On Sunday, passenger vessel ML Sabit Al Hasan sank after colliding with cargo ship MV SKL-3 due to erratic movement of the latter, leaving at least 34 people dead
Bangladesh Coast Guard has detained the allegedly unauthorized cargo vessel reportedly responsible for the recent tragic capsize of a passenger launch on the Shitalakkhya River at Pathorghat of Narayanganj.
The cargo vessel MV SKL-3 along with 14 of its sailors was detained in Gazaria upazila of Munshiganj at 1:45pm on Thursday. All the detainees have been handed over to Muktarpur Naval Police.
Bangladesh Coast Guard Media Wing Lt Commander Amirul confirmed the report to Dhaka Tribune.
The detainees will be produced in court on Friday in a case filled by BIWTA Deputy Director Babu Lal Vaidya with Bandar police station on Tuesday.
At 5pm Thursday, the cargo was brought to Narayanganj Port police station for handing over.
According to Coast Guard police sources, the detainees were interrogated. One of the cargo driver said that ML Sabit Al Hassan was trying to overtake the cargo and that is when the collision occured on Sunday. The cargo then fled from there.
The cargo was later painted in a different colour so that no one could identify it.
Lt Commander Amirul said Coast Guard police were conducting drives as part of regular observation. At that time, based on secret information, they spotted a cargo vessel anchored in the Gazaria area.
He added that the color of the cargo had been changed and so it was not possible to say whether this cargo vessel was indeed SKL-3.
Earlier, officials of the Department of Shipping, on condition of anonymity, said the cargo vessel MV SKL-3 was owned by Sheikh Sarhan Naser Tanmoy, a Bangladesh Awami League politician and member of parliament from Bagerhat 2.
The cargo vessel was on the river illegally as it was yet to receive clearance from the Department of Shipping.
On Sunday, the passenger vessel ML Sabit Al Hasan sank after colliding with the cargo ship MV SKL-3 due to the erratic movement of the latter, leaving at least 34 people dead.
A joint public hearing of the two committees of the Ministry of Shipping and the district administration was held on Thursday from 11am to 2pm.
The testimony of relatives of the dead passengers, surviving passengers and eyewitnesses of the accident was recorded at the time.
At the public hearing, 22 people presented their statements to the Ministry of Shipping and 28 people to the district administration.
After the public hearing, Abdus Sattar Sheikh, joint secretary of the Ministry of Shipping, said: "The main objective of our public hearing was to find out the cause of the accident, how it happened and what could have been done to avoid it.
"The cause of the accident is being investigated by observing video footage and CCTV camera footage. Those found guilty in the investigation must be brought under the law."
“We have been instructed to submit this report within seven days. We hope to be able to deliver it within the stipulated time,” he added.
Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Khadija Tahera Bobby, head of the district administration's investigation committee, told Dhaka Tribune that all issues would be reviewed by the inquiry committee and necessary steps would be taken.