Two workers killed while scrapping cruise ship in Turkey

2021-08-12T18:32:08+00:00 August 12th, 2021|Safety|

A fatal accident was reported on a cruise ship being recycled at Aliağa, Turkey.

On 12th July, two workers were on board the cruise ship ‘Carnival Inspiration’ when they were suddenly caught by flames, according to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

One died on the spot, whilst the other succumbed due to severe burns three days later at the nearby hospital. The exact circumstances of the accident were still unclear, but the fire reportedly broke out in the engine room.

An investigation led by local authorities was ongoing and expected to be finalised soon. 

’Carnival Inspiration’ was bought by EU-listed yard Ege Çelik. Due to lack of dismantling capacity, Ege Çelik, with shipowner Carnival Corp’s approval, subsequently moved the cruise ship to Metas, a ship recycling facility recently acquired by Ege Çelik but not yet part of the EU list.

“The heaping up of ships in Aliağa must not compromise OHS management. Cruise ships are notoriously complex structures full of compartments and potentially deadly hazards that require a skilled workforce and time to take apart,” explained Ingvild Jenssen, NGO Shipbreaking Platform Director (pictured).

“To reduce the current pressure on Aliağa, the EU needs to boost additional capacity in the EU in line with the European Green Deal. There are many ships to scrap in the coming years and those seeking sustainable solutions need more options.”

Since 1992, when a big explosion cost the lives of seven workers at Ege Çelik, local NGOs have reported at least 47 occupational deaths in Aliağa. 

“The causes of the accidents have sadly remained the same over the last 30 years. Workers, however, also fall sick and die of occupational diseases many years after being exposed to toxics. Cancer rates in Aliağa are much higher than the Turkish average. Yet, industry stakeholders continue to claim that there are no occupational diseases at the shipbreaking yards. Workers’ health violations and illegal practices with regards to removal and disposal of hazardous materials, such as asbestos, are ignored,” said Asli Odman, Academic and Volunteer at Istanbul Health and Safety Labour Watch.

“Aliağa is dying, along with its shipbreaking workers, under the very heavy load of full commission books and growing profits for an untransparent sector that is cutting corners on safety and environmental protection. Europe needs to take the lead in demanding higher standards and should no longer assume that conditions are satisfactory just because they are seemingly compliant on paper,” she added.