Thursday, January 10, 2013

Where ships go to die

Did you ever wonder what happens to all of those massive ships when they are no longer wanted or needed? They almost all wind up in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, where they are run up onto the beach then hacked apart by natives using little more than hand tools.

These massive breakers yards go for miles along the beaches in these places, with dozens or even hundreds of ships in various stages of deconstruction.

To see the Alang, India yard up close, view it here on Google Earth. Go in for a closer view and then pan up and down the beach to get an idea of how huge that operation is.

Ships, the largest and most complex machines made by man. It's sad to see them end this way--beached then cut them like big blocks of cheese.

If it looks dangerous, it is. These guys get maimed or killed regularly, and the ones who don't can expect health problems from all of the toxins the deal with. Note the total lack of respirators or other safety gear.

If you find this appalling, thank American environmentalists who managed to close down all of the ship-breaking yards in this country because they were so worried about a little asbestos and perhaps a bit of oil spillage. The end result is unemployed Americans and lots of deadly work and pollution in unregulated third-world countries.


  1. Yep, not to mention the lost $$... And all that steel goes straight to China!

  2. It’s as if one is watching a science fiction movie and reaffirms the lack of value third world countries place upon a human life. Sadly we as a nation are only partially removed from such perspective here with vivid evidence in the coal, steel and textile industries for much of our history. If the overall public knew how bad the coal companies are I doubt most would care.

  3. If you can find a copy of this, it is worth watching.

  4. Neat video at today's scrap prices they make a good living at that.

  5. William Langewiesche (you might recognize the name--his dad wrote Stick and Rudder) has a long chapter about this beach in The Outlaw Sea. Vivid descriptions and analysis. Highly recommended.