Channel 7 Sunday Night – Graveyard for giants

Where supertankers go to die

Broadcast on Yahoo! Channel 7 (Australia) on 17 February 2013

 

 

Abstract: It’s one of the most jaw-dropping sights of the modern world. For as far as the eye can see, along a stretch of coastline in Bangladesh, hundreds of mammoth supertankers lie beached on the sand.

This is the place where the world’s ships come to die. The country’s lax labor laws and poor environmental standards mean the Bangladeshi coast is the final dumping ground for these lumbering giants.

While the view from the air is breathtaking, down on the ground it is even more staggering. Reporter Tim Noonan joins some of the thousands of workers who are paid as little as 47 cents a day to break up these rusting wrecks with their bare hands. These workers toil away for 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Among their ranks he finds children who risk their lives doing backbreaking and dangerous work. The death and injury record in the shipbreaking yards is horrendous: workers dismantle the ships using little or no safety gear, despite the ships being riddled with asbestos and other toxic substances.