Bangladesh Coast Guard to be modernised with high-tech vessels: PM Hasina

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina
File photo

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said the government is going to induct high-tech ships, hovercraft and speedboats to the Bangladesh Coast Guard to make the maritime law enforcement stronger.

“To make the Bangladesh coast guard stronger and more modern, state-of-the-art ships, hovercraft and speedboats are going to be inducted,” she said.

The PM said this while speaking at the 27th founding anniversary of the Bangladesh Coast Guard and Medal Giving Ceremony held at the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. She joined the programme virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban.

PM Hasina said the government has given approval to build four OPVs for patrolling in the deep sea.

Besides, she mentioned, steps have been taken to establish digital links with Bangabandhu Satellite-1 to bring epoch-making changes to facilitate the communication of Bangladesh Coast Guard in the deep sea. “Coast guard will be able to meet the challenges of the 21st century with the addition of these modern technology ships and developed communication systems.”

Sheikh Hasina said the government is preparing the Bangladesh Coast Guard as a modern and smart force to carry out new responsibilities in the coming days. “Our government is working to build the capacity of the Bangladesh Coast Guard through its own manpower recruitment activities and force restructuring,” she said.

The PM said the role of the coast guard is widening for maintaining the overall law-and-order situation in the vast coastal areas and marine waters, protecting fisheries, ensuring the security of the country’s seaports, anti-smuggling and anti-drug operations, as well as protecting the lives and property of coastal people during natural disasters.

In this connection she said the Bay of Bengal is very important for international trade. “So, we’ve to maintain the security of this region and take proper action,” she said.

She said Awami League has always been directly involved in the creation and development of Bangladesh Coast Guard.

She recalled that the coast guard had emerged as a force due to a bill brought by Awami League while it was in opposition in Parliament in 1994.

Returning to power in 1996, the then Awami League government made numerous initiatives in expanding the Coast Guard’s activities in the country’s coastal areas by providing it with land for its various zones, various types of vessels and building infrastructures.

Since 2009, various infrastructures, including coastal crisis management centre, accommodation of officers and sailors of bases, officers’ messes, sailors’ quarters and administrative buildings have been constructed at Coast Guard stations and outposts in coastal and remote areas of the country, the PM added.

She said the training capacity of coast guard has been strengthened through establishment of its own training base “BCG Base Agrajatra” in Patuakhali region.

Besides, a total of 77 ships and vessels of different sizes have been built and incorporated into the Coast Guard in the last 13 years of the government, she said.

Two inshore patrol vessels, a floating crane, two tug boats and 16 boats have also been built for the coast guard at Narayanganj Dockyard and Khulna Shipyard run by the Bangladesh Navy, she mentioned.

PM Hasina said a dockyard is also being built at Gazaria for the construction, repair and maintenance of Coast Guard’s vessels and ships. “I think the ability to build a ship in our own yard will strengthen our confidence.”

She said the government has a plan to set up a shipyard in the Northern region of the country and a place for that has been selected.

The PM hoped that Bangladesh Coast Guard will play an important role in keeping the deep sea secure, and protecting the projects related to the blue economy and ensuring security of the lives and property of individuals.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, on behalf of the prime minister, handed over the medals to coast guard members for their bravery and special achievements.

A video documentary on the activities of the coast guard was screened on the occasion.