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Workers rescued after fire breaks out on oil tanker at Pakistani shipbreaking yard

17 July 2018

A fire on board an oil tanker at a shipbreaking yard in Gadani, Pakistan, on July 16 has been brought under control. Pakistani authorities said they managed to evacuate 20 workers from the vessel, the German tanker ADA, and there were no casualties reported.

Stock image
Stock image

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform said authorities claimed the contractor started cutting before the end of oil cleaning operations and that the Environmental Protection Agency had not issued clearance.

Demolition of tankers and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers was banned at the Gadani yard following earlier fatal incidents caused by the lack of safety measures. These included an explosion on November 1, 2016, which killed at least 28 workers and injured 58, and a fire on January 9, 2017, which took the lives of another five workers.

The deadly fires resulted in a temporary ban on tanker scrapping at Gadani, which was lifted in April 2018 after a new government took power in Balochistan.

The Gadani shipbreaking yard was declared one of the worst workplace environments in the world by labour rights watchdogs including National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), Ship Breaking Workers Union (SBWU) and Industrial Global Union. Safety organisations say that shipbreaking is Pakistan's deadliest industry, with little regulation and inhumane working conditions.

Norway's sovereign wealth fund recently excluded four shipowners from its portfolio for selling end-of-life vessels to Pakistani and Bangladeshi shipbreakers, citing a pattern of "severe environmental damage and serious or systematic violations of human rights."

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