Launch capsize

Rights group want punishment to guilty

08 August 2014 STAFF REPORTER

The 16 coastal and rights group orgainsations working in the coastal areas said, irregularity and mismanagement contribute to repeated naval accidents in the country.
On behalf of the organisations, M Mojibul Haque, an Executive of the Coast Trust, read out a written statement at a press briefing in the lounge of the National Press Club yesterday (Thursday) and asked for awarding exemplary punishment to the guilty.
The statement says, the incident of Pinack-6 sinking is not mere an 'accident', but consequence of an apparent irregularity and mismanagement of the officials and the owners.
The sunken launch was carrying nearly 300 passengers whereas it had the capacity for 85 passengers only, it says.
The metrological office showed the river signal No-2 along the Padma on that day. According to the signal rule, no water transport, which is below 65 feet in length, is permitted to cruise in the river.  As the length of Pinack-6 was 52 feet only, it had no legal authority to sail with passengers within limit or beyond. Besides, the fitness certificate of the sunken launch expired in April.
After the emergence of Bangladesh, about 500 investigation committees have been  
to dig out the reasons behind the naval accidents but none of them except three committees submitted the inquiry report so far.
In the reports, it has been said that irregularity, mismanagement and unfit masters contributed to the accidents. The written statement read by M Mojibul Haque pointed out that the outcome of the cases filed after launch accidents had no impact at all.
About rescue operations, it said, the rescuers began their work from the point where the launch Pinack-6 sank in a strong current three hours ago.  Is it possible to locate the vassal there? The statement commented. It is nothing but 'eyewash'.  The number of divers is 25 only.
In the press briefing, several recommendations were made to avert future accidents. These are bringing the defective design approver and the launch owner to book, cancellation of licenses of unfit naval vassals, decentralisation of design approval system, assigning police forces in marine magistrate court, payment of compensation to the victims, officially maintaining passengers' list, assigning additional police and magistrates at launch jetty during the two Eids and coordination of work.
The statement called for preparation of a list of the water transports now sailing in he rivers and coastal areas.
 The organisations, which organised the press briefing, were Aurpan, Akash, Udyan Bangladesh, Nirapad Noupath Bastabayan Andolan, NBS, SDO, Prantojon, Shapla Phul, Pran, Docap, Grous, Pulse Bangladesh, Royal Bengal Foundation, Somaj, CDP and Coast Trust.  

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