Govt launches investigation into Sagaing ferry disaster
After a ferry sinking earlier this week left dozens dead and scores still missing, the Ministry of Transportation and Communication has tasked a five-person team with finding out what went wrong with the Aung Soe Moe Kyaw 2.
THE government has launched a fivemember team tasked with investigating the reason for the deadly sinking of the Aung Soe Moe Kyaw 2, a ferry that went under in Sagaing Region on October 15.
The investigative team is scheduled to conduct a field investigation tomorrow, the Ministry of Transportation and Communication said yesterday.
Survivors say the boat, which was headed to Monywa from Homalin township on the Chindwin River, had as many as 300 people on board, well over the legal limit, before it sunk in Kani township.
The death toll has not yet been announced, but there were 158 survivors as of October 17 and dozens of bodies, Sagaing Region Water Transport Department head U Phyo Min Khin told The Myanmar Times yesterday. Early reports indicate the ferry struck a rock.
“We will attempt to determine who the responsible person is in this case,” said U Thaung Kyine, deputy director general of the Yangon Department of Marine Administration and a member of the investigating team. “Some members are going there now. We will send our findings to our director general.”
The rescue process is being led by the regional department in Kani township, said U Phyo Min Khin. Members of the Red Cross, the fire brigade, NGOs, and organisations like the Department of Relief and Resettlement are also participating in the rescue effort.
“We are undertaking the rescue processes and salvaging the dead bodies,” he said.
The Sagaing Region Water Transport Department is starting an investigation of its own, U Thaung Kyaing said.
Though the 40-tonne ferry was called the Aung Soe Moe Kyaw 2, its licence refers to it as the Shwe Thiha, said Ministry of Transportation and Communication assistant secretary U Win Zaw.
As of October 17, a crackdown on ferry operators had led to four arrests. – Translation by Thiri Min Htun and Win Thaw Tar