Reuters’ photographer Amit Dave has published a series of photos taken just this week at a shipbreaking yard in Alang, India, where many of the world’s ships continue to be sent at the end of their operational lives.
While some yards in Alang have upgraded their facilities to comply with global shipbreaking standards set out in the Hong Kong Convention, the shipbreaking industry in South Asia continues to be notorious for its lax safety oversight and frequent, often-fatal accidents.
According to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a whopping 543 of the 835 large ocean-going ships sold for scrap in 2017 were intentionally run ashore and dismantled by hand at shipbreaking yards in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan using the controversial beaching method despite the human and environmental risks.
In 2017, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform recorded at least 10 deaths at yards in Gadani, Pakistan, eight fatal accidents in Alang, and 15 deaths in Bangladeshi yards, where another 22 workers were seriously injured in accidents.
Looking at these photos it’s easy to see why the practice is so controversial (and dangerous):