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Ship Breakers | Bangladesh


TIM NOONAN: Bangladesh is a land of dreams…of
teeming life and spectacle. This is the place where the ships of the world come to die. CHARLIE KERNIGAN: I believe this is the most
dangerous job in the world. It’s a death trap. TIM: Hundreds and hundreds of mighty cargo
ships and tankers discarded. TANVEER: Life here is about survival. It’s
about getting food on the plate, getting kids to school, just so that they might have a
better life than your own. TIM: Tanveer Ahmed is now a Sydney doctor
but this is where he spent the first six years of his life. TANVEER: She’s telling me that we used to
rent two little rooms down the bottom here. Unbelievable. It probably hasn’t changed that
much. It’s the same owners and that owner used to run a shipyard. In my childhood home
there was a real romance about this job. Our landlord was a ship breaker. Most men wanted
to be policemen or firefighters – I wanted to be a ship breaker. I wanted my father,
who used to come home with a little briefcase, I wanted him to be a ship breaker. TIM: Tanveer’s come back with us to Bangladesh
and he is about to confront the reality of his childhood dream. But it hasn’t been easy
– the shipyards are notoriously secretive, so it’s taken 6 months of negotiations to
get this far. TANVEER: This is a really sensitive issue
for Bangladesh and the industry. They’ve been shut down before because of negative media
attention and they are terrified it is going to happen again. Finally, one of the biggest
yards is letting us in. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s awe-inspiring
on one level. It does feel like we’ve been transported to a totally different planet. TIM: But down in the mud it’s a different
story. On any given day there are tens of thousands of these blokes ripping apart these
gigantic ships with their bare hands. TANVEER: When you look at their faces, when
you look into their eyes, suddenly the reality is very different. These are kids, young men,
doing brutal, back-breaking jobs. They’re in real danger –
huge bits of scrap metal falling around them. They could get hurt, they could get killed.
And they’re doing it day-in, day-out. TIM: I am being shepherded around everywhere
because this place is literally a minefield of danger. Right now they’re at the last stroke
of letting this huge big crane fall into the sea. It’s all a matter of survival. The workers
need their jobs and Bangladesh needs the steel because it has no iron ore of its own. CHARLIE: You know, they just simply could
not build their infrastructure, they couldn’t build their high rises without this, without
these ships being recycled. This country would be crippled if it wasn’t for the ship breakers. TIM: Charlie Kernaghan and has been campaigning
on behalf of the shipyard workers for the last five years. CHARLIE: This is not a place of work, it’s
a place of suffering and death. It’s hell on earth, there’s no other way to describe
it. Thousands of workers have been injured, killed, maimed, burnt to death. The very highest
wage is going to be 47 cents an hour – 47 cents to dismantle the largest tankers in
the world. These are starvation, miserable wages. TIM: This Japanese oil tanker has been at
sea for 17 years and it’s 32 metres high. The only way up is by this flimsy rope ladder
and it’s just best not to look down. It’s a pretty eerie feeling. The ship has just
been left abandoned. It’s hard to believe that in four weeks’ time this tanker will
be history. By the time the workers have finished, not a scrap will be left. How do you feel
when a new ship arrives in the yard? Bilal is 24 but he started at the shipyards when
he was just a kid. He and his brother Raman share this tiny room with their two cousins,
aged 13 and 14. All of them work on the ships 12 hours a day, seven days a week. At least
one man dies here every two weeks. Injuries and close shaves like Bilal’s are too numerous
to count. CHARLIE: They work hard, they get hurt and
they just throw them out like it’s nothing. To waste people’s lives… TIM: Here, 15 damaged men have come to tell
us of the terrible injuries they suffered on
the job. CHARLIE: Bangladeshi workers are terrific
workers. Nobody should treat you like this – so that you are missing a foot, missing
a leg, missing toes, missing a leg, missing a foot, missing toes, fingers. It is criminal. TIM: But the dangers don’t stop at falling
metal and gas explosions. The ships are riddled with toxic heavy metals and asbestos. With
no safety gear, the workers are cruelly exposed. I have to say, I am a little bit nervous.
We are currently in the breach of the ship and there is asbestos everywhere. It looks
extreme, but in Australia this is what I would have to wear to protect myself. Just one fibre
is enough to have devastating effects on the body and the workers aren’t protected at all. TANVEER: When you see the reality, when you
look closer and you see these kids and other workers, what they are doing, throwing themselves
into situations of toxic waste, of asbestos, and I’m a doctor – I know that’s gonna kill
them. It’s gonna kill them, probably before they’re 40. TIM: There’s no doubt profits are huge. Shipyard
owners buy a wreck for around $5 million and sell the scrap for $10 million. Marzan Raman
is the director of the yard where Bilal, his brother and their teenage cousins work. Are
there children working in your yard? MARZAN: No. TIM: No? MARZAN: My permanent workers… TIM: …but we’ve seen them. MARZAN: The contractors do employ, sometimes,
this children worker, but we are continuously working on this issue, not allowing children
to work directly in this risky areas. TIM: But how can you sleep at night knowing
that children are being exposed to things like asbestos, mercury, oil, explosions? MARZAN: It is very… The industry – the industry
is risky. But where there is no risk? You’ll find risk in all kind of business. CHARLIE: Why do we allow it? It’s so disgusting
that every one of us should be shamed and we should cry out. TIM: The fact is that this is all they’ve
got – their one chance, their only hope of realising their dreams. What life do you hope
for? TANVEER: Their lives are short and brutal.
It’s cheap, it’s as cheap as life gets here, and it hits hard because I look at them and
part of me thinks, “Well, it’s not impossible – that could have been me.”

