Deadly Jhalakathi launch fire

Make waterways safe journey

Published : 24 Dec 2021 09:15 PM

We are deeply shocked and saddened at the loss of lives in Jhalakathi launch fire incident in the early hours of Friday. Reportedly, at least 39 people were killed and over 200 others injured when a fire broke out in a Barguna-bound launch the ‘MV Abhijan-10’ in Jhalakathi at about 3am on Friday.

When the massive fire broke out in the launch, engulfing one after another cabin, passengers were sleeping.  Of them 39 were burned alive in the horrific fire and many other received serious burn injuries. 

The launch carrying about 800 passengers including children and elderly people was going to Barguna from the capital Dhaka. Most of the passengers jumped off the vessel and swam to the shore as the fire broke out. 

The engine room of the vessel suddenly caught fire which soon spread all over the launch while it was on the middle of the Sugandha River near Gabkhan Dhanshiri area in Sadar upazila of Jhalakathi district.

The government must give justified 

compensations to the families of the victims

When the number of waterway accidents is not falling, the devastating fire at a launch has created a fresh panic among the people who travel by water vessels. The sad news of innumerable deaths in fire accident on waterway cannot be accepted at all. It is a natural phenomenon and considered as a universal truth that death can come anytime anywhere. But we do not want to see any recurrence of such devastating fire incident like that of the killing of 39 people at burning launch.

The authorities will have to monitor operation of water vessels. In this regard, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority must take necessary measures to stop plying of unfit, risky and illegal vessels.

The shipping ministry formed a seven-member inquiry committee to probe a launch fire incident asking it to submit its report to the ministry within the next three working days. Therefore, we think the government must find the reasons behind the fire incident and ensure exemplary punishment of those responsible for it through an investigation. The government must give justified compensations to the families of the victims and ensure proper treatment of those injured in the fire. The government, authorities and owners and staff of water transports will also have to take effective steps to make waterways safe.