The South Korean shipbuilding sector and related businesses have slashed workforces by about one-fifth in the first half compared to the end of last year, according to data from Korea Offshore & Shipbuilding Association cited by Yonhap.

In the January to June 2017 period, the shipbuilders and subcontracted firms let go of approximately 35,400 workers, or down by 21.3% compared to end-2016. The total number of workers stood at around 130,800 as of end-June 2017.

The protracted slump of the shipbuilding industry has led to the country’s three leading yards – Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) – implementing self-rescue plans including asset sales and workforce reductions.

In 2016 alone, around 37,000 workers or 18.3% of the total left the shipbuilding and related sectors.