After being afloat for over 21 hours in the Bay, all 14 crew members of a lighter vessel that capsized Saturday morning at Hatiya channel were rescued by local fishermen.
They had been afloat with life jackets and some buoys tied together.
“All the time while trying to survive amid heavy waves we had the belief that if we could stick together we all could be rescued,” Nurul Amin, a 45 year-old driver of the vessel, said while narrating their ordeal over phone.
The vessel MV Akhter Banu-1 was heading for Narayanganj after loading 1,700 tonnes of imported wheat from a mother vessel at the outer anchorage of the Chattogram Port early Saturday.
While crossing Hatia channel the vessel faced heavy seas.
Due to the waves, the cargo shifted causing the vessel to list and capsize, he said.
When the vessel started listing all crew members put on their life jackets, tied some buoys with rope and jumped into the sea together.
“The sea was very rough and the weather was bad but we tried to be together holding the rope of buoys”, Amin said. He added that over the hours they failed to see any vessel or boat.
“In the morning today [yesterday] we could see a fishing boat and started crying for help. When the fishermen saw us they rushed and rescued us, said Amin.
Amin who have been working in lighter vessels on Chattogram-Dhaka and Dhaka-Mongla route for 20 years said it was the first accident he ever had.
Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Hatia Police Station Abul Khair said the fishermen who rescued the crew members took them to Surjomukhi Bazar of Hatia where they were treated and fed.
Following the accident, another lighter vessel, MV SS Helencha-2, looked for the missing crew members at Bhasanchar coast over the night.
Sohel Mahmud, master of SS Helencha-2, said, “Hearing their rescue we went to Surjomukhi Bazar and found all in good health.”
Parvez Mohammad, representative of the vessel’s owning firm M/s NI Traders, said they went to salvage the sunken vessel which was found near Bhasanchar coast around 1km off from the navigation channel.