POST TIME: 19 October, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Maritime safety project

Maritime safety project

It is disheartening to find that the much vaunted Global Maritime Distress Safety System and Integrated Maritime Navigation System, two projects which started in 2014, have had only 10 per cent of its work done. Reportedly, the authority has asked for two more years to complete the project.

When maritime security is given top priority by countries which face caprices of nature, the lethargic approach in Bangladesh is an abomination. The project, worth Tk. 291.65 crore, is in association with the Korean government and aims to modernize maritime traffic, enhance maritime security and surveillance and renovate plus build lighthouses. There is no need to emphasize the importance of the projects since piracy on high seas is still a major headache. But once these safety measures are in place, security on the big rivers can also be ensured.

The Bay of Bengal is known for her unpredictability and lighthouses with modern gadgets are essential to guide ships plus provide emergency advice to ships in distress. The two projects also have another objective – locate sunken vessels from the deep seas and major rivers. On the face of it, this may sound like wasting resources but, Bangladesh is far behind in the area of underwater research on sunken vessels.

From the Sultan period till the colonial times and even during the war of liberation, countless boats have sunk on our shores and though many may not be preserved due to the humid conditions of our waters, countless others will be able to give glimpses of the past. A sunken ship is deemed a time capsule – a preserved piece of history which unveils the past plus many other sociological issues, imperative for accurate construction of history.

Once Bangladesh carries out such expeditions, many unknown historical facts will come out in the open. The integrated maritime navigation is also essential to keep an eye on the sea, which may be used by extremists to launch an attack on Bangladesh. Such a possibility may appear unlikely but in a world where radicals are always looking for ways to create anarchy, no option, no matter how remote, can be rejected.

Since the work has been slow there has to be a probe as to why only 10 per cent has been completed in the last five years. If this was deliberate then stern action is called for. Also, the project director must be told that once there is an extension, the work must be completed on time since no other additional time will be given.