At Least 27 Killed in Ferry Collision in Bangladesh

Ferry terminal, Dhaka, Bangladesh (file image courtesy World Bank)

Published Apr 6, 2021 3:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

At least 27 passengers were killed in a collision between a ferry and a cargo vessel in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Sunday evening. 

The collision occurred while the ferry Sabith Al Hasan was making a crossing of the Shitalakhsya River, just south of the city. 19 passengers successfully abandoned ship and survived by swimming to shore. According to local officials, about 22 people were trapped inside when the vessel capsized and sank. Their bodies were recovered from within the ferry after responders used a floating shearlegs to raise the vessel and remove it from the river. At least five other bodies were recovered from the water, and at least seven people are still missing, according to The Daily Star. 

Reuters reports that the ferry was running full because large numbers of residents had been attempting to travel in advance of a new national COVID-19 lockdown, which took effect Monday. 

The ship did not stop, and authorities are searching for it, the district deputy commissioner told the New York Times. Local media identified the vessel as the cargo ship SK-3. 

Narayanganj Deputy Commissioner Mostain Billah expressed his condolences for the families of the victims, and he told Dhaka Times that the district administration will pay Tk 25,000 ($300) to each family for burial costs.

Ferry accidents are all too common in Bangladesh, where passenger vessels are critical to transportation. Safety standards are not always well enforced at the local level, and overloading is common. 

Last June, more than 30 people were killed when the ferry Morning Bird was struck from behind by another vessel as she was leaving the busy Sadarghat terminal on the Buriganga River. Morning Bird sank with 50-100 people on board, and divers recovered 32 bodies from the wreck.