NZ Navy ship 'Endeavour' to be scrapped in Indian yards critics say exploit child labour

A former New Zealand navy ship is set to be dismantled on the coast of India, by an industry workforce critics claim is dangerous and employs child labour.

HMNZS Endeavour was decommissioned last year and is currently making her way to the scrapper's yards on the Indian Ocean.

She will be pulled apart for scrap and recycling by JRD Industries in the ship breaking yards of Alang, India.

The yards there stretch for ten kilometres and recycle half of the world's salvaged ships.

The industry has been accused of dangerous working conditions and exploiting child labour, particularly in the yards of Bangladesh and Pakistan.

"These guys are living in essentially a shanty town// they're working very long hours essentially they're climbing all over these boat using oxygen torches to break these boats to bits,” Thomas Harre of Slave Free Seas said.

The recycling yards of Alang have recently been trying to improve conditions to meet EU standards

The New Zealand Defence Force says they've checked and are satisfied the yard meets the standards of the Hong Kong international convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships.

"Now that's a bit of international law that hasn't come into force and it's only been signed by five different countries, India's not one of them neither is NZ,” Mr Harre said.

In a statement the defence force said it was aware of the concerns over scrapping ships in such countries, but intensive research had found some Alang ship scrappers had improved their practices dramatically.

Workers are "registered" with mandated rates of pay and no child labour is tolerated.

The NZDF also says the navy has visited the shipyard several times and has sent someone to closely supervise the recycling process from start to finish.                       

The Endeavour will be the first western owned warship to be dismantled in Alang. 

HMNZS Endeavout was decommissioned last year and is currently on her way to a scrapping yard off India’s coast. Source: 1 NEWS