Explosion at Chittagong Shipbreaking Yard Kills Two

Video still courtesy NGO Shipbreaking Platform

By The Maritime Executive 05-15-2019 09:34:12

On Wednesday morning, an explosion and fire at a shipbreaking yard in Chittagong killed two workers and injured five more, according to the advocacy group NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

At about 0830 Wednesday, a fire broke out on board the defunct vessel Bunga Kelana 4, beached at Mahinur Ship Breaking yard. According to the NGO, the flames spread from abandoned waste oil located close to the engine room where workers were torch-cutting steel parts. 

The deceased were named as Mohammod Rubel and Hamidul Islam. Five others suffered varying degrees of burn injuries, including one in critical condition. 

Videos provided by the group appear to show rudimentary emergency response efforts and first aid services provided by barefoot workers on scene. 

"This latest tragic explosion adds to the shipping industry’s appalling toll on human lives and should act as a wake-up call for the financiers and customers of shipping to demand recycling practices off the beach and in line with the standards set by international waste laws and labour conventions," said Ingvild Jenssen, the executive director and founder of NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

The Bunga Kelana 4 was previously owned by Malaysian shipping company AET Tankers. She was reflagged in Comoros and renamed Kelana 4 for her final journey, and NGO Shipbreaking Platform said that it appears that she was sold with the assistance of a cash buyer, as is usual for South Asian shipbreaking sales.