PHOTOS: Explosion at Pakistani Shipbreaker

Rescue workers gather near the burning oil tanker at the ship-breaking yard in Gaddani, Pakistan, November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
Rescue workers gather near the burning oil tanker at the ship-breaking yard in Gaddani, Pakistan, November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

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.

Smoke rises from the burning oil tanker as media vehicles are stationed at the ship-breaking yard in Gaddani, Pakistan, November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
Smoke rises from the burning oil tanker as media vehicles are stationed at the ship-breaking yard in Gaddani, Pakistan, November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

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.

Rescue workers walk near the burning oil tanker at the ship-breaking yard in Gaddani, Pakistan, November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
Rescue workers walk near the burning oil tanker at the ship-breaking yard in Gaddani, Pakistan, November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

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. 

A man takes photo of his colleague with a mobile phone on the burning oil tanker at the ship-breaking yard in Gaddani, Pakistan, November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
A man takes photo of his colleague with a mobile phone on the burning oil tanker at the ship-breaking yard in Gaddani, Pakistan, November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
Rescue workers and family members of missing labourers gather and wait near the burning oil tanker at the Gaddani ship-breaking yard, 45 km (28 miles) of Karachi, Pakistan, November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Rescue workers and family members of missing labourers gather and wait near the burning oil tanker at the Gaddani ship-breaking yard, 45 km (28 miles) of Karachi, Pakistan, November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
Photo: NGO Shipbreaking Platform
Photo: NGO Shipbreaking Platform