The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the Interferry, a non-government industry organisation, have selected Bangladesh as a pilot country for conducting work on the identification of potential solutions to ferry safety.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed on January 20 in this connection between the IMO and the Interferry, according to a cyber news release posted on the IMO website.
Concerned sources said that they have chosen Bangladesh for this unique project as it experiences a record number of ferry disaster each year.
Chairman of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) Shamsur Rahman Simul Biswas told FE that he was not well informed about the selection of Bangladesh as pilot country.
They will conduct a detailed, research-based analysis on ferry safety prior to the formation of a working group in Bangladesh where views of all stockholders and experts will be sought.
The national working group will be formed with the participation of all concerned resource persons and it will select sites, identify the issues to be addressed, highlight the obstacles that need to be overcome and suggest solutions for implementation.
Sources claimed that the two organisations are thinking to launch three pilot projects in Bangladesh to focus on a particular issue pertaining to ferry safety.
Following the outcome of the working group, the next phase is anticipated to be a larger government-approved project within Bangladesh.
It will look at issues such as overcrowding, terminal management, vessel design and management, passenger-carrying arrangements, stowage, hazardous weather, crew training and certification systems along with other issues raised by the working group.
Sources claimed that the two organisations will replicate the lessons learnt from the projects to other developing nations where there's a crying need to address ferry safety.
The two organisations, however, have agreed to share certain amounts costs and the IMO will seek financial support from governments and multilateral funding organisations like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and so on.