At least 17 people have died and many more are still missing 24 hours after a series of explosions ripped through a beached oil tanker at a shipbreaking yard in Gaddani, Pakistan on Tuesday.
The initial blast reportedly occurred during welding work inside a former floating oil production tanker where dozens of workers are believed to have been working to dismantling the vessel.
At least 58 people were injured, and according to reports as many as 25 people may still be missing as the fire continued to burn inside the vessel a day after the first explosion.
The incident comes as environmental and human rights labor groups are calling on the shipping industry to stop sending end-of-life vessels to southeast Asian shipbreaking yards where working conditions are poor and the controversial practice of beaching is still used to dismantle ships within the tidal zone.
While many shipowners have shifted to more modern shipbreaking yards in Turkey and China, today it is estimated that over 70% of end-of-life vessels end up being sold to facilities on beaches in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh lacking proper safety equipment, environmental protection practices, and emergency services.