Two shipbreakers die after inhaling toxic fumes | india | Hindustan Times
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Two shipbreakers die after inhaling toxic fumes

india Updated: Jul 13, 2006 14:46 IST

Two workers have died after inhaling toxic gas while dismantling a ship at a giant scrapyard near the Bangladeshi port of Chittagong, police said on Thursday.

"The labourers collapsed on Wednesday night died one after another after breathing in toxic gas which leaked from a tank of the ship that was being dismantled at a scrapyard," said police sub-inspector Mohammad Arjun.

The workers were not wearing protective equipment, he added.

Up to 80 large ocean-going ships are dismantled each year at 32 yards operating on beaches at Sitakundu, some 30 kms north of Chittagong, Bangladesh's second biggest city.

The industry directly and indirectly employs some 300,000 people.

The poorly paid workers break up the ships manually without safety equipment. The United Nations Development Programme says accidents that kill or seriously injure shipbreakers are "not uncommon".

In February, Bangladesh banned the asbestos-lined ocean liner SS Norway from its shipyards just a day after French President Jacques Chirac recalled another asbestos-lined ship, the warship Clemenceau, back home.

Asbestos is just one of the many hazards faced by Bangladeshi shipbreakers. Police, however, were unable to say if the two workers had been exposed.