Two more workers die at Tuzla shipyards
The number of fatalities from work-related accidents at Istanbul's Tuzla shipyards climbed to 24 in the past 10 months alone when two more workers lost their lives in separate accidents over the weekend.
Around noon on Saturday, 26-year-old Deniz Kasikeman was killed in the Selah shipyard, crushed by a steel plate weighing over two tons as he worked.
Kasikeman was rushed to Doctor Lutfi Kirdar Kartal Education and Research Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.
The newly married Kasikeman had been working for YTL 30 a day at the shipyards.
The Selah shipyard has been inspected by officials twice in the past six months and a fine was imposed on the company operating there due to unsafe working conditions.
A statement from the Lort Marin Ship Building and Commerce Limited Company on Saturday read: "Despite all the safety measures that have been taken, we are deeply sorry over the occurrence of this tragic accident."
Before the tragic day was out, news of another fatal accident emerged at 11 p.m.: Welder Murat Caliskan, 31, suffered a fatal fall from a platform at the same shipyard.
He died before medical teams made it to the yard and his body was taken to the Tuzla State Hospital morgue.
On May 9, one worker was killed and five injured in an explosion in the engine room of a ship under construction at the Tuzla shipyards.
The yards have been the focus of recent criticism in the wake of a rash of deadly mishaps linked to unsafe working conditions.
There have been more than 50 fatal accidents in the shipyards over the last seven years, mostly electrocutions and falls.
Workers protest latest deaths
Meanwhile, workers from the Tuzla shipyards gathered in Istanbul's Beyoglu district on Sunday to protest the latest accidents.
Bearing a symbolic coffin on their shoulders, the workers carried banners that read: "Enough. We do not want to die. Does anybody hear our voice? We are dying one by one."
In a statement delivered on behalf of the workers, Port, Dockyard and Shipbuilding-Repairs Workers' Union (Limter-Is) President Zeynel Nihadioglu said blood was pouring into the sea from the Tuzla shipyards with the constant worker deaths.
He said each ship that set sail on their maiden voyages in ostentatious ceremonies bore the blood of workers who died at the shipyards.
"Not A single day passes without one of our friends either losing his life or becoming disabled. [Turkey's] shipyard managers have become fourth in the world in ship construction thanks to our efforts, while we are living like the slaves of the Middle Ages under harsh working conditions. Nor have state officials taken the slightest step to provide for our safety or solve our other problems," Nihadioglu complained.
The workers marched toward Taksim Square before ending their protest peacefully.