Ship Breaking Yard of Gadani – Gaddani, Pakistan - Atlas Obscura

Ship Breaking Yard of Gadani

Gaddani, Pakistan

The third largest ship breaking yard in the world has created an eerie shipping graveyard in southern Pakistan. 


Uncluttered beaches with gleaming white sand and gently lapping waves are really quite common. Or at least images of them are, as they decorate office cubicles, computer screen savers and vacation photo albums the world over.

In Gadani, however, the beach has a different aesthetic. It’s the third-largest ship breaking yard in the world, and it’s not a joke to say that this beach is where ships go to die. Gutted and disassembled shells of boats large and small are scattered up and down this otherwise idyllic beach.

Dragged ashore and harvested for scrap metal and equipment, many of these ships are just skeletons as they wait any number of months to reach complete disassembly, their rusted hulls listing and breaking apart, half-submerged in the water. This is a graveyard unlike any other, where the bodies of ships lie silent, enticing curious explorers, history buffs and especially the mechanically inclined to take a look at the now mostly useless fleet of ghost ships.

Parts of these ships will live on for years, of course, as part of the mechanical or electrical assemblies of newer, faster ships. Others are melted down and formed into new shapes entirely. But any visitor without any investment in the salvage will tell you — it’s what’s been left behind that is most interesting. 

Know Before You Go

Head South from the town on Gaddani Road before turning right on the aptly named Shipbreaking Yard Road. How can you go wrong?

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June 5, 2013

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