Three non-governmental organizations have demanded to ensure annual fitness update of passenger and cargo vessels including ferries to avoid accidents.
A joint statement issued on Thursday called for the immediate establishment of a mobile court across the country to bring all types of public and private vessels that have expired (over 40 years of age) and without fitness under the law.
President of the National Committee for the Protection of Shipping, Roads and Railways Hazi Mohammad Shahid Mia, General Secretary of the Green Club of BangladeshAshish Kumar Dey, and Member Secretary of the Development Section TrustAminurRasul Babul made the demand. They also demanded the publication of the investigation reports of all the naval accidents that took place in the last five years.
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Theaccident at PaturiaGhat in Manikganj on Wednesday morning in which a significant number of cargo ferries 'Shah Amanat' crashed on the Padma River was mentioned as an obstacle to the establishment of maritime security and people-friendly modern naval communication system.
The joint statement said the manner in which the state-run Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) has been operating expired and unfit ferries year after year is not only unfortunate but also ignorance tolaws and regulations.
Such activities are also a punishable offense. Similarly, the Department of Shipping and BIWTA have shown extreme irresponsibility by not taking any legal action against these ferries so far despite being the regulatory body of the shipping sector.
The statement demanded that the concerned officials of the three organizations be brought under the law for their negligence in carrying out their state responsibilities and developing the shipping system promised by the Prime Minister. Noting that the law applies equally to all, the statement said in order to ensure maritime safety in the future, a simultaneous mobile court should be conducted across the country against all types of illegal vessels. The spokespersons demanded the involvement of the Department of Shipping and BIWTA as well as the district administration in this work.