This group tracks the responses of shipping industry towards environmental health concerns, highlights influence of shipping companies from EU, US and Japan etc on IMO and its Marine Environment Protection Committee & South Asian governments. It is keen to restore beaches in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan to their pristine glory for the coming generations. For more information visit: www.toxicswatch.org, banasbestosindia.blogspot.com
Six Workers Burnt Alive at Alang Beach
Six labourers were burnt alive in an engine room at Alang ship breaking yard today morning.(Alang Police Station in picture) An incident of fire happened on plot no. 24 in the morning at Alang. Earlier, International Maritime Organisation led delegation has certified Alang beach as a safe place for hazardous industrial activity like ship dismantling.
After fire brigade rushed to the place and did its job, six bodies of laborers were found inside the engine room. The body of one worker could not be identified, the other five were identified as Dinesh, Dipak, Sanjay, Munna and Tulsi.
It is being said that the incident took place when some workers of Alang Auto & General Engineering Co. (P) Ltd were cutting down the engine portion of ship ‘M S Jesica’ in the world’s largest ship scrapping yard. The fire officials took almost three hours to douse the blaze. The exact cause of fire is yet to be ascertained.
The company is owned by Udai Agarwal and Abhinav Kumar
Agarwal's mobile no is: + 91. 9825205604 and Kumar's mobile is: + 91. 9825205204. The company's number in Alang is: + 91-2842-235774
Such things happen in a routine manner. Environment Secretary headed Supreme Court-appointed committee in its report has revealed that the fatal accident rate in Alang is in the range of 2 per 1000 as opposed to 0.34 per 1000 in the mining industry (which is considered worst in the industrial sector).
Two fatal accidents have been reported from the world’s largest ship-breaking yard in May and June 2009. The earlier accident that occurred on the 1st June, 2009 on Plot 15 of the ship-breaking yard involved a labourer identified as Ayodhyasingh Rajput. Such fatal accident occurred at Plot 24 D in May, 2009 as well. Similar accidents were reported in earlier months and years as well.
The industrial activity must be taken off the Alang beach to protect these dying workers and the coastal environment. The currently practiced “beaching method” whereby obsolete ships are run aground on ocean beaches for cutting and breaking apart in the intertidal zone can never be accomplished in a manner which is environmentally sound or protective of human health. Careful analysis of the intrinsic characteristics of beaching operations are conclusive that no amount of prescriptive improvements or protections can remedy the four fatal characteristics of intertidal beaching operations:
1. First there is the impossibility of containing pollutants on a tidal beach where hulls of ships are often breached accidentally or by cutting, or toxic paints erode or are abraded sending persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals and oils onto the beach and into the seawater;
2. Second, due to a shifting and soft wet tidal sand surface, there is the impossibility of rapidly bringing emergency response equipment, including fire-fighting equipment and vehicles, ambulances and cranes along side the ship, to assist or remove persons hurt inside the hull;
3. Third, the impossibility of allowing cranes to work alongside to lift heavy cut sections of a ship and thereby preventing heavy cut sections from being subject to gravity, shifting or falling directly into workers or into the marine environment; and
4. Finally, there is the absolute incompatibility of conducting hazardous waste management operations (which is what they are as long as ships contain hazardous wastes, in the ecologically delicate and vital coastal zone.
These fatal flaws of the beaching method inevitably will result in causing avoidable death and pollution. Please take immediate note of the grave situation in Alang and save the workers and the beach.