Towering near the banks of Buriganga River on the outskirts of Dhaka, the crude shipyards are a frighteningly dangerous if, fascinating, hive of industrial activity.
While it is not the largest shipyard in the country (that honor belongs to the Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard), the Dhaka yard in the town of Keraniganj shares the seeming disregard for worker safety that can be found in simialr industrial sites around the country. The facilities, which employ around 15,000 workers at around $5 a day, work to both break down massive shipping vessels as well as create new ships from the parts. Workers can be seen torches and welding equipment to tears huge pieces of metal from the vessels, sans eye, hand, or face protection. Other workers will be found scaling the tall ships on ramshackle ladders or strolling along the high edges of the ship decks, the only thing to keep them from falling is their own balance. Injuries are common on the site, but the buzz of activity doesn’t stop.
The ships being worked on are propped up on crude chalks creating the appearance that the river simply receded and left these hulks stranded on dry land. The space is tight so many of the boats are right up to small homes and other structures.
This is clearly a worksite that is dangerous to its employees, and even more so to careless visitors. However local guides can be found who will assist anyone curious about the industrial dangers that still plague the world.
Know Before You Go
On the Buriganga River, opposite Sadarghat (boat terminal)Coordinates for this place of frenzy are 23.701981°, 90.409969°