Thursday, 2 December, 2021

‘Shah Amanat’ yet to be salvaged

8-km tailback at Daulatdia

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 30 October, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news
‘Shah Amanat’ yet to be salvaged

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Ro-ro ferry Shah Amanat, which partially capsized in the Padma River at Paturia Ghat in Manikganj on Wednesday with over 20 heavy and light vehicles on board, is yet to be salvaged as the rescue operation continued for the third day on Friday.

It was learned that rescue ship Prottoy, which was supposed to take part in the rescue operation, was no longer going to Manikganj to salvage the ferry.

Instead, rescue ship Rustam left for Paturia from Madaripur's Banglabazar Ghat on Friday morning although it does not have the capacity to pull out the 600-tonne ferry.

Rescue workers from Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), Fire Service and Civil Defence, Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Coast Guard were working to pull out sunken cargo vehicles.

 Rescue ship Hamza, which reached Paturia earlier, is also there. However, there is no activity to retrieve Shah Amanat ferry.

Visiting the spot in the morning, BIWTA Chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq said Rustam was coming to Paturia from Shimulia instead of Prottoy to take part in the rescue operation.

BIWTA is now giving importance to retrieving the vehicles that sank along with the ferry, he said.

The BIWTA chairman said the help of private rescue ships could be taken later if necessary to salvage the ferry.

Meanwhile, one more vehicle was fished out from the river on Friday.

Around 12:30pm, a van was retrieved from the river. So far, a total of four trucks, six vans and a motorcycle have been recovered from the water.

Fazlur Rahman, in-charge of the rescue mission unit and joint director of BIWTA, said three more vans and a motorcycle were located and those will be fished out in phases.

However, none of the recovered vehicles has been handed over to their owners, many of whom gathered at the dock on Friday morning.

Meanwhile, a long queue of freight trucks has been created at Daulatdia Ghat in Rajbari’s Goalanda due to the disruption in ferry services, causing immense sufferings for drivers and workers.

A scarcity of food and toilets has intensified their woes.

Hundreds of buses and trucks were waiting till Friday afternoon to cross the river.

Long-distance buses can somehow reach the ferries, but freight trucks had to wait long hours.

According to Ghat sources, terminal No. 5 of Paturia has been closed. Only four out of seven ferry terminals are in operation in Daulatdia. As a result, ferries are not being operated smoothly.

Consequently, long queues of vehicles were seen on the Dhaka-Khulna highway at Daulatdia and about an eight-km tailback has been created on Rajbari-Kushtia regional highway at the Goalanda junction on Friday morning.

Hauliers have said they are counting losses due to the long tailbacks at the ferry terminal.

Trucks, carrying both perishable and non-perishable goods, have been reported to wait as much as 18 hours to make the crossing in one of the busiest ferry stations in the country.

The two probe committees formed by the Ministry of Shipping and Manikganj district administration visited the spot on Thursday evening.

Additional District Magistrate Sanwarul Haque, head of the probe panel constituted by the district administration, said they will submit their report to the authorities concerned within seven working days.

Around 9:30am on October 27, Shah Amanat capsized while anchoring in wharf No. 5 of Paturia Ghat.

The vessel tilted after water gushed in through a crack in its bottom while it was preparing to anchor at the dock.