When a vessel reaches the end of its life, the maritime company that owns it may choose to have it scrapped. Since it's typically difficult to take vessels out of the water, most shipbreaking happens at a dry dock or pier.
This industry is already extremely hazardous, and shipbreaking may be the most dangerous of all maritime work.
Shipbreaking Accident Risks
During the shipbreaking process, vessels are torn apart for scrap metal. After removing all of the equipment, workers dismantle the ship’s structure. This creates a perilous environment for workers, potentially exposing them to:
- Explosions and fires. Since workers use powerful tools to tear apart vessels, sparks may come into contact with flammable liquids, matting, lubricants, or insulation. Workers can suffer severe burns or lung damage as a result of these accidents.
- Pollutants. The shipbreaking process frequently exposes workers to various environmental pollutants, including toxic chemicals, lead, mercury, fuel residue, and asbestos. Asbestos removal can lead to a type of cancer known as mesothelioma, and paint removal may cause lead poisoning.
- Falls and falling debris. Shipbreakers must often work at great heights while attempting to dismantle and remove large pieces of steel. This is a precarious situation that easily leads to serious fall injuries, such as broken bones and spinal cord damage. Falling pieces of salvaged steel can also strike workers, causing severe head injuries and broken bones.
- Noise pollution. Shipbreaking involves a lot of metal cutting, hammering, and grinding. These loud noises may cause permanent hearing damage if workers aren’t using proper ear protection.
You Need an Attorney
If you were injured in a shipbreaking accident, you’re entitled to compensation for medical bills and lost income. Choose an experienced maritime injury attorney to fight for you and help collect the damages you deserve. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.