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Shipbreaking in Alang India

Hey All,
Has anyone shot in Alang – the shipbreaking yard in India along the Beach? I was wondering if one needs permission to get in there or deal with the indian bureaucracy. Or can you just walk onto the beach and shoot away?


by [a former member] at 2005-06-30 13:56:18 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) New York , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Hi Ben,

According to my Lonely Planet you have to get permission for pix from the Port Officer (Tel: 293020), Gujarat Maritime Board, New Port Bhavnager 5. My copy is a little out of date, but i hope this helps…



by Richard Humphries | 01 Jul 2005 00:07 | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | | Report spam→
yo ben, sorry I missed your call. try Srini Kuruganti, he’s worked there fairly recently.


by teru kuwayama | 01 Jul 2005 07:07 (ed. Jul 1 2005) | brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→

Had a friend go there about two years ago – very tight on letters but he managed to get all the neccessary letters/permissions (it helped having an Indian PIB accreditation card) and have access for a day or so even then authorities were very anxious about his presence there after a TV crew had done an expose of ‘unsafe working practices’. I think that walking in off the beach would be an unlikely scenario. If I can find out more details of whom to contact I’ll let you know.

Good luck and all bests


by [former member] | 02 Jul 2005 05:07 | New Delhi, India | | Report spam→
I was there a little more than a year ago and couldn’t get into the main gate without money and permission. But, I walked around the nearby salvage yards (south of the main gate) and found a couple of unguarded pathways in. After that, though, there’s a second set of gates (one for each breaking company) to get access to the actual shoreline. The main gate and secret entrances only grant access, from what I saw, to the inner city. It’s a little like a military base. There are many guards with shotguns who’ll give you a stern eye, but if you look like you know what you’re doing….

by M. Scott Brauer | 02 Jul 2005 06:07 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
I tried back in march, access was given but the whole thing was mickey mouse from the start. You need to personaly visit the Alang Maritime Board in Gandhignar (faxes just seem to vanish) you wait around around they give you a speel on how lucky you are, then you gety to the yards and none of the yards let you photograph. You pay an absolute fortune – $150 per day and you get told to basically F@&k off. I had a major run in with the port commisioner as he wouldn t give my money back. I was there for 3 days and was basically robbed.

by keith judd | 12 Aug 2005 09:08 | Bristol, United Kingdom | | Report spam→

Ed Kashi shot shipbreaking in Pakistan. He may have some tips.
(The only shipbreaking yard in Pakistan, and one of the largest in the world, exists in Balochistan, along 5 miles of the Gaddani Beach. Diverse quantities of ships, including supertankers, from all over the world dock in this ship graveyard awaiting dismantling.)

by [former member] | 12 Aug 2005 10:08 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
There is a review of a camera and some useful information on the Chittagong Ship Breaking Yards in Bangladesh at http://www.luminous-landscape.com/locations/ship-breaking.shtml


by Martin Shakeshaft | 12 Aug 2005 13:08 | Stone, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
hi, i have facilitated a feature story for guardian some time back. i have got good contacts around that area. let me know what exactly u plan to do there, how long u want to stay there.  u can even call me at +919811282046, cheers,

by Sanjay Jha | 20 Nov 2005 12:11 | New Delhi, India | | Report spam→
Edward Burtynsky  http://www.edwardburtynsky.com/ did a very beautiful set on the Chittagong yard. He uses large format , and not suprising spends a great deal of time doing pre-prep , I think he paid someone to map the area out in detail so he could plan the light. Perhaps you could email him for advice. It would certainly be worth looking at the piccies.

by Louis Porter | 20 Nov 2005 18:11 | Melbourne, Australia | | Report spam→
I visited the Sitakunda site in Bangladesh in January 2005 with Michael Reichmann. Several pictures can be seen on my site www.ventsdest.net under Gallery/Bangladesh/sceneries

by Pierre Claquin | 21 Apr 2007 20:04 | Dol de Bretagne, France | | Report spam→
I gave it a try last year all the running around, went to the maritime board in Gandhignar, finally got permission, paid nothing. Went to the yards with my papers……….. THey said they would have to check them and a fee upfront… basically come back in a week ………….I kept my money, didn’t trust the mob

by Imants | 21 Apr 2007 22:04 | ok I give up... who am I, Australia | | Report spam→
I have not visited Alang but I met this afternoon in Saint Malo (Britany, France)a bookstore owner who has been visiting India twice a year for the past 15 years, is an amateur photographer and happened to try to visit Alang at the time of the controversy with the Clemenceau (probably not the smartest time to visit, I agree). Although he managed, somehow, to get in he was cornered by thugs of the local maffia, had his camera forcibly taken away and was physically threatened. Apparently the local maffia was upset thet he was French and it was angry at the financial losses of the posible return of the ship to France.

