Helmsman’s inefficacy behind coal cargo capsize in Pashur: Report

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The vessel carrying 775 tonnes of coal capsized in the Pashur River in Mongla upazila near the Sundarbans on Saturday due to inefficiency of its helmsman, according to a probe report.

Helmsman’s inefficacy behind coal cargo capsize in Pashur: Report

The probe committee, headed by assistant conservator of forest Shaheen Kabir, submitted its report to Mahmudul Hasan, divisional forest officer (DFO) of the Sundarbans East Zone, on Wednesday.

In the report, the committee also said the documents of the vessel were not updated.

The committee did not get any legal document of the vessel despite repeated request to the owners, Shaheen Kabir said adding, “We’re doubtful whether the helmsman had any driving license.”

Mahmudul Hasan, divisional forest officer (DFO) of the Sundarbans East Zone, said a letter was sent to the Inland Water Transport authorities seeking a copy of the registration document of the vessel. The higher authorities were also informed about the findings of the probe body.

As of Thursday morning, no initiative was taken to salvage the coal-laden vessel. At the accident point of the river, the water flows 12 feet above the sunken cargo during the high-tide.

The authorities concerned have marked the point by hanging a red flag there to avoid further accidents.

Contacted, the vessel owner said, “A private rescue team will initiate the salvation works in the morning (Thursday).”

Commander Oli Ullah, harbour master of Mongla Port, said, “If the owner fails to salvage the vessel within 15 days, it’ll be announced abandoned and the port authorities will take initiatives to salvage it.”

Kamruzzaman Sarker, a senior chemist of the Department of Environment in Khulna, said they have taken water samples from three points around the accident place in the river and could not find any abnormality after laboratory tests.
However, Prof Dr Mahmud Hossain of Forestry and Wood Technology Discipline of Khulna University said nothing to be found in the water as the current in the accident place was very high.

He also said the ecosystem of the Sundarbans will be affected by repeated incidents of coal vessel capsizing near the Sundarbans.

On April 14, the Jashore-bound ‘MV-Bilash’ sank in the river around 10pm after loading coal from its mother vessel, MV-Observatory, at the port.

The incident occurred as the ship ran aground in a hidden shoal as it followed a wrong route.

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