Unidentified cargo vessel sued

Victim launch not allowed to file case

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:08, Apr 08,2021


The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has filed a case against an unidentified cargo vessel for capsizing a launch in the River Sitalakhya that killed at least 34 people, although witnesses of the accident identified the vessel that had hit the launch and ran away.

Staff of the capsized launch, ML Sabit AL-Hasan, said that they wanted to file a case against the SKL-3 cargo vessel but the police did not allow.

Manjur Ali, an employee of the launch, said that he was on the launch when the cargo vessel hit it.

‘I informed BIWTA officials about the cargo vessel but they have not mentioned its name in the case,’ Manjur said.

He said that they wanted to file the case mentioning the name of SKL-3 but the police did not allow, saying  that the name of the responsible vessel will come up during the investigation.

The Department of Shipping’s engineer and ship surveyor in Dhaka, Md Mahbub Rashid, said that the SKL-3 had no permission to ply the water route.

The owner applied for the permission but the registration process has yet to be completed, Mahbub said.

BIWTA chairman Golam Maula Sadeque said that the accident mainly took place due to ‘negligence and indifference’.

He told New Age that they had yet to get confirmation about the name and other details of the vessel that had hit the launch and that was why they had filed a case without naming any vessel.

He said that the river police would investigate the case and identify the vessel.

Narayanganj river police superintendent Meena Mahmud said that they were trying to identify and locate the vessel responsible for the accident.

The launch, heading towards Munshiganj from Narayanganj, was carrying over 50 passengers, the police said.

The launch capsized as the cargo vessel hit it and ran away Sunday evening.

The river police rescued some passengers while some managed to swim ashore, adding that the victims were mostly from Munshiganj.

The probe team chief, Rafiqul Islam, BIWTA director for marine safety and traffic management, said that they had instructed the river police and the Coast Guard to locate and seize the cargo vessel responsible for the accident.

The BIWTA will hold a public hearing over the incident today.

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