workers from the shipyard in the Bulgarian city of Burgas staged another protest... according to...the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR)...The protesters claimed that the meeting with the shipyard's management...was simply an eye-wash...Over 60...

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Article
2 November 2014

Bangladesh: Ship-breaking industry workers devoid of group insurance cover

Author: Shah Alam Nur, Financial Express

Workers in the ship-breaking industry are still left out of group-insurance coverage, despite the fact that some fatal accidents have occurred in recent times…Absence of proper government inspections is mainly attributed to leaving thousands of people...

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