Bangladesh has finally got a high-tech ocean research vessel to assess the country’s marine resources within its Bay of Bengal boundary. The research and survey ship, built in Malaysia, reached Bangladesh on Thursday, said an official at the department of fisheries. The vessel has been procured under a Tk 165 crore marine fisheries capacity building project, being implemented with support from the Islamic Development Bank and the Malaysian government. The high-tech 37.8-meter-long multipurpose research vessel cost Tk 65.5 crore. Officials said the research vessel, equipped with the latest technology for fisheries and other oceanographic research, will play a tremendous role in managing the marine resources well and improving the lifestyle of around 5 lakhs people living in the country’s coastal areas who depend on fishing. Director General of the Department of Fisheries Syed Arif Azad said the fisheries department would soon launch an initiative to assess the fisheries and other marine resources within its sea boundary. According to experts, although Bangladesh has a plenty of marine resources within its sea area, the country is yet to take any effective step to explore its potential over four years after the much-celebrated verdict of a UN court in Hamburg on 14 March 2012, which allocated around 111,631 square kilometres of sea area to Bangladesh in a dispute with Myanmar. Then in July 2014, Bangladesh also gained about 19,467 square kilometres of maritime area from an ITLOS verdict in its case against India. ‘The two verdicts have paved the way to tap the marine potentials, said marine and fisheries professor at Chittagong University Md Maruf Hossain.

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