Some 40Kms west of Karachi, Gadani’s ship-breaking yards employ about 10,000 workers including welders, cleaners, crane operators and worker supervisors. The yards are one of the largest ship-breaking operations in the world rivaling in size those located in India and Bangladesh. It takes 50 workers about three months to break down a midsize average transport sea vessel of about 40,000 tonnes.
The multimillion-dollar ship-breaking industry contributes significantly to the national supply of steel to Pakistani industries. For a six-day working week of hard and often dangerous work handling asbestos, heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), employees get paid about 300 USD a month of which half is spent on food and rent for run-down rickety shacks near the yards, a labour representative told AFP.