F R Chowdhury:


The world has been witnessing another senseless war between Russia and Ukraine. As I write this article, the war is still going on. It is causing more and more loss and damage of life and property. War can only cause damage and destruction but can do no good to the human society. The disputing parties should resort to diplomatic negotiation or to any international court to resolve their difference. War must be avoided at any cost.

Unfortunately a Bangladeshi ship manned 100% by Bangladeshi seafarers got trapped in the war. There was no chance to escape because the waters around was mined and a moving ship was more likely to be attacked by either party. Eventually the worst happened. A rocket or missile hit the ship on its navigating bridge. One person (third engineer) died instantly. However, the ship’s company bravely fought the fire (with some help from local boats) and managed to extinguish it. However, the ship’s bridge was totally destroyed making it a disabled ship. Our well trained and disciplined seafarers must be praised for their bravery.

I must make a mention how our government was concerned for the ship and the seafarers. It could have been one of the reasons why Bangladesh refrained from voting against either party. It continued its diplomatic contact not only with the countries engaged in war but also with other neighboring states for the safe return of the ship and the seafarers. After the attack on the ship, our Foreign Ministry through various sources contacted the Bangladeshis living nearby and, finally with their help, got all the remaining seafarers out from the ship. They arranged for their quickest safe return to Bangladesh. Arrangements are also being made for return of the body of the deceased seafarer. On this occasion our government, specially the foreign ministry, proved their identity as part of the government of the people and for the people. May Allah bless them!

I shall conclude this article by calling on BSC to mobilize all its legal powers and strength to get the maximum claims from the charterers and insurers for the deceased and other seafarers as appropriate. The corporation should also recover its own losses.

London, 10-March-2002.  fazlu.chowdhury@btinternet.com