Chittagong shipbreaking yard

Chittagong shipbreaking yard


Chittagong Ship-breaking yard is the world’s largest ship-breaking yard. It covers one of the largest sites of north Chittagong in Bangladesh. People from all over the world approach here to have a glimpse of the ships standing above 350 meters long and weighing up to 15,000 tons dismantling those large vessels while using only sledgehammers and metal cutters may take more than a month or two for the young workers and most of them are below 22.


History of Chittagong ship breaking yard

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The ship-breaking yard in Chittagong has quite a similar story. After a cyclone in 1960, a Greek ship ‘M D Alpine’ crashed on the shores of Sitakunda, Chittagong. With many unsuccessful attempts to refloat the ship, it was sold to Chittagong Steel House to salvage for scrap. Later during the Bangladesh Liberation War, a Pakistani ship Al Abbas was bombed and later brought to Faujdarhat seashore by a soviet team who were working at the Chittagong port at the time. In 1974 the ship was bought by a local company Karnafully Metal Works Ltd as scrap and thus began the journey of commercial shipbreaking in Bangladesh.



Evolution of the ship breaking yard

In the early days, the shipbreaking industry was considered to be mechanized and so until the 1960s the more industrialized countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, Germany or Italy were more considered for the job. Around the early 1980s, the old ships were more often sold as scrap for more profit to countries like China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines or Vietnam. Countries like this have less health and safety regulations and very cheap labor as people are desperate for work.

With cheap labor and fewer regulations, the ship-breaking industry boomed in Bangladesh quickly. By the mid-1990s the country was ranked number 2 by tonnage scrapped. In 2008 there were 26 shipbreaking yards and by 2009 there were 40. In this time the area was the largest ship-breaking yard in the world. With cheap labor and minimal investment the operation mostly required large winches, blowtorch and occasionally bulldozers with a large portion of human manpower. The industry in Bangladesh has an estimate of 1.5 billion dollars turnovers annually.    


Avengers: age of ultron

This controversial place has attracted a lot of tourists who want to see the place themselves and experience it. Moreover, a scene from the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron was shot at the ship-breaking yards in Chittagong. With so much controversy and dialogue around the shipbreaking yards in Chittagong, it becomes a completely emerging experience for the tourists to see with their own eyes. The breathtaking beach and the shipbreaking yards along its shore provide jobs to a lot of unfortunate people who may consider choosing a career that may literally end their life any day, however, they still chose to fight towards a better tomorrow. 


Why it becomes a controversial place

The location with the reputation of being the biggest ship-breaking yard in the world slowly turned into a tourist attraction and started a dialogue around the world about a lack of management and safety regulations.  Locals claim that on average 1 worker dies per week at the yard as the workers have no protective equipment or financial security. In 2014, a few shipping companies stopped using the yards due to the lack of health and safety regulations.

The yard owners, investors, and moneylenders are more sentient towards their business. You will see laborers from different parts of the nation who join the force to maintain their livelihood here, and they get minimum wages based on their progression. Apart from that, it only takes a bulldozer, some blowtorches, and a large winch, and the rest is conducted by the laborers to run this entire business.


Nearby ship-building yard

The giants dying on the beach, disassembling it into pieces is one of the most fascinating moments for tourists and photographers, also might find interest in desolated and surreal landscapes, which make this place worth traveling to. On the other hand, you will also find “Ship Building Yards” separated from the Breaking Yard. 


Check out our Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard Tour to visit the largest ship-breaking yard in the world. 

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