80+1 » Gadani http://www.80plus1.org A Journey Around the World Thu, 25 Nov 2010 14:24:05 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.7.1 en hourly 1 Interview with Pakistani photographer Ameer Hamza http://www.80plus1.org/blog/interview-with-pakistani-photographer-ameer-hamza http://www.80plus1.org/blog/interview-with-pakistani-photographer-ameer-hamza#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2009 08:57:51 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=1082 After poking around the Internet for information about Gadani, I came across a striking set of photos from Karachi-based photographer Ameer Hamza.

I decided to contact Mr. Hamza to learn more about Gadani. Here’s our email interview:

Why did you go to…

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After poking around the Internet for information about Gadani, I came across a striking set of photos from Karachi-based photographer Ameer Hamza.

I decided to contact Mr. Hamza to learn more about Gadani. Here’s our email interview:

Why did you go to Gadani? Did you already know about ship-breaking?

Why did I go to Gadani? Because it is a beautiful beach and makes for the wonderful day trip. Yes, I have always known that Gadani is a classic ship breaking place. In fact, I have often heard that it is the world’s largest ship breaking place. I am not sure if that claim is correct or not. But sure enough Gadani is worth a visit.

What’s the most surprising thing that you learned about the place when you went there?

Umm. I think it is a difficult question. Well, I think I saw that lot of poor men, from far off places, like Northern Pakistan and Punjab province, come here for the job. Not many people from Baluchistan are here. And almost none from Karachi. I mean that is very surprising. But when you know that ship breaking is actually a back breaking work, you understand that only Punjabis and Pathans can do it. Not someone from city like Karachi. And not surprisingly, almost all the owners of the ships are from either Karachi or Lahore.

And the sea is very dirty as well. It is still beautiful.

How does it compare to other places that you’ve photographed?

It has a clear blue sky. Most of Pakistani coastal areas have a beautiful sky specially if you happen to be there early morning. So the photographs naturally come out nice and brisk. Another advantage is that as a photographer / photojournalist you get lot of good photographs of hard working, smiling, tough men. It is a place to be if you like hard work yourself. And all the steam from the engines, and oil spread around; and the huge chains and the sound of Arabian Sea splashing. Wow.

Do you think that the recycling that they’re doing makes a difference? How does it impact Karachi and Pakistan?

If there were no Gadani, I think the price of steel and iron would simply shoot up and would perhaps go beyond imagination. That is my opinion. But that could be the case. One good reason why activity has suddenly improved at Gadani recently.

I should tell you that I my maternal uncle used to buy ships from abroad and break them at Gadani. He made lot of money in that business. And he still has that wonderful wooden wheel which acts as a driver’s steering wheel installed at his home. And I possess a captain’s chair, gifted to my father, long ago, by my uncle. So my relationship with Gadani dates back to before my birth.

What should Europeans and North Americans understand about Gadani and ship-breaking that maybe isn’t show in your photos? What do we need to understand about this issue?

People should understand that although Gadani brings in lot of jobs to people in Pakistan, it also inevitably destroys large chunks of natural beauty. The sea gets polluted and the water gets polluted. All the dirt and the garbage are thrown into the sea. And no care is given to environmental concerns. I think that is one reason why ship breaking at such a large scale has not been developed in western countries.

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New Ship Recycling Treaty Signed in Hong Kong http://www.80plus1.org/blog/new-ship-recycling-treaty-signed-in-hong-kong http://www.80plus1.org/blog/new-ship-recycling-treaty-signed-in-hong-kong#comments Fri, 15 May 2009 20:33:34 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=999 After a week-long conference in Hong Kong, this week saw the signing of a new, extensive international treaty on ship recycling.

After five years of negotiations by 64 countries, the new regulations, known as the International Convention for the Safe and…

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After a week-long conference in Hong Kong, this week saw the signing of a new, extensive international treaty on ship recycling.

After five years of negotiations by 64 countries, the new regulations, known as the International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, requires all vessels to store on board a regularly updated inventory of the hazardous materials that the ship has carried throughout its lifetime, in addition to whatever materials the ship itself may be made of.

It also requires that workers at recycling centers in any country have proper protective gear and that they have emergency response plans in place.

Critics of the new treaty argue that it does not require adequate training of workers in Western safety practices before the ship can be taken apart and then recycled. In addition, enforcement of the treaty is left to local governments and not to an international regulatory agency — meaning that in countries with lax oversight (Pakistan, perhaps?), it’s quite likely that not much will change.

According to the trade journal Portworld:

The main ship recycling countries are Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey.

According to the [International Martitime Organization], the number of ships recycled each year is variable and ship recycling appears to be cyclical in nature.

The average age of recycled ships rose to around 32 years in the early 2000s, from around 26-27 years old in the 1990s.

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Gadani ship-breaking site booming, dangerous http://www.80plus1.org/blog/gadani-ship-breaking-site-booming-dangerous http://www.80plus1.org/blog/gadani-ship-breaking-site-booming-dangerous#comments Wed, 06 May 2009 14:52:15 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=899 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.…

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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.

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Gadani, Pakistan http://www.80plus1.org/places/gadani http://www.80plus1.org/places/gadani#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2009 07:19:26 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://90.146.8.9/80plus1/places/gadani-pakistangadani-pakistan Topic: Recycling
Schedule: Week 9 (August 12 - August 18)
Art Project: Tug of War
School Project: HS Steinerkirchen
Partner School: School of Pakao Macka (Pakao Macka, Senegal)

Gadani is one of the world’s largest sites for “ship-breaking,” — the dismantling of cargo and tanker…

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Topic: Recycling
Schedule: Week 9 (August 12 - August 18)
Art Project: Tug of War
School Project: HS Steinerkirchen
Partner School: School of Pakao Macka (Pakao Macka, Senegal)

Gadani is one of the world’s largest sites for “ship-breaking,” — the dismantling of cargo and tanker ships – most of the materials are then sold for scrap metal. The town, situated about 50 kilometers northwest of Karachi, experienced the heyday of ship-breaking from 1969 to 1983. However, in 2001, the Pakistani government reduced the duty on scrap for ship-breaking from 15 to 10 percent, which spurred a resurgence in the industry. Often, workers are paid around €1.50 - €3 per day, which is about the average wage in Pakistan. However, the work is dangerous and the vast majority of the workers do not have adequate clothes, protection against chemicals or other irritants, or proper medical care. In 2003, The Associated Press reported that there was no hospital in Gadani and that there was only one ambulance to take injured workers one hour away to the nearest hospital in Karachi.

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