In Bangladesh, discussions on Blue economy started after the settlement of maritime boundary delimitation with neighbours. Bangladesh has acquired 118,813 square km of maritime territory. Blue Economy aims at sustainable economic development of the country utilizing the resources of the sea area. With expanding ocean activities, concerns of maritime safety would also come to light which falls under the blue economy. Without sufficient degrees of security, ocean resources cannot be utilized efficiently. Thus navy can play significant role in the development of Blue Economy in Bangladesh. However, apart from maritime security, there are other arenas of Blue Economy where Navy can contribute substantially.
Operation Blue Guard. Bangladesh Navy (BN) has been assigned the duty of Lead agency for the security matters related to Blue Economy. BN has started 'Operation Blue Guard' from 01 March 2017 for ensuring the security of ships and establishment engaged in Blue Economy projects. BN ships, high speed boats and contingent are deployed to perform the task. Presently, BN is providing security to vessels of 1200 MW coal based power plant project, LNG Terminal project of Excelerate Energy Bangladesh Limited. Besides, recently security is provided to the vessels of Santos Sangu Field Limited which have surveyed Bangladesh Offshore Block SS-11. BN also provided dedicated security to the fishery research vessel R V Fridtjof Nansen from 02 August to 17 August 2018. The contingents of BN are deployed in Pekua, Matarbari and Cox’s bazar to provide coastal security to the projects.
Hydrography and Oceanography. The survey ships of BN prepare and update nautical charts of Bangladesh sea area by conducting hydrographic surveys. Nautical charts produced by BN are used by different agencies. Besides Navy ships are facilitating important oceanographic sample collection to many researchers, students and teachers of different universities and institutions.
Protection of Illegal Fishing. BN carry out 'Operation Treasure Shield' in the entire EEZ area and 'Operation Nirmul' in the North West EEZ area to prevent illegal fishing by foreign fishing vessels. Since 2014, 43 Indian fishing vessels, 10 Srilankan vessels and 17 Myanmar fishing trawlers were captured by BN while fishing illegally in Bangladesh sea area and handed over to the appropriate authority. Besides, Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) has been started from 27 Jun 2018 between Bangladesh Navy and India Navy to protect piracy, smuggling, human trafficking and illegal fishing in the Bay of Bengal.
Research and Development. The Bangladesh Institute of Research and Development (BIMRAD) has been is established under Nou Kollan Foundation (NKF) and formally started it’s journey on 03 Jul 2018. It is an independent think tank research institute to study issues relating to the maritime domain of Bangladesh. The institute takes a comprehensive approach in dealing with all national, regional and global maritime matters concern to the country. It aims to provide advice and options to government maritime agencies, stake holders and other relevant organizations.
Development of Fishery resources. BN has taken steps to explore deep sea potentials through NKF. NKF Trading Company Limited (NKFTCL) and Nou Kallan Shipping Limited (NKSL) has obtained permission from Govt to procure two Long Liner and two Purse seine trawler. This will contribute to the deep sea fishing potential of Bangladesh. Besides, BN is carrying out “Operation Jatka” every year to save our national asset Hilsha Fish. This year BN captured a total amount of seven crore thirty lakh meter illegal current net worth of 159 crore seventy nine lakh taka and contributed significantly to stop catching of jatka fish.
International Search and Rescue Exercise. IONS Multilateral Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX) was organized by BN from 26 November to 29 November 2017 in the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh has arranged this international exercise to increase regional cooperation between the 23 member states and nine observer nations of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). Delegates of 20 countries including 03 Naval Chiefs were present in the exercise. The exercise was participated by 40 war ships, 02 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and 07 Helicopters of home and abroad. The inauguration ceremony of the exercise was held in Hotel Tulip at Cox’s bazar and the delegates of different countries stayed there.
Development of Ship Building Industry. Khulna Shipyard Limited (KSY), Dockyard and Engineering Works Limited Narayanganj has turned into profitable organization after being handed over to BN. They have been building vessels and crafts for many public and private organizations and significantly contributing to the economy of Bangladesh. In the recent days KSY has started building war ships for Bangladesh Navy. Chittagong Dry Dock (CDD) was handed over to BN on 23 December 2015. Now CDD is also preparing to build large war ships for Navy.
Seminar/Meeting/Workshop. A meeting chaired by honorable Chief of Naval Staff was held at Naval Head Quarters (NHQ) on 01 February 2017 for the affiliation of BN in the development of Blue Economy in Bangladesh. Later on 25th March 2018 another meeting chaired by Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Operations) was held in NHQ with the participants of different ministries and agencies for the coordination of Blue Economy activities. A joint coordination meeting between BN and Bangladesh Coast Guard was also held in 03 July 2018 to coordinate the security matters. Furthermore, officers of BN participate in different seminars, meetings, and workshops related to Blue Economy arranged by various public and private agencies.
Establishment of Blue Economy Directorate and Cell. A Blue Economy Cell was established in NHQ on 07 February 2017 to coordinate the matters with different ministries and agencies. Later a Blue Economy Directorate (Adhoc) was established in NHQ under Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Operations). An Area Blue Economy Cell and Local Blue Economy Cell have also started functioning for the smooth conduct of maritime security.
Capacity Building. Since 2014, BN has inducted few Frigates, Corvettes, Submarines, Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Helicopters, LCUs, LCTs and Submarine Tugs to support the Blue Economy activities. Besides, some Corvettes and survey ships are also under construction. Work is in progress to induct more Frigates, Ocean Tug, Floating crane, Mine Sweeper, Patrol Crafts, High Speed Boat, Diving Support Vessel, Maritime Patrol Aircraft and Helicopters. The procurement of a purpose built oceanographic research vessel is also planned in future.