Govt launches investigation into Sa­gaing ferry dis­as­ter

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com

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

PHOTO: AFP/ MYAN­MAR FIRE SER­VICES DEPART­MENT

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