Tarique, Coco Being Sued
Wednesday, 02 December 2009

Shipping minister Shahjahan Khan has said that Tarique Rahman, Giasuddin Al Mamun and Arafat Rahman Coco will be charged for the deaths in the launch disaster at Bhola.

He said Khaleda Zia's two sons are on the board of the launch company Rahman Shippers Bangladesh Ltd that owns the MV Coco-4.

He said sixteen men, including Al Mamun, who is a director of the company, already faced a case in marine court, filed on Monday last.

"Tarique and Coco will also be made accused in the case," Khan said.

Shahjahan Khan told journalists at the ministry: "As far as I know, Tarique Rahman is the managing director of the launch company and Arafat Rahman Coco is a director."

"A supplementary case is being filed against Tarique and Coco. The concerned officials have been ordered on this."

In another case, the "ferry authorities" were sued on Monday (Nov 30) in the wake of the Coco-4's capsize in Bhola that killed more than 80 people over the Eid holiday.

A case was filed in Lalmohon, the scene of the tragedy, by a surviving passenger, Muhammad Kamal from the local area, police said.

Lalmohon police chief Jakir Hossain said Tuesday the case accuses on-duty officials of the MV Coco-4 of causing the accident and deaths of passengers by overloading and attempting to dock 50 feet away from the Nazirpur launch terminal.


The Coco-4 partially capsized last Friday, the night before Eid-ul-Azha, on the river Tentulia at Nazirpur in Lalmohan, some 40 km from Bhola district town.

The death toll rose to 84 by Wednesday, as bodies continued to float to the river surface, with dozens of passengers still unaccounted for four days after the tragedy, officials say.

The vessel, crowded from hull to decks with people heading home to celebrate the holiday with families, began tipping with the weight of disembarking passengers and partially sank, according to eye witnesses.

The 600-capacity ferry was carrying more than 1500 passengers from Dhaka to Lalmohon.

Police, divers of BIWTA and firemen have been engaged in rescue operations since the early hours of Saturday.

The government has formed three separate committees to probe the accident.

BIWTA OFFICIALS SUSPENDED

Three BIWTA officials were suspended Tuesday for ignoring responsibilities regarding the launch tragedy, as rescue vessel MV Hamza was so late in reaching the accident spot, a shipping ministry statement said Tuesday.

The Hamza, a salvage and rescue vessel of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, , setting off from bordering district Barisal on Saturday morning, took more than 24 hours to arrive on the scene.

It began its operations on Sunday morning, some 36 hours after the accident, righting the capsized ferry, allowing rescue workers to better reach the hull.

The sacked officials are Md Abdur Razzaque, director of the waterway conservancy division, Md Shahjahan, a senior deputy director of the division's Barisal branch, and Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, senior deputy director of Barisal river port.

BIWTA officials said the river was low at this time of year, which caused poor navigability and delays.

Meanwhile, two vessels have been dispatched to assist the rescue and salvage work.

A trawler with 11 chains—six with capacity to lift ten tonnes and five of 15 tonnes—started from Barisal Tuesday morning.

Another rescue vessel, the MV Rustom, had also set off Monday evening from Narayanganj to assist the Hamza.

Source: bdnews24.com

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