Launch disaster becomes regular phenomenon

Ahamed Ullah

30 June, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Launch disasters in Bangladesh’s inland waterways are becoming a recurrent phenomenon.

The latest of these tragedies occurred on Monday, in which at least 32 lives were lost after a passenger launch carrying around 70-80 passengers capsized in the Buriganga River after it was hit by another vessel.

For years, the country’s river route has been ridden with tragic disasters every year, incurring a heavy toll of human lives.

A passenger launch---M.V. Rajhangshi capsized in the River Meghna upstream of Chandpur after a head-on collision with another passenger launch Jolkopot-2 on December 29, 2000. The accident claimed 162 lives, all were on board Rajhangshi.

People still recall with shock the painful memories of MV Salahuddin -2 that capsized in a storm at Satnal on Dhaka-Bhola route of Meghna River on 3 May 2002, killing around 363 lives.

A total of 110 persons died when ferry Nasrin-1 sunk at the mouth of rivers Meghna and Dakatia in Chandpur.

Around 200 people were missing and many others injured in the accident on July 8, 2003.

On May 23, 2004, at least 81 people were killed as 'MV Lighting Sun' sunk near Ananda Bazar in Chandpur.

On the same day, another double-decker launch, MV Digonto, with 200 passengers aboard, and a cement-loaded cargo vessel capsized after being hit by a twister on the Meghna between Ekhlaspur and Kanudi near Chandpur, leaving 47 persons dead.

The ML Majlishpur, carrying about 90 members of a wedding party, capsized in the Meghna River, leaving 51 persons dead on April 21, 2003.

A total of 19 people were killed in the accident of ML Shah Parannear near the Meghna Bridge on October 23, 2006.

On November 27, 2009, MV Coco-4 capsized near Nazirpur launch terminal in Lalmohon with around 2,000 passengers on board, leaving 81 people dead and many missing.

On 15 May 2014, double-decker launch MV Miraj-4 capsized in the Meghna River carrying 200 people were on board, of whom about 75 survived. The official death toll stood at 54 with many missing.

 On August 4 in 2014, Pinak 6 sank in the Padma River as it was overcrowded with nearly 200 passengers, killing around 70 people.  Experts said the reasons for these accidents include major faults in design and construction, structural weakness, lack of adequate safety measures and qualified crew, weaknesses in inspection procedures, obtaining fitness certificate through unfair means, overloading, disregard for weather forecast and negligence in duty on the part of both the vessel’s crew and the controlling authority.