Six out of eighteen accidents that were registered in the Bangladeshi shipbreaking industry this year have taken place at yards owned by Kabir Steel Re-Rolling Mills (KSRM), according to NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
The coalition campaigning for clean and safe ship recycling said workers Mohammad Bakul Pramanik and Ariful Islam Sujan both lost their lives at KSRM’s yards, and Mujidul Haque, Shalim and Md Rofiqul were seriously injured in separate accidents. Another worker, Shahjahan, suffered a spine injury at one of the KSRM yards.
This series of accidents follows years of deaths and injuries at Kabir’s yards. In 2020, three accidents took the lives of three workers and impaired another three. In 2021, out of five incidents at KSRM yards, one was fatal, according to figures from the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
“Despite the repeated interventions of the Bangladesh Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments and the Ministry of Industries, which included a ban on operations and imports at one of the KSRM yards for four months, Kabir’s management continues to put the lives of workers at risk,” the coalition said.
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform also pointed to financial institutions, referring to KSRM’s involvement in the CMB case in 2016, which also hit British banking and financial services company Standard Chartered for having granted Kabir letters of credit or loans for the import of end-of-life vessels. It claimed that despite this, Standard Chartered’s dealings with Kabir had not yet been terminated.
“All corporations have an obligation to conduct human rights due diligence throughout their supply chain. KSRM’s repeated failure to protect its workers from the many risks involved in ship recycling has resulted in the death of six people and the impairment of at least another seven since 2020. It should be of utmost concern to any financial institution claiming to take Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues seriously to be associated with such appalling practices,” stressed Ingvild Jenssen, executive director at NGO Shipbreaking Platform.