The NGO Shipbreaking Platform is drawing attention to a recent spate of accidents at Bangladeshi shipbreaking yards owned by Kabir Steel Re-Rolling Mills (KSRM), part of Kabir Group.
Out of 18 accidents that have taken place at Bangladeshi shipbreaking yards since the start of 2022, six have taken place at yards belonging to KSRM, according to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. This follows five incidients, including one fatal, at KSRM yards in 2021 and three in 2020, the group said.
The accidents come despite “repeated” interventions by the Bangladesh Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments and the Ministry of Industries, which handed down a temporary ban on operations and imports at one of the KSRM yards, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform reports.
“All corporations have an obligation to conduct human rights due diligence throughout their supply chain,” said Ingvild Jenssen, Executive Director at the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “KRSM’s repeated failure to protect its workers from the many risks involved in ship recycling has resulted in the death of six people and the impairment of at least another seven since 2020. It should be of utmost concern to any financial institution claiming to take Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues seriously to be associated with such appalling practices.”
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform is also calling attention to a “new worrying trend” of accidents on board offshore structures, such as Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) and Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSOs) units, which present additional risks for workers due to their complex design and presence of “highly toxic contaminants, including Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) and mercury,” according to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
Since 2021, there have been ten accidents on offshore units beached in Bangladesh, the group reports.
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s South Asia Quarterly Update showed that shipbreakers in Bangladesh dismantled 35 of the 129 dismantled worldwide in the first quarter of 2022. In 2021, Bangladesh accounted for 254 of the 763 ocean-going commercial ships sold for scrap worldwide during the year.