Major Blast at Alang Shipbreaking Yard Kills Five

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File photo of a ship recycling yard in Alang, India. Photo courtesy IMO

A major explosion at an Alang shipbreaking yard in India has killed five people and injured at least 10.

According to local media reports, the blast occurred at about 11 a.m. on Saturday as workers were dismantling a chemical tanker at a ship breaking yard in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat. Some reports suggest that the number of fatalities and injuries reported may be underestimated.

It is believed that hot work being performed ignited gases still inside the vessel, causing the blast.

Ship breaking in Alang is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in India for its lax health and safety standards and access to medical care. Ship recycling and the practice of ‘beaching’ in places like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is still highly controversial despite regulation from the IMO and various other governing bodies to make the practice safer for workers and the environment.