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Shipbreakers petition IMO for safer working conditions

Shipbreakers petition IMO for safer working conditions

London: Indian shipbreaking workers are in London this week to lobby the International Maritime Organisation's Marine Environment Protection Committee for a speedy mandatory regime to cut deaths and injury in the notoriously dangerous scrapping industry.
The men travelled to the UK with the support of the International Transport
Workers' Federation and the International Metalworkers' Federation and held
a ceremony throwing flowers in the Thames to represent the hundreds of
workers killed each year as a result of working in the lartgely unregulated
The ITF said that although negotiations are underway at IMO on
internationally agreed regulations on ship recycling, adoption is not
expected until 2009 and "proper implementation by 2015 at best if at all."
The ITF says that there are no accurate figures on the numbers of deaths,
injuries and incidences of occupational ill health in the industry. However, the state of Gujarat in India put the average annual incidence of deaths at major shipbreaking centre, Alang, at two per thousand workers in the decade up to 2005. That compares with an all-India incidence of deaths in the mining industry - one of the most accident-prone sectors - of 0.34 per thousand workers.  
One of the delegation leaders, Vidyadhar Rane, secretary of the Mumbai Port
Trust, Dock and General Emlpoyees' Union said: "People here don't have
goggles, they don't have helmets, macs or safety boots - many don't have any kind of boots. There should be work, but there should be no compromise on safe work. I am appealing to the developed countries who send their ships to Asia to take some responsibility and save lives." [10/10/06]

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