Commission to investigate Arakan ferry disaster

Commission to investigate Arakan ferry disaster

The Arakan regional parliament has formed a commission to investigate a ferry boat disaster off the coast of Myebon which cost dozens of lives on 13 March.

Aung Myat Kyaw, an MP in the Arakan State assembly, said the investigative body will assign teams in four townships positioned along the ill-fated route of the Aung Takon 3, which set off from the port of Kyaukphyu late on Friday, 13 March, en route to state capital Sittwe. Early reports indicate that the vessel was dangerously overcrowded with passengers and overloaded with cargo. At least 40 people drowned when the boat capsized that night.

“The numbers and details provided by the government have been inconsistent, and several state MPs have questioned the reliability of its information,” said Aung Myat Kyaw.

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“As the MPs are members of the Arakanese public, we assume civilian witnesses will speak more frankly with them. That’s why we proposed an emergency proposal to form a commission. It was approved in the Rakhine [Arakan] regional parliament.”

The ferry disaster commission will present its findings to the union government, via the state assembly, with a deadline set at 10 April.

Last week, union parliament Speaker Shwe Mann rejected the initial government reports on the sinking, and warned officials “not to lie to the people”.

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