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Over 3,600 killed in waterway accidents in 28 years

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, Dhaka
Over 3,600 killed in waterway accidents in 28 years

A total of 570 vessels have sunk in waterway accidents across the country in 28 years since 1991 leaving 3,654 people dead and 489 missing, according to statistics of the Department of Shipping and other sources.

Although the country witnessed no significant waterway accidents in 2019, two major accidents in the first six months of the current year have killed 45 people with the latest one taking place on Tuesday that left 34 people dead.

The Tuesday accident took place when MV Morning Bird and MV Mayur-2 collided at Farashganj Ghat near Sadarghat in the Buriganga River. Sunken Morning Bird was carrying about 60 passengers.

On February 06 this year, a small wooden boat with 130 passengers sailing from Bangladesh to Malaysia sank in the Bay of Bengal killing at least 11 Rohingyas and leaving several others missing.

According to Shipping Department data, 242 people have died and 169 gone missing in 72 launch accidents in five years ending 2018. 
Of them, 31 people were killed and 29 went missing in 17 accidents in 2018, while 37 people were killed and 21 remained missing in 15 accidents in 2017, 28 people died and seven went missing in nine accidents in 2016, 39 people died and 27 went missing in 13 accidents in 2015 and 107 people were killed and 85 went missing in 13 launch accidents in 2014, shows the data.

The country recorded the highest number of accidents in a single year in 2004 when 41 vessels, both passenger-carrying and goods-laden, capsized in different waterways in the country. 

However, the most fatal year for waterways was 2003 when 464 people lost their lives, according to the department.

About the latest accident on Tuesday, Director General of Department of Shipping Syed Ariful Islam told this correspondent that the accident occurred, according to primary investigation, due to negligence of the launch drivers. 

According to sources, around 1,500 cases filed over waterway accidents in the country are still pending with the marine court due to a slow process of trial. 
When asked, Bangladesh Nodi Banchao Andolan’s Dhaka City President Anisur Rahman Khan said as the cases are not being disposed in time, such accidents are happening randomly. 

No one is getting punished as vessel owners are disrupting trial proceedings through filing writ petitions, he said.
Once the tradition is changed, the water vessel drivers will be careful and accidents will come down, he added.

Major ferry disasters in the country: 

In May 2000, two ferries capsized due to inclement weather in Meghna River killing 73 people and leaving 100 missing. 
In December of the same year, a ferry with 400 passengers sank in Meghna River killing 158 people. 
In May 2002, in one of the deadliest waterway accidents in the country MV Salahuddin-2 sailing with 500 passengers sank in Meghna River killing 300 people. 
In April 2003, a ferry sank in Surma River killing 62 people.  In the same month, two ferries sank in Buriganga and Meghna rivers killing 200 people.
In July 2003, triple-deck ferry MV Nasrin-1 sank in Meghna River killing over 500 people, the deadliest launch accident in the country. 
In May 2004, two ferries sank in Meghna River killing about 200 people.
In February 2005, a launch sank in a river near Dhaka killing 118 people while 80 people went missing. In May of the same year, double-deck ferry MV Prince sank in Tentulia River leaving 60 people dead and more than 30 missing.
In June 2006, a launch sank in the Bay of Bengal during a stormy weather that killed 17 people and 20 other passengers went missing while in October of the same year an overcrowded ferry with 125 passengers capsized in Meghna River that killed 15 people and left 35 others missing.
In February 2008, MV Shourav with 100 passengers sank in Buriganga River that killed 39 people.
In November 2009, MV Coco-4 met an accident after it had hit a shoal leaving 75 people killed and several others missing. 
In December 2009, a motorboat capsized in Daira River killing 47 people.
In March 2012, MV Shariatpur 1 with 250 passengers sank in the Meghna River that killed 147 people. 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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