Shipbreaking Yard: Where Ships Go to Die

Photo: Edward Burtynsky

There is a particular industrial activity that is quite unique to the small town of Alang in Gujarat Province, India. It's not manufacturing - actually, it's the exact opposite: in Alang, container and cruise ships are taken apart piece by piece ... by hand!

When large container ships can contain or ship no more, they're sent halfway round the world to so-called "breaking yards," where they're dismantled (basically by hand), their metal is salvaged, and their intact structures, down to the doors and toilet seats, are put back onto the global marketplace.

Today, these yards tend to be in Bangladesh or India – but location is just a question of cheap labor and (nonexistent) environmental regulations.

It's toxic work.

BLDBLOG has more: Link | More photos of shipbreaking by Edward Burtynsky

It sad the Indian people continue to be exploited for cheap labour. The companies that hire them to do this dangerous work should be ashamed of themselves.(but I'm sure they could give a squat)
Damn-that is one big ship.
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Back in the old days wwhen we had cable tv, there was some doc on the HD channel about shipbreaking. I think it may hvae actually been an episode from PBS's "Frontline". In any event, all those dangerous job tv shows are like summer holidays compared to shipbreaking. Pay was slave wages, and there was something like a death a week from illness or accident. The cancer and respiratory illness rates are off the charts due to all the asbestos ans heavy chemicals in the often older vessels. Pretty sad that human life is so devalued by these companethat it's considered expendable in the service of cleaning up the West's messes.

Still, great photos, though.
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The people doing this work are employed by someone in their own country, not some outsider, if I'm not mistaken. I saw something about it on TV and the local companies trying to get this business are happy to have it as it allows them to hire people and put them to work, even if the work is hard.

All countries have had jobs like this at some point. Just because we look at it from the viewpoint of people who might no longer have to do that kind of thing doesn't mean that there aren't places where people are glad to get work, period.

Yes, the local bosses should be protecting their employees but that's up to them, isn't it.
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That was my first thought too.

World War Z.

great book.

apart from the british bit..which was a horrible cliche.

And the Australian calling Brits Limeys.... that was pretty lousy too.
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If you want to know more about how shipbreaking is done in India and in Bangladesh, and how international treaties are not respected by Western countries (the export of hazardous wastes to developing countries is illegal) you can go to:

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they give a damn about the labor all that is cared about is the no environmental laws if we had none here it would be done here for whatever price
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