Shipbreaking at Gadani suspended after two fires

Following two fires at Gadani shipbreaking yards operations have once again been suspended. Seven people were injured and three were termed critical after oil tanker Kriti caught fire in Gadani shipbreaking yard on Sunday October 14th, only three days after another tanker caught fire. In both cases the suspected cause of the fire was inadequate cleaning of ships from residual oil.

Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had approved the breaking of both the vessels that caught fire.

The two blasts resulted in a ban on all shipbreaking activities in Gadani.

Several fires have been reported at Gadani since an explosion that killed at least 29 workers and injured 58 in November 2016.

That explosion and fire resulted in an 18-month freeze of tanker breaking operations in Pakistan, which was only lifted in April this year.

Of 220 ships which were scrapped in the second quarter of 2018, 169 vessels were sent to the beaches of South Asia for breaking, NGO Shipbreaking Platform said in its report in July. American ship owners sold the most ships to the South Asian yards, with 26 vessels beached, followed by Greek and UAE owners.

After the reopening of Pakistani beaches to breakers at the end of April, 22 tankers arrived to be broken up at Gadani. Only three of these were European flagged – Greece, Malta and Norway – when they were beached. All ships sold to the Chittagong, Alang and Gadani yards pass via the hands of cash-buyers, that often re-register and re-flag the vessel on its final voyage.

More than half of the ships sold to South Asia this quarter changed flag to the registries of Comoros, Niue, Palau and St. Kitts and Nevis just weeks before hitting the beach, NGO Shipbreaking Platform has claimed.