Gadani ship-breaking site booming, dangerous

If you’ve read our page on Gadani, Pakistan, then you’ll know that this town on the outskirts of Karachi is one of the world’s foremost sites for ship-breaking — that is, dismantling it for scrap when it outlives its usefulness.

In recent years, Gadani had experienced a downturn in this industry relative to its heydey in the 1970s.

However, in a recent report, Pakistani newspaper The News reports: From a state of near closure, the industry has bounced back since December 2008, and is now buzzing with activity.

What that means is that the global crisis seems to have flooded the ship-building industry with ships to break, driving prices down, and increasing demands for labor. New workers have come from as far away as Swat, on the other side of the country.

Still, those, this increased labor is not receiving adequate safety precautions or medical care.

The newspaper adds:

The labourers went on a six-day strike in February demanding better work conditions but despite the signing of an agreement between the Pakistan Ship-breakers Association Gadani and Ship-breaking Labour Union Gadani, in which the ship breakers promised to provide the workers with the necessary safety gear, it has not been implemented. And the death toll from work related injuries keeps on rising.

“The labourers united under the Mazdoor Ittehad Tanzeem and went on a six-day strike until their four basic demands were accepted,” informed Basheer Ahmed Mehmoodani, an activist of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) supporting the Mazdoor Ittehad Tanzeem. The demands included an increase in wages, payment of salaries on time, provision of an ambulance service and basic health unit and safety equipment for all, he added.

“The chairman signed the agreement on February 14, 2008 [which will be valid till June 2010] and agreed that occupational safety should be a priority, but it has been almost two months and the labourers haven’t received any safety equipment. In fact, one of the three workers died soon after February 14 when he slipped off a ship from a great height.” The fourth worker died earlier this month, he added.


  1. My name is Sadia Sherazi, and i am student of Bahria University,Karachi,Pakistan.
    I am currently doing research on “Ship Breaking and Problems ” .Plz send me more details of this topic.
    Sadia Sherazi

    • osman ahmed says:

      visit secretary pakistan ship breaker associaiton who will be able to brief you. make sure to take appointment first. incase he busy ask him to put you in touch with senior who will be able to help

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