chittagong

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Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard | Via

Near the port city of Chittagong in Bangladesh, lies one of the largest ship-breaking yards in the world. It stretches for 18 km along the coast on the Bay of Bengal where more than 200,000 Bangladeshis break down up to 100 ships a year. Working under hazardous conditions, workers rip apart ships with their bare hands and a blowtorch to assist, dissecting the ship bolt by bolt, rivet by rivet. Every piece of metal worth salvaging is carried on to waiting trucks in the shoreline to be carried away to furnaces where it will be melted down and fashioned into steel rods. The steel accounts for half of all the steel in Bangladesh.

SoP | Scale of Work

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Chittagong Ship-Breaking Yards - Bhatiari, Bangladesh

Supertankers and giant cargo ships are the backbone of our global consumer society. Hundreds of meters long, ferrying millions of tons of goods across the globe, the sheer size of these immense vessels is awe inspiring. Construction of one such behemoth is a fascinating feat of engineering. However, the destruction and final resting place of these steel giants is even more intriguing.

Even when such a ship is not seaworthy anymore, and repairs are not economically viable, the raw material it is constructed from has some value. Nowadays ship-breaking yards tend to be located in third world countries, places far out of sight of the consumers whose supermarkets they helped supply, and where labor is cheap and environmental protection laws are lax.

There ships are chipped down bit by bit, usually by hand, and stripped of every last bit of value. Fauzdarhat, 20 kilometers northwest of Chittagong in Bangladesh, is where many of the world’s ships go to die.

Visit the Chittagong Ship-breaking Yards on Atlas Obscura…

Photo of the Day: Dancing Shadow

Six-year-old Poli works in a residential house in Chittagong. When she hears a famous song from the movies playing outside, she cannot contain her joy and begins to dance.

Photo by Md Shahnewaz Khan (Chittagong, Bangladesh); Chittagong, Bangladesh