Norman Bunn

100 Comments

  1. Bangladesh citizens deserve better work conditions. Seeing this is horrible.

  2. everyone talks about how sad it is that people are getting paid so little, but who is going to give up there pay and life style to give these people more money. the man who interviews the injured workers had a gold watch on do you think he'd give that watch up to give some workers more money

  3. This is the economic fuel of third world nations.  The lousy wages are set by their employers, not by Americans and Europeans.  The shitty conditions are set by their employers.  The lack of safety equipment is set by the employers.  Old ships require scrapping and these people are willing to do the work.  Take away this work and these masses won't turn to medicine or working as engineers or other highly trained and skilled professions.   Without these jobs, these people starve.  If they had alternatives, such jobs would not be tolerated.

  4. Absolutely no one should have to work under these conditions! Deplorable! Do these ships not travel in international waters? Seems like the laws/rules that cover the ships which are doing business internationally would also cover the workers who work on the ships in the same manner for the same reason. This work is much more difficult than putting hamburgers together at McDonalds, etc. Why are the wages in the U S so much higher for non-dangerous work and these poor men get practically nothing for more intense labor. Crazy? They need lobbyist to work for them and get them decent pay. If they have no lobbyist, the U S with our nosy self, ought to have lobbyist brought in to handle this scum-bag operation.

  5. This is not the developed world taking advantage over the 3rd world. You said it yourself: Marzan Raman buys the ships for 5M and sell the scrap for 10M whilst paying cents a day.. He has a nice suit and haircut – wonder where the money is really going whilst the west and the developed world are blamed! We give MILLIONS in aid to these countries yet its still not enough…

  6. the guy giving them the talk at 10:15…wearing a nice gold watch…I'm sure that helped

  7. IT DOESN'T COST A THING TO HAVE A SAFER IDEA THOSE SHIPS COME WITH ALL KINDS OF CHAINS AND ROPE THAT COULD SAVE MANY

  8. boss man is getting fat wile the employees suffer and live a schort lifespan.

  9. Bleeding vaginas of world unite, if you have a better suggestion we could park the fucking ship in your goddamn yard so you show us how its done, nobody had a choice in existence but we survive one way or another

  10. when i look into their faces and eyes. they look just like anyother shipyard worker. who the fuck wants to work ship repair or breaking? 6 guys to carry a 200 pound trawel block @4:50. @8:30 lmao. yeah whatever is connected usually comes down with it. hardest workers are at the end @14:10 the wire haulers, 2.5 inch wire aint no joke, 30 pounds a foot or something. 1200 feet of wire lmao.

