Survivors of MV Green Line 2 that capsized after hitting a coal-laden cargo in Kirtankhola River in Barisal Saturday afternoon claim that the accident occurred since the launch was speeding.
While talking to the Dhaka Tribune, many of them have blamed the negligence of the driver of the launch for the incident which could be fatal.
Over 400 passengers and crews were in the launch at that time of the accident. The launch has a capacity to house around 700 passengers.
The district administration has formed a five-member committee headed by additional deputy commissioner Zakir Hossain and asked it to submit a report within seven working days.
Rescue vessel MV NIRVIK, which has a capacity to pull out maximum 250 tonnes, reached the spot Saturday night.
The cargo, MV Masud-Mamun 1, was spotted at 23-metre depth and marked with buoys. It was carrying at least 525 tonnes of coal.
The rescue vessel left the spot Sunday. Officials say the cargo and the launch, weighing over 645 tonnes, could be pulled out with privately-owned rescue vessels.
The accident occurred only 20 minutes after the launch left Barisal Port.
Green Line officials say the bottom of the launch cracked after hitting the cargo near the erosion affected area of Lamchhari under Sadar area around 3:20pm.
The driver then took a U-turn and managed to anchor the launch at the shore near Charbaria while water was entering the lower deck. Some of the passengers had jumped off the launch.
The cargo turned turtle and sank immediately, while its crews managed to swim to the shore.
No casualties were reported. All the passengers and crews of the launch were transported to Dhaka by MV Sundarbans.
“The reason behind such a head-on collision in broad daylight and with clear visibility will be investigated properly, BIWTA official Azmal added.
He said that they needed to move the cargo from the spot to maintain navigability of the channel. The salvage of the capsized vessel would start after contacting with its owner.
Md Badsha, Barisal supervisor of Green Line, said that the accident created a 14x14 inch hole at the bottom of the lower deck. The vessel would be tugged to the dock for repair.
The company continued regular service between Dhaka and Barisal Sunday with MV Green Line 3, Waliullah, supervisor of Green Line’s Dhaka office, said.
He blamed the cargo for the accident, while launch passengers alleged that the launch driver had not slowed down the vessel when it reached a turn.