In Bangladesh, men desperate for work perform one of the world's most dangerous jobs. They demolish huge ships in grueling conditions, braving disease, pollution, and the threat of being crushed or stabbed by steel sliced from the hulls.
The bothering heat and shouts of his Mukadam mingles with the echoes of machine and men usually 30 to 70 feet below him. He has to silence it all when he turns on his blow torch and focuses solely on weakening the structure of the very ship he stands on; right now he is working on the metal holdings around the mast. He stands away cautiously as the weakened mast is hooked on to a whinge and it's pulled down. The bulking mast hits the bottom of the hull, the boom reaches his ears and touches his skin, it reminds him a little bit of his village, of his childhood, when he would drop a metal bucket in well to collect water. With no time for nostalgia he gets back to cutting another part of the hull, he does this every day for 8-10 hours; his safety net is his experience.
He is one of the 66,000 workers who work on the ship breaking yards at Alang in Gujarat and Darukhana in Mumbai. They migrate from UP, Orissa, Bihar and various other states across India in search of employment and better life. The job of these workers is to strip the raw materials from these ships and sell them to various integral industries i.e. construction, steel mills, to name a few.
The ship breaking industry as always been surrounded with myths and controversies. With many reports in the media mostly giving it a broad tag of "hazardous to environment" which is far from the truth, what ship-breaking actually does is reuse valuable raw materials striped from a dead ship, which would end up being more hazardous if left in the sea.
The primary pressing issue of ship breaking which gets skirted is its workers. The process of ship-breaking requires workers from the start to the end. Often to skirt costs; untrained contractual workers will be hired, safety equipment will be ignored and benefits will be skimmed.
In this documentary 'Echoes of Ship-Breaking' we'll be entering through the backdoor of the ship-breaking industry to.