Update: Shipbreaking Death Toll Rises


The fire at the Shipbreakers yard in Gadani, Pakistan has claimed the lives of 17 people and over 50 are being treated for burns, reported Radio Free Europe.

It has been announced that the fire was caused by a gas cylinder exploding on a disused oil tanker; around 100 people were working on dismantling the vessel at the time.

It is suspected that around 30 more people are still unaccounted for after eight explosions were heard and the fire caused up to 200 people to be trapped in the shipyard, which is the third largest in the world stretching over 10 kilometres of the coast.

There is much controversy surrounding shipyards in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan due to poor working conditions; the men who work dismantling the ships have little to no safety equipment or ventilation causing diseases and illness from exposure to harmful substances and also high numbers of accidents and burns. 

Maersk has been criticised recently due to alleged encouragement by them to use these shipyards on their decommissioned ships; the attraction to using these yards is that steel prices are particularly high and labour costs are very cheap. 

Their response to criticism was that with a Maersk presence at the yards there is incentive for these shipyards to improve conditions. 

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