South Korean shipyards have been plagued by safety accidents, with 12 workers died

Less than halfway through 2024, South Korean shipyards have already been involved in several production safety accidents that have resulted in many deaths.

At 2:23 PM on May 13, a container ship under construction at the shipyard of Daesun Shipbuilding in South Korea caught fire. The accident killed A Vietnamese worker in his 30s and a Korean worker in his 40s. One of them, B, was taken to the hospital for treatment of burns all over his body, but was pronounced dead on the morning of May 14 during treatment at the hospital. The accident also resulted in minor injuries to a firefighter during the rescue.

The Busan Fire Department, the Busan Coast Guard, the Korea Gas Safety Corporation and the National Institute of Forensic Science have launched a joint investigation. A preliminary investigation by the Busan fire department suspected that the fire was caused by a gas explosion during the dismantling of temporary pipes in the ship’s fuel tank area.

On May 9, a 22-year-old worker of a subcontracting company, HD Hyundai Samho, located in Mokpo City, Jeollanam-do, lost consciousness during a diving operation and was pronounced dead on May 10 after being taken to a hospital for treatment. On the same day, two workers, one of whom was a Cambodian migrant worker, were crushed to death in a hull structure collapse at a shipyard in Goseong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do.

At 9:10 a.m. on April 27, two workers were killed and many others were injured in an explosion and fire at the Chosok H.D. Shipyard in Geoje City, Gyeongsangnam Province, suspected to have been caused by “mixed work.” At the time of the incident, a shipyard worker was cleaning oil with diluent in the engine room of a ship to be repaired when an unidentified explosion and fire broke out.

Since the beginning of this year, South Korea’s large and small shipyards have suffered a series of major safety accidents, safety warnings have been sounded again, and the shipbuilding industry must always put safety in the first place.

According to the data of Korean metal workers, 12 workers have died in shipyard accidents this year, the Korean labor community has called on the South Korean government to provide special supervision of the shipbuilding industry and punish the main person in charge of the recent spate of fatal accidents in the shipbuilding industry.

Despite the safety measures taken by the Korean government and related companies, accidents still occur, and the Korean industry has pointed out the need to fundamentally change the labor structure. In particular, the industry said that in the case of labor shortage and the recovery and prosperity of the shipbuilding industry, the formation of “multi-level subcontracting structure” and the employment of “unskilled workers” are the causes of a series of accidents.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding

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