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Yet another launch disaster devastates nation

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Yet another launch disaster devastates nation

Thereport24.com, Dhaka:

A launch disaster in the Padma River has once again claimed many lives. MV Mostafa-3 with more than 100 passengers on board capsized in the river while heading for Daulatdia from Paturia on Sunday noon.

The launch tilted to one side and sank after it was hit by a cargo ship, MV Nargis.

A host of people die in accidents on waterways every year. As many as 5,500 people lost their lives in 658 launch accidents from 1994 to 2014, according to media reports. Another 1,500 people have gone missing in accidents in the period.

The majority of the accidents are caused by negligence. The latest incident took place when the watercraft was hit by a cargo vessel, which cannot just be described as an accident as negligence played a large part as well.

Other causes of accidents on rivers routes include apathy of officials, wrong decision, carrying more passengers than capacity, not abiding by weather signals, and operating faulty watercrafts to satisfy greed for money.

The shipping minister should not just compensate the families of the victims and say that everything has been done. The government should consider a major overhaul of the country’s water transport system.

There is no way to accept the loss of many lives just for the negligence of a single person. The probe committee should examine whether the master had the necessary training in operating the launch. Moreover, he should be subjected to exemplary punishment so that others become more cautious and do not dare to be negligent while on professional duty.

This is also very sad that the ministry often shows indifference whenever there is any launch accident. We do hope that it will not be the case again this time. There should be organized efforts to search for every single person who is still missing.

The usual probe committees formed after accidents have never been successful in preventing future disasters. But we want the latest probe committee to meet its objectives.

We also want the ministry to take comprehensive actions to ensure that not a single man or woman will die while travelling by water.

Ends/thereport24.com/MI/Feb 23, 2015