Posted on May 16, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
Two workers died and several others were heavily injured during an explosion that occurred in the morning hours of May the 15th at Bangladesh’s Chittagong Shipbreaking Yard.
The incident occurred at approximately 08:30 am in the morning, while the workers were in the process of dismantling the crude oil tanker Bunga Kelana 4 at the Mahinur Ship Recycling yard.
According to initial reports, the explosion happened in the engine room of the vessel that was that being dismantled.
Investigation into the incident suggests that sparks caused by cutting works on the vessel ignited gas and fuel residues on the ship that led to the explosion that cost two workers their lives.
According to the NGO shipbreaking platform Mohammod Rubel, a 25 year old cutter working at the shipbreaking yard died on his way to the hospital while Hamidul Islam, a fellow worker was found on the ship several hours after the explosion.
Five other workers, aged 19 to 30 suffered severe burns and are being treated at the Chattogram medical College hospital. Reportedly the condition of some of the workers is extremely critical. Furthermore, according to local sources, several workers are still considered missing.
"The conditions at Mahinur Ship Breaking are shocking and unfortunately telling of the overall appalling working conditions at the Bangladeshi shipbreaking yards. Workers are exposed to enormous risks because there is no infrastructure available on the beach to ensure safe working conditions and rapid emergency response,” said Ingvild Jennsen, Executive Director and Founder for the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
Photos and videos following the explosion show several workers walking around barefoot without any appropriate safety equipment.