On the 29 April 1991, a devastating cyclone hit Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Barisal, Noakhali, Patuakhali, Barguna and Khuma along with tidal bore of 5-8m high with a wind speed of 240 km/h. The cyclone produced a 6.1 m storm surge that inundated the coastline. The storm lashed a populated region of the coast for about 12 hours, as well as 12 offshore islands.
An estimated 138,000 people were killed by the cyclone. More than 20,000 people died on Kutubdia Upazila, an island offshore Chittagong where 80–90% of homes were destroyed, and all livestock were killed. Some smaller offshore islands lost their entire populations. There were around 25,000 dead in Chittagong, 40,000 dead in Banshkhali. About 13.4 million people were affected. Around 1 million homes were destroyed, leaving 10 million people homeless. The storm surge caused whole villages to be swept away.
The storm caused an estimated $1.5 billion (1991 US dollars) in damage.
Although a concrete levee was in place near the mouth of the Karnaphuli River in Patenga, it was washed away by the storm surge. The cyclone uprooted a 100-ton crane from the Port of Chittagong, and smashed it on the Karnaphuli River Bridge, effectively breaking it into two parts. A large number of boats and smaller ships ran aground.
AL RAHMAN a General Cargo registered and sailing under the flag of Liberia, gross tonnage 5854, Managed by Bengal Shipping lines was loading Urea from Kafco fertilizer jetty, nearest to Chittagong port southern mouth.
To counter cyclone was AL RAHMAN was secured with jetty extra mooring ropes total 11 Nos. Ship engines were kept ready and all crew stands By. As cyclone intensified grew worse, the ropes started parting and all crew returned to accommodation due to the intensified storm. The ship started raising up and down with waves and nothing was visible outside. Although ships had her engines running it was impossible to find where she was moving. All ship was trying to keep her steady.
Heading the winds, but was drifted and rose in the land after Marine Academy about 20 feet above the river level and grounded with 3,000 tones fertilizer. Next day the ship tried with her engine and turning propeller to come out of grounded position, but without success. The ship did not move at all with all attempts and the port itself was completely handicapped to offer any help.
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