No let-up in vessel crash on rivers

Make the waterways safe for passengers,

We express worries over the frequent water transport accident in the river routes of the country amid the ongoing lockdown. A speedboat carrying passengers on board heading towards Banglabazar from Shimulia Ghat collided with a bulkhead cargo in the Padma River near Kathalbari Old Ferry Ghat under Shibchar upazila of Madaripur district on Monday morning, killing at least 26 people and raising new concerns over maritime safety. Earlier on April 4, a passenger launch “Sabit Al Hasan” sank in the Shitalakkhya River after being hit by a bulkhead cargo vessel, leaving at least 35 dead that also sparked widespread shock.

We fear there could be more accidents on the different river routes of the country if the government did not give utmost importance to ensuring security of the waterway passengers. 

The government should take firm steps to 

ensure safety of the people who travel by 

water vessels throughout the country

However, as many people along with their families will start going their village homes from their respective metropolitan cities including capital Dhaka and district towns to celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr with their near and dear ones, the shipping ministry will have to form vigilance teams to monitor the overall situation of waterway sector to ensure safe journey of the passengers. 

Also, authorities concerned must conduct operations to deter and stop illegal water passenger vessel operators across the country.

Frequent waterway accidents can be averted if the regulatory and monitoring agencies of the water transport sector plays their due role. Besides, the government will have to take strict measures against owners of unlicensed and run-down water vessel.

Competitive attitudes among the workers of water transports to reach destinations early and lack of training and awareness among workers are causing fatal disasters on waterways. Taking all into consideration, the government should take firm steps to ensure safety of the people who travel by water vessels throughout the country.