For two and a half months, Bangladeshi ship MV Banglar Samriddhi has been floating abandoned at the Dinipro-Bug estuary in the Olivia Port in Ukraine.
During this long time, the board of directors of Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) could not decide what to do with the ship. It was not even possible to hire a watchman to look after the ship.
The country's experienced mariners say the BSC's missteps and attempts to evade responsibility are making the future of Banglar Samriddhi even more uncertain.
Hence, Bangladesh is now at risk of losing ownership of the ship.
The process to collect the insurance money is still pending due to the war situation, although claims have been made to the related insurance company.
Abdullah Al Mahmud, a senior ship captain of the country, told The Business Standard, "As far as I know, there is no one in charge of looking after the ship at the moment. In this situation, Bangladesh is at risk of losing ownership of the ship, because when a ship is declared abandoned at sea, anyone can claim ownership of it according to the maritime rules."
If the BSC cannot take care of the issue legally, then something else can happen, he feared.
Sakhawat Hossain, general secretary of Bangladesh Merchant Marine Officers' Association (BMMOA), said, "The BSC has demanded full payment from the insurance company for the ship. But the insurance authorities will not agree to compensate without spot inspection which is not possible in this war situation. It would have been easier to recover the insurance money if the demand was placed for the damage only."
"Since Bangladesh has declared the ship abandoned, the Olivia Port could claim the ship itself," he added.
Maritime lawyer Hamdur Rahman told TBS, "There are two ways to declare a ship abandoned: the abandonment of a wrecked ship abandonment while the ship is still floating. Since Banglar Samriddhi is in the port area, the Olivia Port is more likely to claim ownership of the ship to collect their dues. Two and a half months have already passed and they will demand a minimum fine of $10,000 for each day."
The Tk1.5 billion ship, partially damaged by a rocket launched during the war, is still floating in an abandoned condition near the Olivia Port in Ukrain.
BSC Executive Director (Commerce) Piyush Dutt told TBS, "Locals are looking after the ship as much as possible. If the mines in the bay, set up due to the war, are not removed, the ship cannot be moved."