  11. Is it surprising that there are people out there willing to exploit others for financial gain? Are such people endemic to Bangladesh? No, of course not. To say that this condition is caused by the greed of the shipyard owners is misguided.

    One of the roles of government is to temper free markets and provide regulation when the markets on their own do not operate in the interests of the people. Bangladesh, due to systematic corruption, is failing miserably. Here lies the problem.

    Indeed laws exist to the benefit of business and corrupt officials. For example, to register a trade union, you need 30% of the work force to signup, which given tens of thousands of informal workers is next to impossible for shipyard workers.

  12. There's simply a lot of stupidity going on at these wok sites. A plastic warning whistle made in China would cost less than 10 minute's worth of gas from one of those cutting torches. Even a child worker could afford one at the local market. But you can't fix stupid.

  13. We in the West have become conditioned to the idea that jobs and income are a right. It's not true here, and it's certainly not true in Bangladesh. What are you going to do – stop sending ships there so all those unemployed workers can set the poverty level even higher? No, even better. Let's jail all the business owners so there won't even be anyone left who knows how to bring in business.

  14. tel sell the metal for 10million. you dont think they can spare at least $3 an hr. .46cents.

  15. Heartbreaking , truly heartbreaking. As some one who sailed those behemoths for decades , I just didnae understand what happened to them when it all comes to an end. WHERE IS THE HUMANITY?

  16. Sad, if I were ruthless and evil I could afford on my own salary to hire a crew to tear apart ships at 47cents an hour. Rotten owners.

  17. The reporter is like… Hehhehehe.. This could've beeen me,, but better them than me ,, lel

  18. And my girl friends bitching cos she got a paper cut at work, and she wont stop bitching at how her cubicle at work is tooo cold with air conditioning because the temperature standards for air conditioning in offices were set for men back in the 70s,, she finds this very sexist

  19. People in America have no F-ing clue how most of the rest of the world lives. We are so lucky it's beyond comprehension.

  20. well my dear n ponderated intelligent webonauts here we have a situation of need suffering n greed. n this is dippirted by all the gangsters of the world yea the putins the obamas the Castro's the united nations aka united gangesters that instead of repair the ships or turn them into hospitals schools clinics stores houses aparments etc etc they prefer destroy the ships n make it legal for the
    owners to claim it as a bussiness expenses. n yes u maybe tell me that the ships aint not good any more. bull cacahuate bangladesh should acept the ships n turn them into usuable structures there u put all that people to work but not for a misery .47 cents but for the australian minium wage yea mi human spice animals.when people get pay the same salary all over the world u will end poverty n immigration problems.ththing is that u gangsters goverments dont want u to be free n will argue n invent catshit to keep u in u miserable condition . inside you so called country aka jail claiming nationalism patriotism n god distinity n deciding what. to pay 4 u blood sweet and tears.ending the pronlems t getting biger n bigger by the second n if this gangsters dont stop this might mare sooner not later it will be a world civil revolution where it would be 100s of millions killwd by the armed arms of this gangesters n will be almost impossible for the masses to win execpt for 1 chance.they need to use the best weapon they have.this weapon would beat any nuclear laser biologic newtronic or wave bomb this weapon its the economic weapon my dear slaves.the moment u stop working for at least 1 month all this parasites politicians n goverments would go down cus u r the ones that are feeding this rats. so think about it use the internet organize
    n prepare u self with can goods n water for at least two monts then my dear slaves u all be free.
    u will stop paying taxes on everything dont buy gas dont buy nothing hell dont buy alcohol.nust get ready for a little pain but the cure will be for ever its time the human spice separate from the animal kindom
    otherwise u all r worse than the animals n the little brains u have aint good gor u n call u self human…💃

  21. It was absolutely this way in the USA at one time during the beginning of the industrial revolution. The railroad industry,the coal industry,,the steel industry ,the oil industry and others were extremely dangerous. What happened ? The workers revolted and even did battle with Pinkerton guards…unions were formed ,much violence then finally the government intervened and stopped kissing ass of the industrialists. I just don't thinks schools teach this kind of history in schools any longer.

  22. Those poor people. i just want to give then at least foot where. and $3 a day. bullshit. They need more pay. 🙁

  23. Why is the "First world" to blame instead of the fat Indian bastard at 13:05 who makes 5 million USD per ship by (ab)using the people?

