The launch supervisor claimed that the accident happened as the cargo vessel was plying on the wrong side of the Barisal river port area
A cargo vessel carrying 1200 tons of cement clinkers partly capsized after it collided with a passenger launch in Kirtankhola River in Barisal Sadar upazila on Saturday night.
The triple-deck passenger launch Shaharukh-2 carrying three hundred passengers on board hit the cargo vessel head-on at the Barisal river port.
Selim Hossain, a supervisor of the launch MV Shaharukh-2, said: “After the collision, we succeeded to steer the launch safely to Char Kawa of Kirtankhola shore, opposite to Barisal River-port. All passengers were evacuated to the shore safely and then shifted to another vessel MV Pubali, to take them (passengers) to Dhaka."
The launch supervisor claimed that the accident happened as the cargo vessel was plying on the wrong side of the Barisal river port area. He also said that the launch sustained damages worth Tk3 lakhs.
On the other hand Joynul Abedin, manager of the cargo company of Promising Shipping Lines, claimed the launch was plying too fast, thus it could not avert hitting the cargo in a narrow river way. It caused damages of Tk6.70 crore including cement clinkers worth Tk1.20 crore and the value of partly capsized vessel of Tk5.50 crore.
Saidur Rahman Rintu, president of Barisal Launch Owners Association, said: “Plying of water transports have become dangerous now, thus water transports are moving slowly.
Ajmal Huda Mithu, deputy director of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) and Barisal River Port Officer, acknowledging the facts, said: “The river port area has turned risky for plying water transports safely as the partly capsized cargo vessel has not been removed from the area.”
Rafiqul Islam, joint director of BIWTA and Commander of salvage operation vessel `Nirvik', said: “We can salvage vessel weighing up to 250 metric tons. But the partly capsized vessel carrying clinker weighs 1200 metric ton and the cargo vessel itself weighed 522 metric tons. So now it has become really difficult for us to salvage this vessel.”
BIWTA officials said they are trying to open alternative channels for cargo ships and passenger launches to cross the Barisal river port area.