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Hard Labour - Ship Cutters

David Verberckt | Bangladesh

Recently beached ship at his final destination where it will be dismanteled on the spot, Chittagong ship-breaking yards in the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh, June 2015

Yet another notorious "industry" of Bangladesh revolves around vessels, mainly ships that are no longer useful anywhere else in the world. Decommissioned giant ships are dismantled to the tiniest elements, every piece and gram of it either put on another recyclable pile or reused to build "new" ships for the local fleet. Working conditions for people doing it are deplorable and extremely dangerous and can hardly be called the maritime ones.

The vessels reach their final destination when they are beached during high tide. They will consequently be cut in pieces on the beach by ship cutters.

Many people of Bangladesh work in tanneries, ship-breaking yards, brick kilns and as tea pickers, jobs notorious for being indecently low paid but usually the only ones available for a lot of men and women. These hard physical jobs, in addition to already poor livelihoods, put a heavy strain on workers’ bodies. With inadequate safety and working conditions many of them face serious accidents and health problems that maim and affect them for life, often leaving them disabled and unable to be active part of the society.
And, in addition to directly endangering workers' lives, most of these industries are also great polluters of the rivers, further irreversibly deteriorating everything along the waterways.

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