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Report - - Shipbreaking beach, Pakistan | European and International Sites |

Report - Shipbreaking beach, Pakistan

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Waaaay back in 1985 I was in Pakistan when my friends Salim and Fakhruddin took me one Friday out to Gadani Beach, which is about an hour along the coast west of Karachi. This was one of the biggest shipbreaking areas in the world. Old ships were bought and at high tide, driven at full speed towards the beach. Just inshore there was a village made from all the wood panels taken out of the ships, where the workers lived. These guys climbed all over the ships and cut them up with oxy-acetylene, using the ships' own cranes and cables and old anchor windlesses on the shore to rip huge chunks off the ships, which were then cut into small pieces and taken by road to steel re-rolling mills where they were turned into reinforcing rods for building. It was a filthy and dangerous job, fires and accidents were frequent and many died. The precious bits, brass and so on, got stored in big "Godowns" belonging to the various breakers then sold to tourists in Karachi. We have a brass ship's compass at home.

Gadani is in a restricted military area so Westerners are not supposed to go there. So when we got spotted by a Policeman, he arrested us then jumped in the car and rode along for a couple of miles while negotiations took place. Eventually some Rupees changed hands and he jumped out happy, wishing us a safe journey. Thes pics were taken on film, so sorry about the poor quality.