A Ship a Day, A Death a Day
As visually mesmerizing as it is compelling, Shipbreakers takes the viewer into the heart of Alang, India, a vibrant shantytown where 40,000 people live and work in the most primitive conditions. Since the early '80s the rusting hulks of thousands of the world's largest ships have been driven onto the remote beaches of Alang, off the Arabian Sea, to be dismantled, piece by piece. Selling their ships for scrap, the owners rarely bother to abide by the UN Basel Convention, which bans shipments of transboundary waste. One worker a day, on average, dies on the job, some from explosions or falls, but many will contract cancers caused by asbestos, PCBs and other toxic substances. Shipbreakers vividly captures both the haunting beauty of the ships and the deplorable conditions of the workers - in an unforgettable portrayal where Third World ingenuity meets 21 st century global economics.