Two yard workers have died and five others were severely injured this morning in a major explosion on board beached vessel at a shipbreaking yard in Chittagong, Bangladesh, according to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
The Platform said the blast took place during torch-cutting on board the vessel Bunga Kelana 4, which is being dismantled at the Mahinur Ship Breaking yard, also known as the Premium Trade Corporation.
The Platform confirmed that two workers have died and five others suffered severe burn injuries. The injured workers are now being treated at the Chattogram Medical College Hospital. One of the injured victim’s injuries have been described as ‘extremely critical’. Several additional workers may still be missing, according to local sources.
Photos and video supposedly filmed in the aftermath of the explosion show workers in bare feet and without appropriate safety or medical response equipment.
According to the Platform, the Bunga Kelana 4 has been beached at the yard for six months. The ship was formerly owned by the Malaysian shipping company AET Tankers, a wholly owned subsidiary of MISC, the Platform said.
The explosion on board the Bunga Kelana 4 follows a similar incident on board the former Greek Warrior beached at a Shagorika Ship Breaking Yard in Chittagong in which two workers were killed.
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform said the incidents highlight the dangers associated with “dirty and dangerous shipbreaking practices” in Bangladesh.
“It is high time for the Bangladesh government to regulate their shipbreaking industry and put a halt to the systematic violations of national labour and environmental protection laws,” commented Ingvild Jenssen, Executive Director and Founder of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “This latest tragic explosion adds to the shipping industry’s appalling toll on human lives and should act as a wake-up call for the financiers and customers of shipping to demand recycling practices off the beach and in line with the standards set by international waste laws and labour conventions.”