  24. If they have all these boats why don't they just set sail tp some place nicer? 😂

  25. another example why it's a bad idea to have human offspring. Give them all free vasectomies and this nonsensical suffering will come to an end

  26. What do you think is the lowest amount of money you could pay one of those Bangladeshi workers to cut their own dick off?
    $1000?

  27. The workers could choose to work in farms or other traditional industries….. they do this to make more money and accept the risks they are taking. Without this they probably couldn't afford schooling and luxuries, no one is forcing them to do this.

  28. Highest paid it only 0.47 cents an hour! Working twelve hour days, Seven days a week. That's not even $40 a week!

  29. It's nice to see that even a poor country like Bangladesh can practice green policies like large scale recycling.

  30. This is old video… now they are very smart and environmentally…workplace

  31. Emotive nonsense! There's no doubting these men work very hard, and in hazardous conditions, but the whole programme is viewed from the patronising eyes/standards of the West. Their wages are poor by our standards; 45c per hour is a reasonable wage in Bangladesh. If the West broke their ships using modern health and safety, then the prices of so many items would increase enormously, from food, to fuel, and these men wouldn't have a job. I wonder if the narrator would be quite so against it then?

  32. Is it bad when I watch this, I care more about the environmental damage than the people?

  33. you'll never have a better life if you'll work for $3 a day. The company paying these guys are making huge profits .

  34. Nobody is forcing them to do those works. we have163 million people in Bangladesh and we need jobs.some people want to see averting go wrong for you because nothing is going right for them.without this they'd have Nothing . Love you Bangladesh and god bless you Bangladesh.

  35. Lot of Bangladeshis are jobless ,homeless ,food less…here ship breaking is a good job,,,provide hope of food and home and modest life for all family member .Please don't destroy our national business, if you are a kind human being.

  36. lol i like how some kids cry when they have to get off there xbox when these people are destroying ships and yeah these guys dont cry at all

  37. these people destroying ship fora living and they earn less than $1 per hour.. lucky me i can earn only $100 per month but without any risk..

  38. Another poorly understood industry by western outsiders. They offered no solutions. Without a doubt the industry is one of the most hazardous jobs in the world, but what do people replace this industry with, and how. Who will enforce all these requirements, the owners couldn't care less about the poor.

  39. Published on 15-July-2013 and I guess this works are still going on with this kinda torture and hardships.

    How does their family feel or think at the time, before the sunsets ?
    This happenings made me feel something new !
    I really is placing myself in their place and I canT think my dad is their…I even canT imagine😢😢😢😢

  40. I have seen many people they are very very poor and to a surprise this are the same tribe ! They are migrants from Bangladesh in Assam, India. Why is it mostly happening only with Bangladeshi ?
    Why why why why why why why ?
    I for this should blame only 1 thing.
    And this is "Human Population".
    You people have no birth control and acts like chickens do. You lay eggs and the hatched babies find their living on their own.

    "What will you do after covering the whole world only with muslims tribe ?(I know muslims intention because I live with them and I know their family running out of food almost daily)
    I am sick of seeing your tribe poor,
    I would love to see the other instead of you all

  41. I am covering all aspects of ship breaking as part of my degree. I have to say this was heart wrenching at times to watch ! well done for exposing this problem !

  42. The hidden face of predatory capitalism, where lack of regulatory oversight of basic worker safety and labor compensation, and lack of enviro standards, are exploited because every profit opportunity not maximized is a treasure squandered. This situation could be significantly addressed by requiring every ship to be amortized over its expected working life to provide funding for substantial improvements in safety and wages for its salvage breakup ~

    So every ship would accumulate a fund of several million dollars to supplement its scrap value, enabling better working-conditions, more equitable pay and pensions, and better management of toxic substances. It would still be far from making the necessary breakup of these ships just and safe to workers and the environment, but COULD be done far, far-better.

