Launch Capsize: Case filed against unnamed | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 08, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:48 AM, April 08, 2021

Launch Capsize: Case filed against unnamed

Govt bodies concerned ‘not IDing’ the other vessel involved

Government bodies concerned are apparently not identifying the bulk carrier that rammed a passenger launch in the Shitalakkhya in Narayanganj on Sunday killing 34 people.

Around 60 hours after the accident, an official of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority yesterday filed a case with Bandar Police Station accusing unnamed persons.

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"Names of the cargo vessel and its owner could not be known. So, the case has been filed against unnamed persons. Now, police will trace the cargo vessel and its owner," said Babu Lal Baidya, assistant director of BIWTA at Narayanganj Launch Terminal, who lodged the case.

On Monday, Babu Lal told journalists that they came to know after a primary investigation that the passenger launch was rammed by tanker SKL-3.

Asked about it, he yesterday told The Daily Star that he had learnt the name of the vessel from others. But it was not confirmed.

In the case statement, the plaintiff alleged that a cargo vessel was being operated recklessly, said Dipok Chandra Saha, officer-in-charge of Bandar Police Station.

"We are trying to arrest the criminals involved in the incident," he told this paper.

The launch named Sabit Al Hasan left Narayanganj Launch Terminal for Munshiganj with nearly 50 passengers around 5:56pm on Sunday. Around 15 minutes later, it sank near the third Shitalakkhya Bridge in Koylaghat of Syedpur area when it was hit and dragged by the other vessel.

Multiple witnesses and survivors claimed that the vessel was named SKL-3.

After three days of the accident, the government authorities concerned could neither trace the vessel nor its captain.

Seeking anonymity, sources claimed that SKL-3 is owned by a ruling party lawmaker and that it was the reason for the authorities taking a slow approach in identifying the vessel.

However, The Daily Star could not reach the lawmaker concerned for comments.

This paper asked an official of the Department of Shipping to identify the owner of SKL-3, but the official refused to divulge the information and suggested filing a request under the right to information act.

Meanwhile, Safe Water Way Movement, a non-government organisation working for ensuring safe waterways, in a statement yesterday claimed that footage captured by a witness clearly shows that the vessel was SKL-3.

So, legal action must be taken against the operators and owner of the cargo, the organisation said.

PUBLIC HEARING

Hours after the accident, the district administration and the BIWTA separately formed two bodies to investigate the incident.

The bodies are going to jointly hold a public hearing today to collect information from people, witnesses, and survivors.

The hearing will be held from 10:00am to 4:00pm, said Abdullah Arefin, deputy assistant director of Fire Service and Civil Defence in Narayanganj, who is a member of both the committees.

In another development, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan yesterday claimed that accidents on waterways are declining in the country because of changes in vessel design, implementation of necessary measures, and stronger monitoring, reports UNB.

He came up with statement while addressing the inauguration of the River Security Week-2021.

 

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