The government has taken an initiative to set up a full-fledged marine research institute in Cox's Bazar aimed at using nearly 1,18,813 sq kms of maritime area for boosting the blue economy.
The Ministry of Science and Technology says that Bangladesh's sovereignty was established in this vast sea area of 1,18,813 square kilometers as the dispute over maritime boundaries with Myanmar and India was settled by the verdict of the International Court of Justice.
As a result, the huge opportunities of the blue economy opened up, they added.
As part of the government move, a project titled “Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute (Phase II)” was approved at the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) meeting on April 5 at the estimated cost of 444 crore, they mentioned.
The purpose of the new project is to achieve success in the development of the Blue Economy by creating full capacity in the country's ocean research, they further said.
Through this, research in the exploration of undiscovered resources of the Bay of Bengal, conservation of the marine environment, creation of skilled manpower in marine research, ideas about the blue economy and scientific attitude will be transmitted among the people.
Planning Minister MA Mannan said, “The project has been approved as such an institute needs to be set up for further research on the country's sea area. We have discussed this in detail before approving. This will allow us to know what asset is at the bottom of the ocean.”
Dr Md Kawser Ahmed, Member (Secretary) of the General Economics Division of the Planning Commission, said, “A new 32 meters long ship will be purchased under the new project. There will also be two speedboats attached to it, which will collect samples from distant places starting from the coast.”
“We have no information about the sea that is not good for the country. So, like the first initiative of the country, 5 buoys have to be set up, which will automatically provide various information,” he mentioned.
He further said, “Five fishing centers will be set up in the Bay of Bengal. Apart from this, the existing main building will be made a three- storey one through a new project. Apart from this, those who have passed from the university will get the opportunity to do research there.”
Under the project, 422 laboratory equipment, a sample collecting boat or ship will be purchased.
An ocean observation system will be set up, 4,424 computer software, office networks and furniture will be purchased and jetties and gangways with 200 meter pontoons will be constructed.
Experts said, there are huge mineral resources at the bottom of the Bay of Bengal, but Bangladesh did not have a suitable ocean liner for sea research or blue-economy research. Activities were carried out on a limited scale by small boats.
These boats do not cover more than 10-12 kilometers of the sea. As a result, it is not possible to find out exactly what resources are hidden in the vast ocean. For this, an initiative has been taken to buy big ships instead of small dinghy boats. It can ply 100 kilometers in deep sea.
In addition, samples can be collected by staying at sea for 10-12 days in this ship.