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BUET for retrofitting vessels to check accidents

Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka

Experts of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology have suggested that all unfit inland water transports should undergo overhauls and have new parts in them to check accidents.
The country now has nearly two lakh unfit vessels, 24 times higher than the 8,230 registered vessels, according to the recent data provided by the Department of Shipping.
‘Our department is sufficiently capable to check the inland transports to figure out the extent of their unfitness,’ said M Rafiqul Islam, a professor and head of BUET’s naval architecture and marine engineering department.
He pointed out collision between vessels as the major cause of waterway accidents in the country in which the weaker ones lacking robustness sink.
He said thorough overhauls of the weakly made boats could add enough strength to them to endure the shock of the collision.
‘If a retrofitted vessel meets an accident and develops leaks it will be able to float for enough time to let the passengers to evacuate,’ said the professor.
Mashud Karim, a professor of the same department, said the owners often compelled the boat makers to change the design of their boats, violating the laws thus weakening them.
‘They change the length and number of decks on their own whims,’ he said.
Rafiqul Islam said the recent boat capsize in the River Meghna might not have happened should it have been built properly.
In his stern criticism of the Department of Shipping, Rafiqul said they grossly neglected their vessel inspection job that eventually increased the accidents in the rivers.
The teachers at the department also said a ship model testing centre titled ‘Towing Tank Facility’ should be set up at the university to check the inland transports’ performance, stability, resistance and other features. 
Such a centre could produce skilled hands for the country’s shipbuilding industry, they said.
Shipping minister Shajahan Khan told the news agency that there was no data on the number of country boats, launches and other kinds of vessels plying in the country.
The government has begun a boat census the main objective of which is to bring all the boats under a registration system, the minister said.
A proper registration system for boats will help reduce the waterway accidents, the minister hoped.
Over 2,100 people died and around 600 remained missing in the river accidents in last eight years, according to the National Committee for the protection of waterway, road and railway transport sectors.

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