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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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Article
8 February 2006

France ready to take back waste of "toxic" ship [India]

Author: Reuters

France would be ready to take back toxic waste removed from a decommissioned carrier if India's top court allowed the ship to be scrapped in an Indian shipyard, the French envoy said...Environmental groups like Greenpeace have opposed the entry of the...

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Article
12 January 2006

Egypt asks toxic ship for proof

Author: BBC News

Egypt has asked for proof from a French warship, on its way to a breaker's yard in India, that it is not carrying toxic waste breaching the Basel Convention... Greenpeace says India is not equipped to deal with the asbestos-lined warship's toxic waste...

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Article
27 December 2005

Why India can’t stop toxic ships

Author: Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times [India]

One of the world's most poisonous dead ship[s], Clemenceau will probably not be stopped by the Indian authorities when it reaches Alang in mid-January...The ministry of environment and forest rules stipulate that vessels made of toxic material like...

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Article
12 December 2005

End of Life Ships: The Human Cost of Breaking Ships

Author: Greenpeace & International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Shipbreaking...is a dirty and dangerous business. Almost all of the vessels condemned for breaking contain hazardous substances such as asbestos, oil sludge, paints containing lead, other heavy metals like cadmium and arsenic, poisonous biocides as...

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Article
1 December 2005

[PDF] full report: "End of Life Ships: The Human Cost of Breaking Ships"

Author: Greenpeace & International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

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Article
15 October 2003

New Guidelines for Ship breaking Adopted - ILO charts new course for workers recycling a growing fleet of aging ships

Author: International Labour Organization

An international meeting of experts on the ship-breaking industry has taken a decisive step toward improving the safety and health of thousands of workers who perform one of the world' s most hazardous occupations.

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Article
25 June 2003

Bangladesh Ship Breaking Industry: Criminals Run the Show

Author: Saleem Samad, OneWorld South Asia

The workers here [at Sitakundu ship breaking facility] are allegedly treated almost like slaves, with complete disregard for their health and safety...over the past 20 years, as many as 400 workers at the facility were killed, and more than 6,000...

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Article
10 June 2003

Shipping company calls for international mandatory regulation to stop deadly effects of toxic ships sent to Asia for scrap

Author: Greenpeace

Mediterranean Shipping Company conceded today that international mandatory regulations are necessary to protect workers and prevent environmental pollution at Asian shipbreaking yards.

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Article
3 June 2003

Workers exposed to toxic ship scrap [India]

Author: L.H. Naqvi, Tribune [India]

A few days ago a deadly explosion rocked the shipbreaking yard at Alang in Gujarat. It killed six persons and maimed several others. Greenpeace...decided to put pressure on the owners of discarded ships to follow the provisions of the Basel Convention...

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Article
27 March 2002

Thirteen dead in Dubai shipyard flood [United Arab Emirates]

Author: BBC News

At least 13 workers are reported to have died in Dubai after a dry dock flooded with sea water...Officials at Dubai Drydocks, one of the world's biggest shipping repair facilities, said the casualty figures might rise as divers began rescue operations...

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