Second salvage vessel is expected to join the operation Friday
The salvage operation of Ro-Ro ferry Amanat Shah, which flipped onto its side and sank in the Padma River at Paturia ferry terminal, Manikganj, has come under scrutiny as the salvage ship is yet to find a way to recover the nearly 1,000-ton vessel.
However, rescue ship Hamza, which has a 60-ton capacity, managed to pull up five covered vans on the second day of the operation on Thursday.
SM Sanwar Hossain, commander of Hamza, said there were still a few more sunken trucks waiting to be salvaged besides the ferry itself.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, a seven-member probe body formed by Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) started its investigation into the incident that luckily did not see any casualties.
No rescue ship has the capacity
Fazlur Rahman, chief coordinator (joint director) of BIWTA's rescue unit, said the weight of the sinking ferry Amanat Shah was beyond the capacity of government-level rescue ships.
The technical committee will decide how to salvage the age-old ferry in any other way after salvaging the rest of the submerged cargo vehicles, he said.
BIWTA Director Md Shahjahan said another rescue vessel named Prottoy, which has a capacity of 250 tons, was on its way to join the salvage operations. The rescue ship left Chandpur on Wednesday and is expected to reach the scene on Friday.
However, he expressed doubt about the salvaging work as the ferry is too heavy even for the two savage vessels combined.
Currently, Hamza is only rescuing the vehicles stuck in the half-submerged ferry.
Loaded with at least 17 heavy vehicles -- mostly trucks -- and more than a dozen motorcycles, the ferry had tilted on its side on Wednesday morning and sank soon after it docked at Terminal No 5.
It was on its way to Aricha from Rajbari’s Daulatdia ghat when it sank at Paturia. Only three vehicles had gotten off when the vessel capsized, witnesses said.
Most of the passengers managed to swim to shore and no casualties have been reported yet.