President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday issued separate messages on the occasion of the World Maritime Day-2023 to be observed in the country today (Sunday) like elsewhere in the world.
They wished success of all programmes of the day to be celebrated with the theme 'MARPOL at 50 - Our commitment goes on'.
MARPOL stands for the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, which was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1973 and entered into force in 1978.
In their messages, the President and the Prime Minister have extended their sincere felicitation to the shipping community, concerned authorities and organizations for celebrating this day with the theme. In his message, the President said: "I am pleased to learn that Bangladesh is celebrating 'World Maritime Day 2023' along with other IMO member states."
Maritime industry is at the heart of international trade and commerce, the head of the state added.
The world relies on shipping to transport more than 90% of the trade by volume including food, medical goods, fuel, raw materials, and manufactured goods across the globe, he said.
These extensive economic activities increase the risk of marine environment pollution by ship from operational or accidental causes, the president said.
Since its inception, MARPOL (The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) has served as a beacon of environmental responsibility, guiding maritime nations towards cleaner seas and a more sustainable future, he added.
On MARPOL's golden jubilee, the theme, 'MARPOL at 50-Our Commitment goes on' is time-worthy which eventually encapsulates nation's dedication to curb marine pollution and preserve the marine environment, he said.
"Blessed with a thriving maritime heritage, Bangladesh strongly recognizes the connection between a healthy marine environment and the well-being of our people," he added.
He said Bangladesh proudly stands among those nations that have embraced MARPOL's principles, translating them into tangible actions for the greater good.
"Over the years, we have strived to align our practices with the convention's mandates, making strides towards cleaner air, cleaner water, and reduced marine litter," he continued.
"To build a more sustainable maritime future, Bangladesh is working to combat the challenges posed by marine pollution and climate change," the President said.
The government is expanding port capacity and other infrastructures to facilitate the development of maritime sector, he added.
He hoped all authorities and stakeholders would embrace innovation and technology as tools to reduce emissions, minimize waste, and preserve eco-friendly marine environment.
In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said: "I am happy that Bangladesh celebrates 'World Maritime Day-2023 along with other IMO Member States and the maritime community on 24 September 2023."
"This occasion is of immense significance for us as we are moving ahead to tap the potential of the maritime arena," the premier added.
"The Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman enacted 'The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1974' to tap the potential of the seas," she said.
She said that the present government adopted the Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones (Amended) Act, 2021, as a modernized version of the previous act.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib established a number of institutions and enacted laws and rules for economic emancipation through the best use of maritime resources, she continued.
"We established Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University," she said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina believed this year's theme 'MARPOL at 50 - Our commitment goes on' resonates deeply with country's shared responsibility to protect and preserve oceans from maritime pollution for sustainable development.
For half a century, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) has stood as a beacon of hope for a cleaner and healthier marine environment, she said.
"As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of MARPOL, we acknowledge the progress made in reducing pollution from ships and promoting sustainable shipping practices worldwide," she said.
"Bangladesh, with its extensive coastline and rich maritime history, understands the profound impact of maritime activities on our environment," she said.
"We have long been adopting severe measures to prevent pollution from ships and enhance the safety and sustainability of our seas," she added.
"By upholding MARPOL's principles, we contribute not only to the well-being of our nation but also to the global cause of environmental conservation," the premier said.
"On this World Maritime Day, let us recommit ourselves to the ideals of MARPOL. Let us work together to ensure that our commitment endures and that our oceans remain a source of life, inspiration, and prosperity for generations to come," the premier continued.