The probe committee formed by the Shipping Ministry has submitted its report on the last month’s deadly launch fire on the Sugandha River.
The probe committee submitted the report on Monday night, said State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury.
“The report was submitted to the Shipping Secretary but he’s sick with Covid-19 infections. Now, I’ll go through the report. I’ll be able to say in detail once go through it,” said Khalid Mahmud.
“As far as I know the negligence of owners, workers, and drivers of MV Avijan-10 launch was detected in the report. There were problems in the dockyard, too,” he added.
The state minister said the engine had an issue for which the dockyard authorities are responsible. “Therefore, they’ll also be made accountable for the accident,” he added.
Action will be taken against the owners and others who are responsible, warned Khalid Mahmud.
Earlier on December 30, the probe committee was granted three additional days to complete its investigation.
On December 24, the Shipping Ministry formed the seven-member probe committee, asking it to submit its report within three working days. But the deadline was missed.
The confirmed death toll from the deadly fire on MV Avijan-10 rose to 49 on Monday.
On Sunday, Dhaka Marine Court issued an order to send two drivers of the launch to jail in a case over the fire.
They are the 8th accused in the case Abul Kalam (in-charge driver) and the 7th accused Masum Billah (2nd driver).
On December 28, the same court sent the two masters of the launch -- Riaz Sikder (master-in-charge) and the 6th accused Khalilur Rahman (2nd master) to jail when they surrendered before it.
Advocate Billal Hossain, prosecuting officer of the Department of Shipping, said the overall responsibility of the engine room rests with the engine drivers. Not only did they neglect their responsibilities, their role in the aftermath of the fire was presumptuous.
The fire was initially reported to have started from the engine room, he said.
If they had managed the engine room properly with perfect supervision, perhaps this horrible tragedy could have been averted, Adv Billal added.
On December 26, the chief inspector of the Department of Shipping Shafiqur Rahman filed a case against eight people, including four owners of the launch, under the Marine Act with the Marine Court. The court took cognizance of the case and issued warrants for the arrest of the accused.
The blaze broke out around 3am on December 24 on the Barguna-bound launch carrying some 800 passengers from Dhaka and it engulfed the entire vessel within 10 minutes.