If sufficient evidence is found that negligence led to the deaths in the Buriganga launch collision and sinking, the case filed over the incident will be considered to be a murder case, said State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury on Tuesday.
He made the announcement at a press conference at the Secretariat on the report of the probe committee formed by the shipping ministry to investigate the incident.
However, the state minister did not disclose the cause of the launch accident mentioned in the report for further investigation by law enforcers.
Earlier, on June 30, the ministry formed a seven-member investigation committee, headed by its Joint Secretary (Development) Mohammad Rafiqul Islam Khan.
The committee was asked to identify the cause of the accident and those responsible for it, and make specific recommendations to prevent reoccurrence of such an accident in the future.
The committee submitted its investigation report on Monday night where they made 20 recommendations.
Their recommendations include strictly controlling the movement of 'sunken deck' type launches on wide and busy rivers, then gradually banning their use altogether; vessels should not be allowed to operate on wide and busy rivers without properly certified masters and drivers.
The "MV Morning Bird" launch carrying around 150 passengers on the Dhaka-Munshiganj route sank after being hit by another launch, the "MV Mayur-2", near Shyambazar in the capital's old town on June 29.
Two masters and two drivers of Mayur-2 responsible
Two masters and two drivers of the "MV Mayur-2" launch are responsible for the accident, finds the probe committee formed by the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA).
The four-member committee submitted the report on Tuesday.
"We primarily found a lack of skill in operating such a big launch," BIWTA Joint Director Joynal Abedin, who led the committee, told The Business Standard.
"We did not hold the owner of the carrier responsible as we found the launch collision occurred due to a fault in the vessel operations," he said.
The committee also made 16 recommendations to prevent further launch accidents. The recommendations include installing modern technology on launches, giving proper training to masters and drivers, and shifting a dockyard from Sadarghat to elsewhere.