28 February 2010

Ship Breaking Yards in Alang, India

Alang Chittagong Ship Breaking

The ship breaking yards in Alang, India,  and in Chittagong, Bangladesh, are where more than half of the world’s old ships, oil tankers and ocean liners  go to be beached like huge whales, stripped, cut into pieces, and cannibalized for iron and steel to be used in building new ships.

These hell holes are not just a killing ground for old vessels; thousands of hapless, but able-bodied young men have lost their lives doing back-breaking work in one of most hazardous working conditions in the world. Not only do they have to work without any basic safety equipment, they have to also endure prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals and waste matter during the course of work. Lung cancer and asbestosis is quite common among these poor souls.

Alang located on the western coast of Gulf of Cambay, in the western part of India, is the largest ship-recycling yard in the world. Ever since its inception in 1982, Alang has emerged as one of the choicest ship-scrapping destinations for the ship owners around the world. Hundreds of ships from all over the world find their final resting place in Alang every year.

There are 173 plots to carry out the ship-recycling activities. This activity forms an industry by itself, as it provides around 30,000 jobs in Alang itself and generates steel totaling to millions of tons every year. That too, with minimum consumption of electricity.

The world’s largest graveyard of ships in terms of capacity, Alang completed recycling 5,000 vessels a few weeks back since its beginning in 1982.

(  February 2010)“Around 281 ships  have been recycled this financial year. Another 125 ships are being broken for recycling at different yards,” said the Ship Recycling Industries Association of India, which represents 160 recyclers based at the breaking port.

Visit this link to see some haunting photographs of decaying ships and desperate men, and also some information about them compiled from various sources.


  1. I have seen photo exhibits of this very subject. Very haunting subject matter, with images that really stick in your mind. Thanks for this interesting post, Angie!

  2. Oh the photos I could take there.... I see a photo safari in my heart!

    Fascinating Angie!

  3. What an interesting story Angie. Thank you for sharing.

  4. The man who owned the garage before we did, when he was 13 or 14, He went to Dundee and applied to become a ship hand (for whalers) - he made a lot of money doing that and traveled all over the world, mainly hudson bay though. Anyway, when he died he left a lot of whaling stuff, I mean a LOT!! We gave all of it to the Whaling Museum at Dundee where it can still be seen today. The only thing that didn't make it to the Museum was this old carving by an Eskimo. I don't know how I managed it but I have that now. It's about 110 year old (at least) hand carved and the paints, well I'll let you used your imagination where they got paint from LOL.