    It would require an over-arching supra-national authority to put in-place, but it COULD be achieved ~ IF predatory capitalism wasn't so demeaning to the value of human life. THIS wage-slave peonage and hazardous industry is what an authentic Free Trade economics looks like, the epitome of neoliberalism and its priveleging of capital over human dignity and life.
    ~ ; )

  43. Interesting islám indeed, this a wahabi version of Islam that don't alow the workers to revolt on their boss.
    The boss considered like God in their culture.
    Revolution must start in USA to come down to Saudi Arabia and eventually in Bangladesh

  44. The documentary is fairly well produced, minus the Australian clown that feels we all should be ashamed because of their career choice.
    Plenty of people around the world risk their lives for their career; in Bangladesh, this opportunity obviously has its risks but it's worth the income.
    It's the choice of the workers, no one forces them do to this labor.

  45. They are already private and secure it would be easy to just teach some basic safety and get them some hard hats

  46. Overpopulation and here's the outcome. Same with any animal that overpopulates, the natural resources cannot support the population causing a mass dying event.

  47. I bought a large brass bell that came off a single hull supertanker built in 1993 scrapped in 2012- the Apollo Oshima, the bells fetch $375- a lot more than scrap brings. The seller mine came from has a dozen more from different ships.

  48. Hopefully, a Cinderella man saves them and makes their miserable lives a bit better…

  49. Buy the ship for 5 million scrap it for 10 million…..Pay the workers.

  50. When the reporter was saying asbestos the camera was pointing at fibreglass insulation which is also very bad for the lungs and skin, but Australian roofers have it blown in theirs faces all day long!

  51. I honestly would have liked to hear the full answer that the chief had to say in this short documentary. It was clear he had more to say than just all "industry carries risk". Maybe it's all bs, but he still deserved to be heard after have been asked how he could sleep at night.

  52. I can't even walk barefoot on grass without it hurting.

  53. The babylonian bankers are to blame, not us the normal ppl. If I had the power will stop all suffering in one instant.

  54. That looks like fiberglass and fiberglass mats @ 11:52 and 15:49 — it's not asbestos. Life is hard enough for these poor people without your dishonest trouble making.

  55. Nobody`s taking advantage of those people. In the absence of such work they starve. How`s that better? You work or you starve. What`s the alternative?

  56. Indeed it is dangerous but they are actually paid reasonably well (relative to other work in Bangladesh).

  57. this is 2019 this shit is slavery i was a burner and this is not normal. a rich man will never get into Heaven taking advantage of people like this.

  58. its time for the creater to step very soon, the meak shall inherit the 🌍.

  59. and I'm sure the guys filming aren't liberal bastards. Telling people how to act and what to say to the camera. wanting an American president to step in. typical liberals.

  60. All the viewers should praise Bangladesh and its people for this hard works . Being the 4th largest country with Muslim population there is no Islamic terrorism in Bangladesh . We work hard and its our pride .

  61. Maritime industry is simply same From building operating and breaking.same story different stages

  62. This is bull crap I'm an American and I'm ashamed of how our government and other leading world powers can just pass the buck on to these poor people. The good thing at least these people make enough money to barely live but my nation among others have failed bog time. This is polluting the oceanfront and the ocean horribly. Instead of handling this in the correct way we would rather send it to another country because it cost too much for us to break them down here in America because we would not allow all this pollution to happen. So instead we send it to third world countries where does destroying the ocean and pretty much killing these poor people that are working in making their bosses millions of dollars while they can barely afford bread. Such a shame in disgrace. I pray God helps this world because we are all not going to be here much longer if we continue to destroy our Earth

  63. Not only are these children and men working in filthy, dangerous and toxic conditions; many of them are also high on glue, opium and whatever else they can consume to dull their senses

  64. what they show is glass wool and not asbestos. But it is true that there is asbestos in older ships, which you won`t see, because its a thin layer sprayed on. Definitely there is lots of heavy metal all around. The paintings contain leaded tin, to avoid any growth of algae on it. Acima/Rom&Haas/Dow produce it.

  65. I thought of all the brain power wasted at these shipyards…for want of EDUCATION these workers cannot become doctors. Many Indian doctors/surgeons in UK
    Free education means the poorer children have a chance of a safe career, that is their right.
    The guy who went to Aus as a kid {born in this yard} had this chance, because of free education. {not held back by caste system}

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