I have a direct experience of negotiating the visit of a team of 11 photographers to the Bangladesh Sitakunda shipbreaking site in January 2005 in Bangladesh (with Michael Reichmann). It happened because of my personal connections with the owner of 7 sites ( I have worked 15 years in Bangladesh). Still it was tense and photographers were not really welcomed because of the (justified) bad press these sites have received in the past on health and human rights issues. In Chittagong there is one death per week, not counting the workers maimed for life.

My advise, if you do not mind, is to be extremely careful. PJ are the ennemies and the owners of these sites and their goons are upset about the bad press they have received in the past. A quick search on the web documents this.

Good hunt

by Pierre Claquin | 21 Apr 2007 22:04 | Dol de Bretagne, France | | Report spam→
No, they just dont allow. The ship breakers lobby is just too strong and therefore permissions are probably not given.

I was mobbed too, last year, but was lucky to get away with some images. That is when I had a permission, which was later declined.

by Amit Bhargava | 22 Apr 2007 03:04 | New Delhi, India | | Report spam→
Hi Ben

Two years back – while staying in Mumbai – I tried to get permission to shoot in Alang as well. At that time I “only” contacted the Gujarat Maritime Board by e-mail, snail mail and phone – that was of NO use at all.

I think your only chance is to show up personally at the Port Trust Offices in Bhavnagar and be ready to pay up front although as mentioned earlier by other LS-members you will most probably be told to f#¤%& off!

I think Chittagong or Pakistan should be easier. I have heard that Turkey has some nasty shipbreaking yeards as well.

Good luck

by Poul Madsen | 27 Apr 2007 05:04 | Vejle, Denmark | | Report spam→
Ben, I read this book and it was very helpful in understanding the shipbreaking in India. It even mentions the impact that Salgado’s photography had on the operations. . .
The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime by William Langewiesche
Bueno Suerte

by [former member] | 27 Apr 2007 17:04 | Washington DC, United States | | Report spam→
Chip, Can you, in a sentence or two, summarize what Suerte’s book says about the impact of Salgado’s photography?

by Thorne Anderson | 28 Apr 2007 09:04 | Amsterdam, Netherlands | | Report spam→
""The Dream

What if you had been dreaming of shooting in a unique and exotic location for several years, and had been actively planning to go there for the previous 12 months? Then, when the day arrived, you ended up with just one hour to fulfill your dream. This happened to me at the ship-breaking yards in Chittagong, Bangladesh in January, 2005.""

ohhhhh my god! how FANTASIC we are!

by [former member] | 02 May 2007 06:05 | Ibiza, Spain | | Report spam→
In his book “The Outlaw Sea” William Langewiesche writes that Greenpeace and several other organizations have been working very hard since the 1990s to eliminate or better-regulate the shipbreaking in Alang. He writes:
“Their task was made easier from the outset by the work of the emotive Brazilian photojournalist Sebastiao Salgado, who came upon the story when it was young, in 1989, and captured unforgettable images of gaunt laborers and broken ships on the beach in Bangladesh. In 1993 Salgado exhibited his photographs at several shows in Europe and in his superb picture book Workers, which was widely seen. An awareness of the particular hardships of shipbreaking began to percolate in European consciousness, as did the suspicion that perhaps somehow a caring West should intervene.”
He also talks about the Baltimore Sun winning the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for their investigation of shipbreaking in Alang. The book also talks about most shipbreaking moving to Bangladesh because of the negative attention to Alang.

by [former member] | 03 May 2007 03:05 | Washington DC, United States | | Report spam→
hi ben
siddharth babaji 4 india
had met u @ kumbh mela
we roamed 2 gather in naga baba camps
the penile moment
yes u can walk on the beach the better thing would be 2 get pib card from delhi
all well cheers

by pappu | 03 May 2007 06:05 | mumbai, india, India | | Report spam→

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