Taking on beached oil tankers and ships, ship breakers expose themselves to asbestos, lead and other toxic materials as they attempt to break down the supposedly unsinkable. In the developed world, the process of scrapping ships is more regulated — and therefore more expensive. That’s why most of the breaking is done in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.
Once the vessels have been gutted, laborers use torches to slice the remaining bits into pieces. Unsurprisingly, many of these people are crushed by falling pieces of metal or suffocate in the ship. But due to ship breaking’s highly profitable nature and the destitution of those working on them, little has been done to ameliorate the situation. You can learn more about these men and their plight at National Geographic.