Probe bodies way behind deadline
Most of the probe bodies formed to investigate inland water disasters occurred in last six months have failed to submit their findings even long after the deadlines expired.
Such inaction paves the way for perpetrators to escape punishment, observe river transport experts.
After an oil tanker capsized in the Sundarbans on December 9 last year, four probe committees were formed to investigate the matter. Two of the bodies have yet to submit their reports.
The shipping ministry's probe body headed by Joint Secretary Nur-Ur-Rahman and Department of Shipping's probe body headed by Nautical Surveyor and Examiner Capt Giashuddin Ahmed were asked to submit their reports by seven and 15 workdays respectively.
On November 24 last year, passenger vessel MV Shahidut sank in the Sundarbans. Another passenger carrier trawler sank in the Meghna river killing one person.
Two probe bodies headed by DoS Surveyor and Examiner ASM Nazmul Haque got 15 workdays to submit their reports, but they failed to do so. Cargo vessel MV Nafiz sank in the Karnaphuli river near Chittagong Port on November 14. A probe body headed by Emigration and Seaman's Welfare Directorate Assistant Director Jashim Uddin Patwary was given 15 days for an investigation, but no probe report was submitted.
On November 6, clinker-laden vessel MV Safina-A-Mecca sank in the Bhairab river in Khulna. A probe body led by Capt Giashuddin Ahmed was formed a week later.
Giashuddin last week could not say anything about development of their investigation.
On September 12, another clinker-laden vessel MV Hazera-1 sank in the Pashur river near Mongla Port. A probe body formed on September 14 headed by DoS Engineer and Ship Surveyor Moyeenuddin Julfikar.
Julfikar said they could not go to Khulna for investigation due to ongoing blockade, although their 15-day deadline expired long before the political impasse began.
On October 22, MCL Shindhu sank in the Meghna and Capt Giashuddin Ahmed was asked to submit a report in 15 working days. When asked, the probe body could not say anything last week.
River transport expert Dr Abdur Rahim said, "Perpetrators hardly bother about these probe bodies because of the delay and it develops a culture of impunity."
In most cases the probe bodies could not detect technical faults in the vessels, leaving the root causes of such disasters unaddressed, said Prof Rahim, who used to teach at naval architecture and marine engineering department of Buet.