Vessel, carrying 1,600 tonnes of wheat, sinks in Meghna

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

A lighterage vessel carrying 1,600 tonnes of wheat has sunken in the estuary of Meghna in Lakshmipur amid fears of a shortage triggered by a ban on export by India.

MV Tamim, owned by Hazrat Shah Amanat Enterprise and operated by Samata Shipping and Logistics, capsized in the Tillar Char area of Ramgati Upazila on Wednesday afternoon, reports bdnews24.com.

All 12 crew members were rescued, said Samata’s Executive Director Jamal Hossain.

It was on its way from to Nabil Auto Flour Mill in Narayanganj after receiving the cargo from a ship at the outer anchorage of Chattogram port on Tuesday. The wheat from India was worth around Tk 66.4 million.

The vessel sank after it was hit by something under the water and water started entering the ship through the damaged parts, said Jamal.

Mohammad Selim, a deputy director of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, said the ship did not sink completely. It was beached in a canal in the Tillar Char area after the accident, he said.

Importers, especially those in Asia, were banking on wheat from India, the world's second-biggest producer, after exports from the Black Sea region plunged following Russia's Feb 24 invasion of Ukraine.

But the ban on wheat exports by India to control domestic prices has sparked fears of a shortage and price hike in countries that depend on Indian wheat.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, however, brushed aside “rumours” that India's ban on wheat exports will impact Bangladesh.

The current stock of wheat is also enough to meet demand in the local market, the minister claimed.