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ED: When will we learn our lesson?

  • Published at 06:38 am April 6th, 2021
launch disaster accident
DHAKA TRIBUNE

The individual guilty for causing the collision must be brought to book immediately

By now, we should have had a better mechanism in place to prevent launch disasters. By now, we should have known the risks, we should have had more stringent safety protocols in place. Let us face the facts: Bangladesh is not new to disasters on the waterways. Year after year, we see vessels sinking in our rivers, resulting in large numbers of deaths. 

Death by drowning is unspeakably tragic, and yet, such incidences seem to have become practically normalized in Bangladesh. Sunday’s launch capsize in the Shitalakkhya River is just the latest in a long series of horrific launch disasters in Bangladesh, made all the more disturbing by the fact that it could have been prevented. 

The accident comes down to irresponsibility and incompetence, in other words, human error: The launch, with an estimated 150 passengers on board, sank after colliding with a cargo ship at the mouth of Syedpur Koyla Ghat in Munshiganj. What is particularly egregious is that the cargo vessel was able to flee the scene after the collision.

The first priority right now, of course, is to deal with the tragedy -- find the bodies of those who have perished so that their loved ones may get closure, and help the grieving families with any assistance they need. Just as important, however, is to hold errant launch operators accountable. The individual guilty for causing the collision must be brought to book immediately, and a clear message must be sent through exemplary punishment. If launch operators are not held accountable, these disasters will never end.