Captain error and poor judgement led to the sinking of the coal-laden vessel near the Sundarbans earlier this week, triggering fears of another ecological disaster in the world’s largest mangrove forest.
“Claims by the vessel’s captain and the owner that it sank after hitting a submerged sandbar are incorrect,” probe committee head, Md Mahmudul Hasan, told the Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday.
MV Bilash, carrying 775 tons of coal, sank in the Pasur River on April 15. It was the sixth such accident in the last three-and-a-half years.
Experts suspect that chemical contaminants present in the coal have already spread throughout the river and the land near Harbaria Channel.
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Save the Sundarbans Foundation Chairman, Sheikh Faridul, said it would seriously harm the marine life and biodiversity of the Sundarbans.
No steps have been taken to salvage the vessel yet. Its owner Md Dulal said the work would start in “two to three days.”
But the work is unlikely to be completed within the 15-day period stipulated by the port authorities.
Mahmudul, also the divisional forest officer of Sundarbans East Zone, said they had submitted their investigation report.
“The vessel owner did not provide any documents,” he said. “I suspect the vessel was unfit and its captain had no licence.”