Two shipbreaking workers were killed at two scrap yards in Sitakunda in the early hours of yesterday and Sunday afternoon.
Md Borhan, 48, was killed at Premium Trade Corporation Shipbreaking Yard at Baro Awlia of Chittagong's Sitakunda around 2:00am yesterday after being hit by an iron plate while Abul Hossain, 30, a worker of RA Shipbreaking Yard in the same area, was killed Sunday afternoon inhaling poisonous gas, sources claimed.
However, the yards claimed that Borhan was killed as a truck of the yard hit him while Abul died after “cardiac arrest”, said Officer-in-Charge Iftekher Hasan of Sitakunda Police Station.
“We are looking into the incidents,” he said.
Yard owners often give misleading information about the deaths of workers to hide accidents in their yards, said Mohammad Ali Shahin, Bangladesh Coordinator of Brussels-based NGO-Shipbreaking Platform, an international organisation working for safety at shipbreaking yards.
The two incidents further proved that workers' safety gears were not maintained in the shipbreaking yards, he said.
Md Shahabuddin, a director of Premium Trade Corporation Shipbreaking Yard, said he did not know about the incident and that he was in Dhaka.
When asked, RA Shipbreaking Yard owner Sirajuddowla maintained that the worker died of cardiac arrest. He claimed that it was a lie that the worker died inhaling poisonous gas inside a ship.
Palash Kumar Das, inspector, department of inspection for factories and establishment, said he visited the two yards yesterday.
“I think, the yard workers were not giving the accurate information and so we are waiting for the autopsy reports to be sure about the reason for the deaths.”
At least 16 workers were killed and more than a hundred others were injured in accidents in different shipbreaking yards in Sitakunda last year, according to NRO-Shipbreaking Platform.
At least 165 workers were killed in accidents in such yards between 2005 and 2016.