The scrapping of ships is taking place at several sites along the coast of Bangladesh. The area of Fauzdarhat, a 16-km beach situated approximately 20-km south-west of Chittagong, is undoubtedly the most important. Parallel ship-breaking activities taking place here, represent the second largest facility in the world with respect to the numbers of vessels being scrapped. In size (no. of vessels scrapped per annum), only Alang/Mumbai (India) represents a larger capacity.
However, these facilities are recognised by attending to smaller tonnage than that of Chittagong.
Chittagong is the largest facility for large vessels, scrapping some 52% of all vessels above 200.000 dwt (1997-1998). The reason being the large tidal difference providing an intertidal zone particularly suitable for beaching large vessels.
Ship-breaking was initiated in this area in 1969 and has now grown into a considerable industry occupying a large number of people, not only in the breaking process itself, but also in association to the processes of refining and material re-use. It is believed that more than 100,000
individuals earn for their livelihood from the scrapping activities of Chittagong.