Amid denial of responsibilities for launch accidents by the authorities, a report reveals that between 1976 and 2005, 70 per cent launch accidents happened due to design flaws. Nine NGOs working for safe waterway published that report yesterday.
Though properly designed water vessels survive 40 degree tilting our launches sink even at 15 to 18 degree tilt. It shows serious deficit in design and fitness of existing water vessels. Though there are provisions for punishment of launch owners, drivers and some others there is no such provision for the designers. The monitoring mechanism is also too weak to check plying of these unfit vehicles. Among 35,000 water vessels, only 13,000 are registered. Currently, about 2225 passenger carriers are plying the water bodies in Bangladesh. With the existing capacity of only five engineers and ship surveyors, only 850 to 900 passenger vessels can be examined in a year. So a large number of unfit vessels are plying through grave risk of accident.
Another disquieting fact is that inasmuch as 500 probe committees had been formed since independence, but only four reports were published. According to experts, even recommendations of these probe reports got little attention of the authorities. Their apathetic attitude is simply unacceptable. We urge the government to take effective measures to ensure proper designing of water vessels. There should be a provision for punishment of faulty designers. Monitoring bodies should also be properly equipped to discharge their responsibilities properly. There should not be a single incident of loss of human life that could have been avoidable.