Vol. 5 Num 131 Mon. October 04, 2004  
Front Page

Modern ships to replace old ones
PM tells navy men, commissions 7 ships, crafts

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday said the government is actively considering procuring modern ships to replace the old fleets of Bangladesh Navy to enhance the naval power.

The prime minister, also in charge of defence ministry, announced plan of the government at a function organised for commissioning seven navy ships and conferring National Standard Award on BN Flotilla at the jetty of Naval Force at the BNS Isa Khan.

She formally commissioned the seven newly procured ships and crafts by pressing remote-control device.

She formally handed over the commissioning edicts to the commanding officers of the new vessels- BNS Gumti, BNS Sangu and BNS Turag, three offshore patrol vessels procured from the UK, BNS Dhansiri and BNS Chitra, two fast-attack craft procured from South Korea, and BNT Rupsha and BNT Shibsa, two tugboats built at Khulna Shipyard.

At the function National Standard was given to the navy flotilla for its outstanding contribution to maritime defence of the country.

Earlier on her arrival at the jetty, Naval Chief Rear Admiral Shah Iqbal Muztaba received the PM and a smart contingent of marines presented guard of honour.

Addressing the function Khaleda said, "Effective steps have been taken to build Bangladesh Navy as a three-dimensional force through adding modern ships and gadgets, helicopters and submarines".

Elaborating on development in the navy under the present government, Khaleda said five offshore patrol ships had been purchased from the UK for round-the-clock vigilance to protect the marine resources within the huge maritime boundary as well as ensure safe movement of commercial ships. Of the five ships, the `Kapotakhha' and the `Korotoa' were commissioned last May.

"We are always active for modernisation of Bangladesh Navy despite resource constraints. Adding seven ships at one go to the naval fleet reflects the present government's firm commitment to well organise the naval force," she told the function.

The prime minister said she believed that offshore patrol vessels, fast-attack crafts and gunboats would play a remarkable role in safeguarding the country's waters, sea-wealth, economic interests and, above all, national security.

She thanked the governments of the two countries for providing vessels and congratulated those officers and sailors who brought the ships sailing past a long way.

The PM also specially congratulated the engineers and all concerned of Khulna Shipyard on their constructing two new tugboats-- the Rupsha and the Shibsa-- inducted in the Bangladesh Navy. She also thanked the Netherlands government for extending support to the shipbuilding work.

In the marine world, she said, the importance of skill and strong naval force is immense to ensure foolproof national security.