Rescue of half-sunk ferry begins today
Efforts to lift the half-sunk ferry at Paturia terminal may begin by the evening today when the Prattoy, a rescue vessel, is likely to arrive there.
The ferry, Shah Amanat, tipped over at the terminal in Manikganj on Wednesday morning and has been lying on its side in the Padma since then.
Abdus Sattar, assistant general manager (marine) at Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), said the Prattoy left Narayanganj for Paturia only a few hours after the accident.
But the ship is moving very slowly because of strong current, he told The Daily Star yesterday.
BIWTC sources said the crane in Prattoy can lift 250 tonnes, which is about 30 tonnes less than the weight of Shah Amanat.
Satter said if the Prattoy fails to salvage Shah Amanat, another rescue ship will be hired from the private sector.
The Shah Amanat was being moored at the ferry terminal around 9:35am when it started leaning heavily to the starboard and tipped over within a few minutes with at least 14 trucks and lorries. Thankfully, the water is not deep enough for the ferry to sink completely.
Ten of the vehicles that either sank or began drifting about in the water have been brought to the shore by the Hamza, another rescue ship of the BIWTC. Of the four other vehicles, three trucks have been located and one is yet to be found, said Fazlur Rahman, chief of operations at Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority.
Disgruntled owners of the vehicles were seen waiting at the terminal throughout yesterday.
"They [the authorities] do not seem to be too eager to pull the vehicles out of the water without delay," said Harunur Rashid, whose two lorries were in the water.
"I don't know when I will get them back. I bought these on credit. What's my fault? I am suffering due to the ferry operators' fault," he told reporters.
The half-sunk ferry next to a pontoon has been slowing down ferry operations on the Padma, causing long tailbacks on both sides of the river.