Platform news – New video by VICE shows child labour and low environmental standards in Bangladeshi shipbreaking yards

Brussels 9 February 2015 – A video published by the American magazine VICE, “Where giant cargo ships go to die”, available on its website, shows that both the working conditions and the measures to protect the environment in the shipbreaking yards in Chittagong, Bangladesh, are far from being adequate. This is the second video by VICE after it had first covered the situation last May. Muhammed Ali (Shahin), the NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s coordinator in Bangladesh, is interviewed by the reporters.

The video highlights the issues caused by child labour, interviewing a mother who lives in fear for the safety her son who works in the shipbreaking yards every day. The reporters follow the child around and interview him about his daily work. The video also shows that insulation material is pulled from the end-of-life ships without its toxicity level being analysed. It is impossible to track how much hazardous waste piles up on the beaches of Chittagong.

A Chinese company’s ship is featured in the documentary. Ship owner SITC won an award for social responsibility, yet the video shows it prefers beaching old ships in Bangladesh rather than dismantling them responsibly in a clean and safe ship recycling yard – for instance in China.