Shipbreaking / People Breaking – Poverty At Work On The Beach (Blog Action Day 2008)

blog action day 2008 logo

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Today is Blog Action Day 2008. This year’s theme is Poverty and in the maritime world you don’t have to think to hard about where poverty resides.

Southern Asia is notorious for it’s shipbreaking industry where governments allow unscrupulous businessmen to purchase dying ships which are then scrapped by teams of poorly trained and equipped workers for a few dollars a day. The conditions, as Bob Simon reports in the following 60 Minutes segment, are about as close to hell on earth as you can get.

The Ship Breakers

Several professional photographers have tackled this subject with increibly powerful images including Edward Burntysky Shipyards, Building and Breaking, Brendan Corr’s End of the Line, and Sebastiao Selgado’s coffee table masterpiece Workers. However, there are also some powerful images posted on that convey the incredibly hazardous conditions which threaten these workers.

photo by bangladeshblog

by florian99

Ship Breakers II by Ventsdest

Sad Face on Gandani Beach by Michael Foley Photography

September 1, 2008 report from

YouTube – Hazards of the Ship Wrecking Trade

Shipbreaking by the International Metalworkers Federation:

YouTube – Shipbreaking

Amazing photo essay Shipbreak: A Biology of Steel by Claudio Cambon

Shipbreaking in Bangladesh website

Greenpeace’s Bangladesh Shipbreaking website

ILO’s Is There A Decent Way To Break Ships by Paul Bailey

Unfortunately this human and environmental crisis is not going to be solved anytime soon and at least not until first world governments step and take responsibility for the full life (and death) of ships that carry their nation’s goods.

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