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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Chittagong yard fined over deaths

A day after the death of 4 workers from toxic gas at the Jiri Subedar
shipbreaking yard of Sitakunda, the Department of Environment (DoE)
yesterday fined it Tk 25 lakh for not having proper safety measures in its
shipbreaking yard.

Local police the same day filed a case against 4 of its officials,
including its owner Lokman Hakim, under the penal code. Others accused in
the case, lodged by Sub-inspector Aminul Islam, are its Director Abu Sayed,
shift-in-charge Md. Lokman and foreman Altaf Hossain.

Meanwhile, the government yesterday formed a 3-member investigation
committee, headed by additional secretary of the industries ministry ABM
Khorshed Alam, to look into the matter.

The probe body has 2 representatives -- from Bangladesh Marine Academy and
1 from the Bureau Veritas, Bangladesh -- and is given 7 days to submit a

The 4 labourers died and 2 others fell sick while dismantling scrap ship MV
Bharata Bhum at the yard, adjacent to the mill, in Sonaichhari area of
Sitakunda on Sunday.

A DoE team led by Director (Chittagong) Zafar Alam ordered the fines for
cutting the old ship without permission from the government body, releasing
toxic gas and not having precautionary measures in place, a DoE press
release says.

The team found that the scrap ship had 61 cylinders, containing carbon
dioxide gas, kept in its store-room carelessly. The statement also said the
workers died due to toxic gas release when they were working in the ship.

Shipbreaking yards in the coastal region have been conducting operations
without adequate safeguards for years, disregarding repeated accidents and
Supreme Court directives to ensure security of the workers' lives.

Source: The Daily Star. 18 October 2011

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