COAL VESSEL CAPSIZE

Owner seeks 60 more days for salvage
Hedait Hossain, Khulna

Two other coal-laden vessels sunk on Sundarbans waterways in the last two years

  • The sunken vessel was scheduled to travel to Jessore via the Sundarbans.  
    Photo- Representational image

The owner of lighterage vessel MV Aishgati that capsized off the coast of Sundarbans with over 1,000 tonnes of coal on January 13 has asked for two more months to finish salvage operation.

Mongla Port authorities say they will consider Kazi Golam Faruk's application after its chairman returns from Dhaka.

Harbour Master Commander Md Walliullah said that Faruk had already consulted a Chittagong-based salvage firm before seeking time on Tuesday.

“He has specifically mentioned in his application that he will salvage the vessel within this period,” Waliullah said, adding that they might consider the request.

The owner said that he was doing everything he could to pull out his vessel.

Between 1984 and 1999, five other vessels had sunk near the fairway buoy. They could not be salvaged.

On January 13, MV Aishgati sank about 850-feet from the port's main channel when carrying coal to Jessore. The incident, however, did not affect the port's traffic.

It was scheduled to travel to Noapara via the Passur channel in the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest.

In March last year, a vessel carrying about 1,235 tonnes of coal sunk on the Shela River of the Sundarbans. A year before that, a cargo vessel shipping around 510 tonnes of coal capsized in the Passur channel. Both vessels were salvaged by their owners.

The government has been adamant about closing the Sundarbans waterways to commercial traffic despite concerns that incidents such as the 2014 oil tanker capsize on the Shela River could wreak havoc on the forest's already critical ecology.

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