After four days firefighters have finally managed to douse the terrible tanker blaze that killed many workers at a shipbreaking site in Gadani, Pakistan. Rescue work inside the hull of the Indonesian ship cannot start however as the steel plates are still too hot.
The accident happened Tuesday morning when a welder hit a fuel tank leading to a massive explosion and subsequent blaze. While there are now 21 confirmed dead, the eventual death toll could hit triple figures with many unaccounted for inside the hull of the ship and a number of the 60 workers sent to hospital deemed to have such severe burns that they are unlikely to survive.
The disaster has led to calls to ban recycling at Gadani after blatant safety lapses were revealed.
Authorities have set about arresting some of the yard owners and senior management.
“Health and safety must come first. This terrible blast could have been avoided. There is a clear lack of infrastructure and equipment in Gadani to prevent such a deadly accident. Rescue operations are extremely difficult due to the lack of ambulances and firefighting equipment and because rapid access to the ship and the workers that are still stuck inside is extremely challenging,” commented Abid Qaiyum Suleri, executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) earlier this week.