The Shipbreakers

If you google, “Shipbreakers” you’ll stumble upon Paul Goodman’s film, Shipbreakers, that highlights the profession of ship breaking. Ship breaking is a big business — it’s also one of the most dangerous professions. It’s the process of dismantling big ships and selling their parts for scrap. It is extremely labor-intensive and extremely dangerous. With the cheaper labor costs and fewer health and safety guidelines in countries like Bangladesh, the ship breaking jobs often end up here.

The four largest ship breaking nations are India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and China — in total, they handle an estimated 85% of the world’s ship recycling (National Geographic).

Ship breaking continues to be on the rise with growing international trade and global shipping. It provides employment to thousands of people each year in developing countries and also builds the steel industry.

Workers constantly face the dangers of falling material, fires, and electric shocks.

Naturally, Nihab and I decided to visit the ship breaking yard in Dhaka. We hopped on a boat and headed towards the area, where we were exposed to the dangers of the ship breaking industry. It was incredible to see the work done in this area. We jumped right into filming and grabbed shots of the workers in their environment.

The ship breaking industry will continue to be on the rise as the global trade increases. More exposure needs to be provided to show the poor working environment, lack of safety equipment, and long hours spent by the workers in this area. There’s always a risk of something going wrong.

What a surreal experience to walk through the ship breaking yard of Dhaka.

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