Fertilizer vessel sinks in Bangladesh disrupting supply chain

A significant disruption occurred in Bangladesh’s fertilizer industry supply chain when MV Maksuda-2, a local lighter vessel, capsized in the Karnaphuli River on 10 December at approximately 21.20 hours. This incident took place in the main communication river of the Chittagong Port, a crucial hub for the transportation of imported fertilizers in Bangladesh.

The vessel was reportedly carrying 700 metric tonnes of imported fertilizer from foreign mother vessels to the upcountry river routes, a common practice in the region’s logistics. Chittagong Port authorities have confirmed the incident and have issued notifications to mariners, urging them to exercise caution while navigating the river. They reassured that there has been no significant impact on the movement of other vessels in the Karnaphuli River following the accident.

In a distressing turn of events, while twelve crew members managed to escape the sinking vessel by swimming to a nearby engine-run boat, concerns are growing over the fate of a private guard associated with the cargo, who remains unaccounted for.

Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Sadarghat Naval police station, Ekram Ullah, disclosed that the Maqsuda-2 sank in the middle of the river while transporting the fertilizer from the outer anchorage into the Karnaphuli River. A joint rescue operation involving the naval police and the port’s rescue team was promptly initiated upon receiving the news of the mishap.

Preliminary investigations suggest that a leak in the bottom of the ship may have caused the vessel to sink. However, further inquiries are ongoing to ascertain the exact cause of the incident.

The fertilizer cargo’s ownership is yet to be confirmed by the two principal importers in the country, Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) and Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC). Despite the severity of the incident, local industry experts believe that the loss of a relatively small quantity of fertilizer is unlikely to significantly impact the overall supply chain.

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